In 2008, NSCC made it a priority to become a leader in sustainability for the benefit of its community and all Nova Scotians. The College has remained committed to this promise and has made great progress.
Sustainability is a broad concept that’s embedded in all aspects of how NSCC does business. It encompasses design, construction and operation of buildings, resource management and all of the decisions that shape safe, healthy and equitable environments in which to work and learn.
Sustainability is a journey of continual improvement, so NSCC tracks performance indicators closely and encourages students and employees to participate in short- and long-term strategies to achieve established goals.
Since 2008, all new NSCC buildings have been built to LEED standards (LEED = Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and certified through the Canada Green Building Council.
In 2019, NSCC took it a step further by developing and launching its own Sustainable Building Standards. Starting this year, these standards will ensure that all new construction projects and major renovations will achieve a minimum LEED Silver Certification.
NSCC is also greening the grid. Through the Nova Scotia Solar for Community Buildings Pilot Program, a solar array that feeds directly into Nova Scotia’s electric grid has been installed at Ivany Campus. Now, NSCC is exploring similar installations for the Shelburne, Strait Area and Lunenburg Campuses and at the Centre of Geographic Sciences.
NSCC has been enrolled in BOMA BEST (BEST = Building Environmental Standards) since 2008. The nationally recognized program measures sustainable building operations using indicators such as water usage, waste diversion and greenhouse gas emissions to reduce environmental impacts and operating costs.
For example, NSCC generates 230 tonnes of solid waste every year. NSCC's recycling and composting programs enable the diversion of 75 per cent of its waste from provincial landfills.
This year, NSCC re-certified all its campuses under the new, expanded version of BOMA BEST — achieving BOMA BEST Silver or higher at all campuses. Ivany and IT Campuses both achieved BOMA BEST Platinum — the top certification level.
NSCC has been tracking sustainability performance using STARS since 2013.
STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) is the transparent, self-reporting framework of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). The framework is closely aligned with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and allows colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.
In 2019, NSCC created a STARS Steering Committee to identify areas for improvement and further action toward achieving the College’s and the UN’s sustainability goals.
In 2020, NSCC maintained a STARS Gold rating for the third time and is among the top 10 postsecondary institutions in Canada.
NSCC is a nationally-recognized industry leader in sustainability practices. A dedicated and comprehensive focus on reducing our environmental impact is one of the College’s core values and is deeply embedded in its culture. As a result, NSCC not only seeks to meet industry best practices for sustainability, it strives to exceed them.
This doesn’t just give NSCC a competitive edge, is inspires its students and staff to do the right thing for the planet, whether they are within NSCC’s walls or in the communities the College serves.
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UPDATED: June 9,, 2020