Energy and Water

Energy Conservation for Students

There are many ways students can involve themselves in energy conservation around campus.

Little actions add up! 

  • See a light left on in an empty classroom? Take a quick second to flick it off.
  • Only charge your electronics as you need to. Strategize your charging times.
  • Member of a student group with a lounge? Unplug energy drains that aren't being used like microwaves and phone chargers. Phantom load accounts for huge energy losses.
  • Call out inefficient energy usage for what it is. Helping others to recognize the problem can set new injunctive norms around energy usage on campus.

Studying energy efficiency?

Students with capstone projects as part of their degree requirements can use the Office of Sustainability's Living Lab program to conduct their projects on campus itself! Explore how LED lighting can reduce load requirements in a certain building, research how light placement affects study behaviours, or survey how people's knowledge about the electrical grid informs their behaviours.

Water Conservation for Students

We use water so often in our day-to-day lives that we often don't even recognize how we interact with it. 

Stay water conscious

Take a minute to question how you interact with water. How long do you let the tap run while washing your hands? Do you take 20 minute showers? Do you do dishes with a shallow sink, a full sink, a dishwasher, or by running the tap? All of these activities and more impact water usage at the university, which takes a toll on the university's operating budget and its impact on the local Saskatoon environment. 

Re-evaluate how you use water and become friendly with conservation whenever possible.

Notice a Leak?

Did you know that over the course of a year a single leaky faucet could fill an entire residential swimming pool? Leaks are some of the most unrecognized water wasters out there and can have a huge impact on the amount of water the university uses. If you see a leack, report it to the Customer Service Centre at (306)966-4496 or customerservice.centre@usask.ca.

Waste Reduction

Get Friendly with the 3 R's

We may recognize them from early elementary school, but the 3 R's are just as important in adult life as they were then.

Reduce

Reducing our waste footprint is the most effective way to limit the amount of waste the university generates.

  • Think about the amount that you consume and question whether it's all necessary. Retail therapy can be a nice break from studying, but the waste footprint it can leave behind would surprise you.
  • Consider product packaging when purchasing new items. If you can, choose products with minimal packaging that can be recycled.
  • Steer clear of landfill-bound food containers. Styrofoam is non-recyclable in Saskatoon, so try to avoid styrofoam food containers if you can. Consider bringing your own tupperware to hold or store food you buy on campus.
  • Paper consumption can add up over the course of a school year. Use both sides of a sheet of paper. If printing a Powerpoint, print multiple slides per sheet. Get more on a page with smaller margins, font and line spacing. Use paper with post-consumer recycled content.

Reuse

While not as good as reduction, getting the most reuse out of our items as possible is the next best way to keep things out of the landfill.

  • Don't buy into planned obsolescence! Before you decide to upgrade, question whether your existing gadgets still do the trick.
  • Identify secondary users of items you no longer want. Ask a friend if they want your hand-me-downs or consider donating them to a local charity.
  • Choose durable and well-made items that will last longer and get more usage out of them. One expensive, rugged, high-quality backpack will treat you better and cost you less than several cheap, disposable backpacks.
  • Get into the habit of carrying your reusables around with you. Have a mug and/or water bottle around for school use for filling up on caffeine or staying hydrated. It reduces paper and plastic waste and can be a personalized style statement.

Recycle

When all else fails, recycling everything we can keeps the landfill from growing and allows for new items to be made from the results.

Learn all you can about recycling on campus on our recycling page.

Sustainability in Residence

Living in residence can seem daunting, especially to students who are staying away from home for the first time. The Office of Sustainability has put together a Sustainability in Residence Guide to help make sustainable on-campus living easier to give you one less thing to worry about.

Transportation

Getting to and from campus isn't always the most enjoyable part of the day, but luckily there are many sustainable ways to do it.

U-Pass

Use your U-Pass. It's included in your tuition if you're an undergrad and it works for getting around the rest of the city too!

Walking and Biking

Get active! Walking to school is a great way to make sure that each day has some physical activity in it no matter how busy you are.

Whether you're cloes to campus or furthur away, biking is a fantastic way to stay fit and get around town. Nothing in Saskatoon is too far; in fact, trips of 10km or less generally take the same or less time to travel by bike as by car. Learn more over at our cycling page.

Share Your Ride

Carpooling is a great way to reduce the carbon footprint for a group of people. The university offers a carpooling tool - U-Commute - to help arrange a carpool with people on similar schedules as your own.

If you don't often use a car but would like to conveniently make short, occasional trips, try a car-sharing program. There are many options for car sharing around Saskatoon (e.g. Saskatoon CarShare Coop), and Enterprise Car Sharing is hosted on campus to facilitate easy access if you live in residence.

Make It Personal

Staying sustainable requires a personal commitment to changing your behaviours. Many of the learned behaviours we exhibit day to day are inherently unsustainable, but with just a little bit of recognition and cognitive therapy we can adjust them to reflect a more sustainable (and often healthier) alternative.

Balance

Find a balance between school, work and social time that lets you accomplish your academic and career goals without sacrificing your health and happiness. Be aware of your needs for holistic health and wellness: intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual.

Budget

Include economic sustainability in your decision-making by sticking to a budget and by researching the financial assistance options you have as a student.

Respect

Optimize learning opportunities for yourself and others by helping to create respectful and supportive classroom, research, and/or work environments. A sustainable society is one where the quality of living, learning, and work is ensured for all members.

Share

Share informational resources, ideas, and concerns with fellow students, and be open to feedback and suggestions in return. Creating a sustainable community is about understanding multiple perspectives and finding the areas where they meet.

Honour

Honour diversity in all its forms and take risks to challenge discriminatory beliefs and attitudes. On campus the Aboriginal Students Centre, the International Students Office, the LGBTA Centre and the Women’s Centre offer support services.

Learn

Learn about issues related to sustainability.

Get Help

Are you a member of a ratified student group on campus looking to get help injecting sustainability into your group's actions? The Office of Sustainability offers student group grants of up to $300 to help out with this very thing! Visit our student group grants page for more information.