REDUCING SAC'S ECO-FOOTPRINT
A central goal of SAC’s Environmental Plan is to reduce our ecological footprint. Today, if everyone lived like the average Canadian, we would need four planet Earths to survive sustainably. Simply put, an ecological footprint is a measure of how much nature we need to sustain our lifestyle, taking into account consumption of food, energy and water, goods and services, and the need for nature to handle the waste we generate.
ENERGY AND WATER
Since climate change is such a critical issue in today’s world, reducing energy consumption is an important part of reducing the School’s eco-footprint. After carrying out an energy audit in 2009, the School developed a plan to reduce energy by 15% over five years. This was achieved through a number of measures, such as retrofitting older buildings with energy efficient lighting, modernizing building automation systems, updating heating and cooling equipment, and replacing windows. We also reduced water consumption where feasible by installing more efficient water fixtures and appliances. For example, new showerheads in the residences are expected to save over 2.5 million litres of water per year!
Educating the School community about what can be recycled and what cannot is a key part of SAC’s plan to increase our diversion rate. Recycling bins are located conveniently around the campus with clear signage to inform people about proper recycling. We increased SAC’s recycling rate even more by composting food waste, instead of sending it to landfill. In the future, we want to reduce renovation and construction waste through recycling and salvage programs.
GROUNDS AND LANDSCAPE
At SAC we are lucky to have a beautiful campus in Aurora that we call home. We are committed to reducing our impact on the natural systems around us and, where possible, we will work to enhance and naturalize our green spaces. As much of our grounds are sports fields, we are also working to make these even greener, by banning pesticides and by using organic turf management programs to reduce our dependence on chemical fertilizers.
Finally, as we expand and renovate existing buildings, the School aims to meet requirements for green buildings as specified in the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) certification program. Not only will these buildings operate with minimal impact on the environment, they will provide students with high quality, state-of-the-art learning environments.