During the chilly winter months of January and February, hundreds of students, staff and faculty in post-secondary institutes across the province pledged to reduce energy, with each school vying for the title of BC’s coolest campus.
In a coordinated effort to show climate leadership, UBCV and UBCO joined Simon Fraser University, Thompson Rivers University, Selkirk College and the British Columbia Institute of Technology in the challenge.
More than one thousand UBC campus community members joined forces with 1,344 other individuals and stepped up to the BC Cool Campus Challenge, committing to four simple actions to save energy at home and at work by:
- Turning down the heat
- Layering up in warmer clothes
- Taking shorter showers
- Washing clothes in cold water
Selkirk College in the Kootenays claimed the title of BC’s coolest campus by collecting the most number of pledges in proportion to the size of the campus community, earning bragging rights for this year, and showcasing how collective action can result in positive impacts on our climate.
“Congratulations to Selkirk for their efforts, and to all of the participants who realized their individual actions could have substantial impacts both on and off campus,” said Aaron Bichard, sustainability outreach and engagement coordinator at UBC’s Vancouver campus. “UBC may not have won the challenge this year, but our efforts contributed to lessening the impact of a potential natural gas shortage in communities across the province, and further demonstrated our commitments to creating a sustainable future.”
While individuals were pledging to take action, the temperatures in buildings across campuses were lowered slightly where feasible to further reduce natural gas use and save energy.
With 90 per cent of UBC’s carbon emissions generated through the burning of natural gas to heat campus buildings and hot water, slight reduction of building temperatures can have significant impact.
“The Challenge may be over for this year, but we can all incorporate these simple actions in our everyday lives to reduce energy use year-round,” Bichard said.
For more tips on how to save energy throughout the year or to get involved in other sustainability initiatives at UBC, visit our Get Involved section.