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Earth Day ’22: U of R wins Paragon Award for Environmental Excellence

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: April 22, 2022 10:00 a.m.

Members of the University community are joined by U of R President and Vice-Chancellor Jeff Keshen and Regina Mayor Sandra Masters at the 2022 Regina & District Chamber of Commerce Paragon Awards.
Members of the University community are joined by U of R President and Vice-Chancellor Jeff Keshen and Regina Mayor Sandra Masters at the 2022 Regina & District Chamber of Commerce Paragon Awards. Regina Chamber of Commerce

This Earth Day, the U of R is proudly celebrating its recent recognition at the 2022 Regina & District Chamber of Commerce Paragon Awards, which honour the best of the local business community.

Members of the University community, including members of the President’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability (PACS), were on hand to accept the Environmental Excellence award presented by the City of Regina.

The award is presented to an organization that acts responsibly in all environmental issues and has demonstrated a commitment in the following areas: environmental workplace enhancements, waste management, air quality improvements, reduction in water consumption, and improved energy efficiency.

Carol Reyda is a Project Manager for the U of R’s Facilities Management Department and sits on PACS as a representative of the Saskatchewan Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development.

“This award is a testimony to the U of R’s culture and commitment to environmental initiatives,” said Reyda. “From the University’s Executive Team, to faculty, researchers, administrators, and our students, this award symbolizes our collective endeavor to minimize the University’s impact on our natural world.”

Here are just a few of the noteworthy sustainability initiatives that the U of R was recognized for:

Laboratory Building upgrades

Upgrading fume hoods and exhaust fans in the Laboratory Building has resulted in increased energy efficiency as well as significant annual utility savings ($130,000 in electricity and $30,000 in natural gas costs).

Partnership with SaskPower

The University and SaskPower partnered on lighting upgrades and efficiency in the heating, cooling, and ventilation systems, which contributed toward a 19 per cent reduction in energy usage per square foot.

Energy Dashboard

An Energy Dashboard has been developed to show energy use in all buildings on the main campus. This website provides a valuable opportunity for our students and community to learn how our campus utilizes energy and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, and to track the success of new initiatives for reductions in our carbon footprint.

Graph of Energy Use
The U of R’s Energy Dashboard shows energy use across campus, as well as energy efficient upgrades over the last five years.

Kīšik Towers upgrades

Innovative in-floor cooling and heating systems were installed in the Kīšik Towers residence buildings, which increased thermal comfort and noise-free operation for residents, increased energy efficiency, and decreased maintenance costs with the deletion of hundreds of fan coil motors and filters.

The unique system won first place in the ASHRAE Regional Conference Technology Awards (outstanding achievement for innovative building design for comfort, indoor air quality, energy conservation).

Sustainability Plan
A new Action Plan for Sustainability is currently being developed by PACS and will be released later this year.

President’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability

The intent of PACS is to support the vision of the U of R’s Strategic Plan for Sustainability and help guide the U of R in ensuring that the best insight, knowledge, leadership and high ethical standards regarding sustainability are brought to decisions around sustainable operations, education, research, performance evaluation, and community service.

PACS is currently developing a new Action Plan for Sustainability (building on the Strategic Plan for Sustainability), which will be released in 2022.

Reyda is extremely proud of the accomplishments of the U of R and PACS thus far, but recognizes that there is still much more to do.

“Our work, of course, is not done,” said Reyda. “Our strategic plan has set bold environmental and climate action goals for 2025, and the bar will be ever higher as we move forward together towards a better future.”

Click here to learn more about the U of R’s commitment to sustainability around campus.

As part of our 2020-25 strategic plan All Our Relations, or kahkiyaw kiwȃhkomȃkȃninawak in Cree, The University of Regina commits to bolstering our education and research activities to positively influence a culture of sustainability through Environment & Climate Action.