What is the Office of Sustainability?
The Office of Sustainability is the face of sustainability at Humber, promoting action-based change to create a culture of environmental responsibility at Humber. The office supports the college community to integrate sustainability into everything we do. Our 2019-2024 Sustainability Plan outlines the sustainability goals for Humber, which includes embedding equity, diversity, and inclusion as well Sustainable Development Goals into all our actions. Our office focuses on making campus operations more sustainable, collaborating and engaging with various on campus groups to implement sustainability projects and initiatives and tracking and publishing our successes.
Some of our key sustainability projects include:
Green Buildings - Buildings have a significant impact on the environment and Humber is committed to building sustainable, multi-use spaces. Many of the buildings at Humber have efficient systems to minimize water and energy consumption and green house gas emissions and some buildings even have green roofs. Humber’s Retrofitted NX building is the first retrofit building in Canada to achieve the Zero Carbon Building, Design Certification by the Canada Green Building Council. Work on the NX building includes a complete envelope retrofit that is highly insulated and airtight, including new triple-pane windows. Energy efficient upgrades to the lighting, heating and cooling systems and a new 25kW Solar PV system were also completed. Learn more here about what Humber is doing to reduce its energy use.
Fairtrade Certified Campus – Fair Trade is a movement and a network of non-profit organizations that endeavors to improve the livelihoods of agricultural producers in developing countries by ensuring that producers receive a fair price for their products. Humber College is Fairtrade certified and was the first college in Ontario to have multiple campuses Fairtrade certified. Fairtrade Campus week also occurs annually where Humber collaborates with Fairtrade partners such as Equifruit and hosts activities around campus to promote Fairtrade.
Earth week – Humber hosts Earth Week annually at the end of March. Earth Week is an exciting series of fun, hands-on events and initiatives that educate and raise awareness about Humber College’s sustainability initiatives. We work with our campus partners such as WWF to organize campus cleanups as well as outlining steps that student’s staff and faculty can take to reduce their environmental impact.
Waste Management - A goal of the Office of Sustainability to reduce the amount of waste that is created at Humber. Humber is tackling waste management through further educating custodial staff on proper recycling habits and working with different departments by teaching them how to sort waste properly. Our cleaning program managed by Humber Facilities includes a comprehensive set of green cleaning and housekeeping initiatives that incorporate sustainability into Custodial Services’ daily operations. Humber encourages reusing as much as possible.
Humber Bees –In an effort to rebuild the number of worker honey bees in our local area, the Office of Sustainability installed hives on both campuses to provide a safe environment for honey bees to thrive and to collect nectar from flora in the local areas. Honey bees are a vital member of our community, as they pollinate approximately 70% of the world’s crops.
Measuring our success
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) administers the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS). STARS is a self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure, track and compare their campus sustainability performance.In 2013, Humber was the first college in Ontario to achieve a STARS Silver rating and in 2020, Humber achieved Gold. We will continuously use STARS to provide metrics for benchmarking, reporting our progress, and sharing our lessons learned. Our current STARS submission is publicly available.
All of other reports for sustainability at Humber College are available here.