University releases plans to lower emissions and energy spending by 2022
On March 1, StFX held a public gathering to highlight the environmentally friendly initiatives they plan to implement.
From 2008 to 2016, StFX reduced their energy use by 27.5 percent and reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 22 percent.
“We are purposeful stewards of our resources, considerate of our impact on the environment and our long-term resilience,” StFX admin said of the strategic sustainability plan for 2017-2022.
The university plans to invest $12 million on mechanical, operational and lighting systems across campus. This process will take over eighteen months but will save the school $800,000 thousand a year and reduce StFX’s energy consumption by a further twenty percent, according to the plan.
The Xaverian Weekly recently interviewed Andrew Beckett, StFX vice-president of finance and administration.
He explained that StFX’s central heating plant, which is located opposite from Morrison Hall, is out-dated and a financial liability due to the oil they import from Montreal.
Beckett says the university has two options for the future: either they significantly reduce the plant’s size or they eliminate it entirely and disperse approximately fifteen mini heating plants all across campus. These “mini-plants” would decrease energy usage substantially.
StFX is already in the process of converting to natural gases and propane, which will hopefully lead to an environmentally friendly campus and enhanced image for the school.
The financing of this green initiative is partially done by the provincial government and other third party sponsors, such as Siemens. However, the majority of the funding comes from the university’s budget.
StFX plans to spend $20 million on environment sustainability projects and foresees that the investment will pay off in around eighteen years. Although this seems like a lengthy operation, Beckett added, “Every year new technology is being created for environmental sustainability… as we continue to update and become more efficient, the initial investment cost will keep getting smaller and smaller.”
This environmentally friendly initiative is also going to be considered for the construction of all new buildings, including Mulroney Hall and future renovations. At the sustainability press conference, President Kent MacDonald aptly said, “It is up to us to figure out a way to make an impact.”
The StFX Environmental Society explained that these plans will be publicized across campus in the coming five weeks. There will be posters and social media posts to circulate information and help students get involved in a variety of ways. There will be a number of special events, such as a photo contest and social media promotions.
After the success of the Bloomfield Centre solar panels, there are now plans for more to be installed campus-wide. If you want to test your own “footprint”, you can have Facilities Management send student sustainability officers to do energy audits for you.
There will also be special incentives, such as bringing a “StFX Sustainability Mug” to a Sodexo location to receive fifty cents off any hot beverage.
Students are encouraged to keep an eye out for the various sustainability events taking place over the course of the semester, and to contribute by getting informed and taking the small but impactful steps to reduce StFX’s energy output.