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Royal Roads is a leader in sustainable practice in Canada

January 24, 2011

Royal Roads University is teaming up to deliver on a green energy project  in an initiative that will benefit Colwood, the West Shore, Vancouver Island and students enrolled in its Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science program.

Royal Roads is participating in a federally-funded $3.9 million project  supporting Colwood's green energy initiative by providing community education and outreach, applied research, monitoring and reporting as part of the City of Colwood's three-year solar power project.

Royal Roads is also the first Canadian post-secondary institution to receive a silver ranking from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (ASSHE), through its AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Though 250 of nearly 900 AASHE members have signed up to participate in this North American wide ranking system, nine of those in Canada, Royal Roads is only the second institution, and the first in Canada, to submit its report and receive this ranking.

These are the latest of several environmental initiatives in the last few months supporting the University's stewardship commitment and community outreach.

"Through the combination of teaching, research and applied learning opportunities Royal Roads University is a living laboratory to deliver on our sustainability commitment," said President Allan Cahoon. "Because of the heritage assets we look after and because our students are eager to apply their learning in the real world, we have many unique opportunities to tackle important challenges as we grow our student base over the next few years." 

Royal Roads is also working hard to restore the natural heritage of this site. As such, and after getting the appropriate approvals, the university will be receiving $11,000 from the Pacific Salmon Foundation and $19,000 from the Vancouver Foundation to restore a precious wetland on its property. The project will be a long-term opportunity for students to explore and implement a comprehensive environmental restoration that will benefit the local community for years to come.

"We hope that this ecosystem will become one of the cornerstones of the Royal Roads site plan," said Nancy Wilkin, Royal Roads University's director, Office of Sustainability. "The plan is to eventually recover streams, increase the diversity of plants and wildlife, restore marsh wetland areas, and old growth forests."

Late last year Royal Roads was also awarded $1 million under the Public Sector Energy Conservation Agreement to retrofit its existing buildings and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 317 tonnes. This project is underway and is expected to be completed by the spring. It also installed solar panels on the roof of its Millward residence which will soon start heating water through solar power thereby further minimizing its greenhouse gas emission for this coming year.

This spring, Royal Roads will open its first purpose-built building after 15 years of delivering its unique educational model with the infrastructure left by its landlord, the Department of National Defence. The Learning and Innovation Centre is a Gold LEED standard building and will become a showcase for sustainable construction and operation in British Columbia's post-secondary sector.

Since opening on the grounds of Hatley Park National historic site in 1995, Royal Roads has focused on environmental stewardship as one of its founding pillars. It has done this by forging strategic alliances that have served the community, its students and the natural heritage of this treasured historic site, a symbol of an age of coal power in the 20th Century and a symbol of innovation that will soon wean us off fossil fuels in the 21st Century.

Royal Roads University was established by the Province of British Columbia in 1995 specifically to deliver quality applied and professional programs to advance professionals in the workplace. The university blends online and on-campus learning with current, real-world relevance for doctorate, graduate and undergraduate degrees, certificates, diplomas, executive, custom and continuing education.


For media queries, contact:

Communications Officer, Doug Ozeroff  250-391-2526, cel 250-812-5065