Energy and Water
Energy Conservation for Employees
As employees at the university, our work can bear a heavy energy burden on campus operations. Take a moment to think about how you can reduce your energy usage at work.
Little actions add up!
- Leaving for the day? Lights on in an empty room? Switch it off!
- Only charge your electronics as you need to. Plan your charging times strategically
- Watch out for energy vampires or phantom load. Many electronics, chargers and appliances use energy even when turned off.
- Screensavers don't save energy. Enabling sleep mode on your computer will save 100-600 kWh per year. Turn off your monitor at the end of the day.
- Request Energy Awareness Training for you and your colleagues.
- Call out inefficient energy usage for what it is. Helping others to recognize the problem can set new norms around energy usage on campus.
Water Conservation for Employees
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 leak, report it to the Customer Service Centre at (306)966-4496 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Requests can similarly be submitted through PAWS under the "Facilities Request" tab.
We may recognize them from early elementary school, but the 3 R's are just as important in adult life as they were then.
Reducing your waste is always the best and most important option to maintain a green workplace. Strategically think of where most of the waste created by your office comes, and identify innovative solutions to eliminate that waste.
- Think about the amount that you consume and question whether it's all necessary. Retail therapy can be a nice break from work, 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 time.
- Avoid printing whenever possible.
- Use both sides of a sheet of paper.
- Get more on a page with smaller margins, font and line spacing.
- Use paper with post-consumer recycled content.
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 office use for filling up on caffeine or staying hydrated. It reduces paper and plastic waste and can be a personalized style statement.
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.
Getting to and from work isn't usually the most enjoyable part of the day, but choosing sustainable modes of transportation can make your daily routine healthier, more enjoyable, and better for the environment!
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.
Walking and Biking
Get active! Walking to work 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
If you don't often use a car but would like to conveniently make short, occasional trips, try a car-sharing program. The Saskatoon CarShare Coop is a great local option that features a 100% solar-powered electrical vehicle fleet to reduce emissions.
Limit the footprint of off-campus meetings by carpooling with co-workers. Even better, consider using telecommuting services like Skype, Google Hangouts, or WebEx.
Consider the design of a product—was it designed to be durable and minimize the resources used to manufacture and/or use it? Avoid single-use products, excess packaging and things that cannot be recycled in whole or in part at the end of their lifecycle. Watch this TED Talk to learn about cradle-to-cradle design.
Sustainable Purchasing Guide
The university has a Sustainable Purchasing guide to help workplace buyers purchase with sustainability in mind.
Check out the USask Sustainable Electronics Purchasing Guide. It shows us what we can do as a university, as students, and as staff and instructors to reduce our environmental impact when choosing, using and disposing of electronics on campus or at home.
Sustainable Meetings and Events
Conferences, meetings, and events have the potential to compound energy use, emissions output, and waste generation at the university. The Sustainable Meetings, Conferences, and Events Guide has practical tips for hosting a meeting or conference.
The Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council also includes some great tips on its website.