Energy and Water

Energy Conservation for Students

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

Little actions add up! 

  • If your building doesn't feature automated lighting, be sure to turn off the lights when you are the last person to leave a room.
  • Only charge your electronics as you need to. Plan your charging times strategically.
  • For student group lounges, watch out for energy vampires or phantom load. Many electronics, chargers and appliances use energy even when turned off.
  • Call out inefficient energy usage for what it is. Helping others to recognize the problem can set new 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.

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 at the Facilities PAWS Channel.

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.


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.


Reusing our items as much 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.


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

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.


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.


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 live close or far, biking is a fantastic way to stay fit and get around town. It can even be deceptively fast; trips of 10km or less generally take the same or less time to travel by bike as by car. Learn more over at our transportation and 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.

Get Help

Want to take sustainability into your own hands? The USSU Sustainability Committee can help provide you with the funds to take action!