Sustainability is more than just a word. It’s an attitude, an ethos, a way of living. At Douglas College, making our campuses more efficient to adapt to the needs of students and the realities of climate change is an obligation we take seriously.
A FIRM PLAN
The first major step the College took towards improved environmental stewardship was ensuring sustainable practices were part of our strategic planning. This was formalized in the Douglas College 2010-15 Strategic Plan.
Contributing to sustainability goals continues to be a theme in the Strategic Plan for 2020-25, as we strive to provide environmental and social leadership.
The College has been carbon-neutral since 2010 and since then many initiatives have been taken to reduce the College’s environmental impact.
GREENING OUR FACILITIES
The showpieces of the College’s greening initiatives are our green roof top decks. These areas are planted with sedum and other native flora and can be enjoyed on the third and fourth floors of the south building at the New Westminster campus, and between buildings A & B at Coquitlam. Apart from their aesthetic and educational value, the decks help improve storm water retention and the vegetation helps reduce the amount of urban dust and smog around campus.
In 2017, Douglas College hosted the Lower Mainland’s Zero Waste Forum and moved to 4-stream recycling on both campuses. In 2019, plastic water bottles were eliminated from the College and the installation of water bottle filling stations continues to be expanded to promote drinking water from re-useable containers.
Many energy-saving changes have been made to the infrastructure of the College buildings from new boilers and chillers, to installing LED lights with daylight dimmers and automatic shut-off switches that sense motion.
Renovations provide an opportunity for us to re-build with the environment in mind and adapt the College’s buildings for changes in the climate. For example, a recent renovation used 1,690 pairs of recycled denim jeans as wall insulation, creating 53% less CO2e than conventional fiberglass. In other areas we have been able to improve use of natural lighting or replace windows to reduce energy consumption.
Douglas College was a major advocate for the expansion of public transit to its campuses, culminating in the construction of the Evergreen Line, making us one of only two post-secondary institutions in B.C. fully connected via rail. In 2020, we added 17 EV parking stations to encourage students and employees to switch to greener modes of transport.
In 2021 Douglas College joined the Feed BC program and made a further commitment to local food education, innovation and procurement.
In 2016, the Institute of Urban Ecology opened their Sol (Sustainability, Outreach and Learning) garden at the Coquitlam Campus, with the goal of educating the public about sustainable urban gardening practices.
Moving into academics, if making a career of your passion for environmental sustainability or advocacy interests you, the College offers two-year diplomas in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies, in addition to several courses focusing on the environment spread across many other programs.
We also offer the Practical Energy and Advanced Knowledge (PEAK) program, which trains building managers in the areas of green technology and sustainable management.