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SFU Carbon Neutral for Ninth Consecutive Year

June 03, 2019

Simon Fraser University has been carbon neutral since 2010, as part of British Columbia’s Carbon Neutral Government Program. The program is one of the province’s actions to address climate change and accelerate towards a sustainable future. It has received global recognition as one of only 15 projects worldwide to win a 2018 UN Momentum for Change Award. The Program requires all public sector organizations, including SFU, to measure, reduce, and report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from buildings, vehicles and paper use on an annual basis. To become carbon neutral the remaining GHG emissions are offset through payments towards carbon saving projects in British Columbia, such as forest conservation.

SFU reported a 5% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 2017 to 2018, despite the University’s growing physical footprint. Overall, SFU has reduced its GHG emissions by 24% from its 2007 baseline, working towards the provincial target of a 40% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030.  This reduction has been achieved through widespread efforts across all three campuses, specifically through programs led by Facilities Services. Highlights from 2018 included:

  • Progressing with the SFU Strategic Energy Management Plan which commits the University to an energy reduction target of 2% per year;

  • Embedding green building principles into SFU’s requirements for the design and construction of new buildings;

  • Rolling out energy efficiency projects such as LED light replacements, boiler upgrades and more efficient building control systems; and

  • Targeting behaviour change through the Sustainable Spaces program with, for example, 77 events certified throughout 2018.

SFU also reported on its plans to continue reducing GHG emissions. For example, construction of the Corix biomass heating plant. On completion, it will reduce up to 85% of the SFU Burnaby campus and UniverCity’s GHG emissions. SFU is also looking into opportunities such as increasing the number of electric vehicles in its on-campus fleet and improving its electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

SFU’s work to reduce its GHG emissions extends beyond the actions captured in the CNAR. Examples include:

  • The University has committed to decreasing the carbon footprint of its investment portfolio by 40% by 2030;

  • The Sustainable Utilities Revolving Fund offers $1 million seed funding for innovative energy efficiency projects; and

  • SFU’s well established Zero Waste Initiative has resulted in major GHG emissions savings through recycling, increased composting and reducing GHG emissions from landfill.

For more information on SFU’s actions to reduce GHG emissions, and plans for further reductions in 2019, see the latest Carbon Neutral Action Report.