Trent University Boasts Substantial Savings and Positive Environmental Impact Thanks to Green Initiatives on Campus


Programs Reduce 142 Tonnes of CO2 and Generate Total Annual Savings of $90,000 in Operating Costs

Tuesday, April 21, 2009, Peterborough

As it prepares to recognize Earth Day, Trent University announced today the positive environmental impact and significant cost savings resulting from a number of green campus-wide initiatives.

Successes during the 2008-2009 academic year include:

  • A generous donation from an anonymous donor to support the retrofitting of several interior lighting systems in the Environmental Sciences Building, Science Complex, and Otonabee College with the latest energy-saving lamps and electronic ballasts.
  • Replacement shower heads in campus residences resulting in annual savings of 15 million litres of water.
  • The installation of Vending Misers - motion sensor devices that activate vending machine lights only when people pass by and control the frequency which the machine’s compressor runs.
  • The total impact of the lighting retrofits, shower head replacements, Vending Miser installations resulted in a total estimated reduction of 142 tonnes of CO2 and cost savings of $90,000 annually.
  • In the 2007-2008 academic year, Trent composted 56,000 kilograms of organic waste, an increase of 273% over the previous academic year. Based on a 2009 survey, 87% of participants compost on campus.
  • The Trent community’s nation-leading effort in support of CBC’s One Million Acts of Green. When the campaign reached its one millionth act, Trent had the most members (1,002), the most acts of green (41,762), and the greatest contribution to greenhouse gas reduction (2,118,646 kg) of any other group in Canada.

“Trent is already well known for its strong environmental programs and commitment to sustainability, but when you see the cumulative impact of its green initiatives, it’s impressive to see what the Trent community has achieved in a relatively short period of time,” said President Bonnie Patterson. “These successes reflect the University’s creative problem solving approach and the deep passion by faculty, staff and students to make meaningful changes that help the environment.”

These initiatives are led by the Office of Sustainability which Trent established in 2007 as part of its Physical Resources Department, to develop, implement and evaluate a variety of waste reduction, energy conservation and green education programs across campus. “In addition to improvements on the operating cost front, we’ve made strong headway incorporating green ways of thinking in many other aspects of the University,” said Shelley Strain, Trent’s sustainability coordinator.

Ms. Strain noted that sustainability presentations are now part of all new staff orientation programs, and incorporated during Introductory Seminar Week for new students. While living on campus, students receive workshops on greening the transition from living with parents to living independently. New for the 2008-09 academic year was a Pocket Guide to Sustainable Campus Living developed by Ms. Strain for students to inform them about Trent’s various waste reduction and energy-saving programs.

Beyond these recent accomplishments, Trent has several ongoing sustainability projects in progress or planned for the future, including:

  • A “green” convocation: instead of providing bottled water to graduates and their families, Trent will set up a series of tap water stations throughout the event area. Graduates will be supplied with refillable/reusable water containers to take home and other guests will have access to biodegradable paper cups.
  • Additional lighting retrofits to be completed during the summer will generate an additional $75,000 in annual savings
  • The Stanley Adamson Powerhouse when redeveloped will double electrical output to approximately 19 million kWh annually of “green” energy, using the same amount of water with no negative environmental impact on the river system. Trent is the only university in Canada that has a hydroelectric power plant. In addition, it will displace approximately 4,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, while restoring the historical 1921 building to its original condition. This project will increase the University’s electrical self-sufficiency to approximately 75% plus contribute approximately 2 to 3 million kWh at times of low demand on the campus to the Peterborough community.
  • An eight-megawatt hydro station developed by a local consortium, at Locks 22 and 23 on the Otonabee River, part of the Trent Severn Waterway that runs run through Trent-owned land. This station will generate revenue for the University while providing clean, renewable power for 4,000 local homes – a $30M investment.


For further information, please contact Shelley Strain, sustainability coordinator, at (705) 748-1011, ext. 7157.