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Gold star for Royal Roads' sustainability performance

July 15, 2014
Office of Sustainability Director Nancy Wilkin

Royal Roads continues to be a leader in sustainability and now has a gold star to show for it.

Based on the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating system (STARS) used by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) the university has received a gold rating for its sustainability performance in academics, engagement, operations and planning and administration.

In 2009 Royal Roads was the first Canadian university to be rated by the STARS system when it received a silver award.

“This award is a validation of our continued efforts to be leaders in environmental sustainability, in both what we teach and how we operate as an institution,” says Steve Grundy, vice president academic and provost at Royal Roads. “Achievement of the gold rating demonstrates that we are living what we teach and leading by example.”

Grundy noted the integration of sustainability principles and practices in the Royal Roads curriculum was recognized with top marks in the academic category and that it was a team of Environmental Science students that led the research for the application. 

Nancy Wilkin, director of the Office of Sustainability at Royal Roads says the university also improved in its operations category. “Significant energy retrofits led to energy savings and a 93-tonne decrease in greenhouse gas emissions since our last rating,” says Wilkin, adding the university is on track to achieving provincial greenhouse gas reduction targets by 2020. “When you’re dealing with heritage buildings on a national historic site, it makes our improvement all the more notable.”

The university also received full marks for innovation as a result of its green custodial practices, the establishment of “smart” drains on campus and the university’s involvement with Nature Kindergarten.

STARS is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure and track their sustainability performance. Over 650 institutions on six continents are now registered with AASHE in STARS.