Report says Ontario colleges play leading role in effort to tackle climate change

Lambton College is among highlighted examples cited

Ontario’s colleges are playing a leading role in Canada’s efforts to tackle climate change, says a newly released report.

The report, Moving to Net Zero: Colleges Leading the Way, highlights the 24 colleges’ achievements in everything from leading-edge research that promotes energy efficiency to the development of programs that prepare increasing numbers of graduates for careers in areas such as renewable energy and sustainable building construction.

“Doing our part to improve the health of the planet is a priority at our college,” says Judith Morris, President & CEO, Lambton College. “We are firmly committed to the global effort to fight climate change.”

The report documents achievements in five areas: research, community leadership, college programs, transportation and campus upgrades. The examples in the report confirm that all 24 colleges are playing an active part in the effort to reduce the province’s carbon footprint.

One of the examples referenced in the report is Lambton College’s partnership with Celestica to develop a simple, reliable and cost-effective thermo-mechanical technique for recycling field-aged and defective solar panels. In addition to its environmental benefits, the technology under development will significantly lower both capital and operational costs compared with conventional recycling techniques that require harmful chemicals.

Other findings in the report include:

• Throughout the province, colleges offer more than 300 programs that prepare graduates to work in sectors that directly impact emissions reductions, conservation and renewable energy.

• In 2015-16, more than 20,000 students were enrolled in programs that prepare them for careers that address climate change. That represents an increase of more than 20 per cent over the past five years.

• Millions of dollars have been invested in retrofit programs and other upgrades at campuses across the province. The retrofitting projects have included weatherization initiatives, energy and greenhouse gas audits, the installation of wind turbines and solar panels, and the integration of new designs that include green roofs and pollinator gardens.

“While we’re proud of our successes, we also know there is more to do,” says Morris. “We will continue to work to reduce emissions and to produce the workforce that Ontario needs to make the transition to a net-zero economy.”

The full report is available here.

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