New Office of Sustainability: the next step in greening McGill

 McGill Sustainability Director Dennis Fortune. / Photo: Claudio Calligaris
McGill Sustainability Director Dennis Fortune.

By McGill Reporter Staff

McGill’s new Office of Sustainability will open on Feb. 11, marking an important step in the University’s drive to become a thoroughly green institution.

The Office aims to be a hub and catalyst for sustainability initiatives across the University. Its new physical space, in the Ferrier Building, “will provide a centre where members of the McGill community can gather for workshops and training sessions designed to promote sustainable practices on campus,” said Dennis Fortune, McGill’s Sustainability Director.

The Office was created to build on earlier grassroots initiatives by students to make the campus more environmentally friendly.

By establishing the Office of Sustainability, “the Administration has made a clear commitment to making McGill a leader in this area,” said Jim Nicell, Associate Vice-Principal, University Services.

The mission of the Office of Sustainability is to develop sustainability as a cultural norm at the University.  The Office will encourage the efforts of students, faculty, staff and administrators to incorporate principles of sustainability within the university and in its relations with the broader community. The Office explores ways in which McGill can integrate social, environmental and economic considerations in University decisions. It plans to develop partnerships that encourage and facilitate the cooperation of all members

of the McGill community in this regard.

The renovated space in the Ferrier Building provides “a demonstration of the materials that can be used” to promote sustainability, Fortune noted.  The carpet tiles, for example, include 78 per cent recycled content. The floor tiles are made from recycled drywall.  The energy consumption from lights has been decreased by reducing the number of light fixtures to 13 from the previous 19 and taking advantage of natural light from windows.  Occupancy sensors are installed to turn lights off when nobody is present. Suppliers, including InterfaceFlor, Mannington, Sensor Switch and Schwartz Chemical, donated environmentally friendly materials for this showcase project.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum will participate in the Feb. 11 opening ceremony. The cutting of the green ribbon will occur at 9:30 a.m. for invited guests, followed at 10 a.m. by an Open House for all students and staff.