Let s get to work
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Let’s get to work. Jim A. Nicell, PhD, PEng. Associate Vice-Principal (University Services) James McGill Professor, Civil Engineering & Applied Mechanics Associate Member, McGill School of Environment. Traditional Approach. A Sustainable Approach. What the University must do.

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Let s get to work

Let’s get to work

Jim A. Nicell, PhD, PEng

Associate Vice-Principal (University Services)

James McGill Professor, Civil Engineering & Applied Mechanics

Associate Member, McGill School of Environment


Traditional approach

Traditional Approach


A sustainable approach

A Sustainable Approach


What the university must do

What the University must do

  • Develop and implement policies, guidelines & plans to achieve a tidal shift in culture

    • Environmental Policy

    • Sustainability Policy

    • Planning & Design Principles of the Master Plan

    • Green Building Standards

    • Purchasing Policy

    • Sustainable Development Plan


What the university must do1

What the University must do

  • Set strategic goals and measure progress

  • Coordinate sustainability initiatives

  • Prioritize the spending of our limited resources

  • Integrate sustainability concepts into all operations and the jobs of all employees

  • Shift to long-term views incorporating life-cycle analyses

  • Educate community members and set expectations

  • Create incentives to change behaviours


What the university must do2

What the University must do

  • Energy: reduce demand, increase efficiency, shift to clean renewables

  • Materials: renewable, durable, easy to maintain

  • Move to paperless forms of information collection, exchange, dissemination and storage

  • Transportation demand management

  • Enhance recycling across our campuses

  • Purchasing policy: sustainable specifications for equipment, vehicles and products, choice of suppliers, shift to local acquisition of goods

  • Enhance biomass: Green space and grounds


What individuals must do

What individuals must do

  • Take responsibility

  • Adjust expectations and change behaviours

  • Think globally, act locally

  • Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

  • Take concrete steps: Adopt the pledge

  • Make informed choices

  • Share and explore ideas

  • Collaborate with new initiatives


What individuals must do1

What individuals must do

  • In the short term, start by reducing consumption:

    • Paper

    • Bottled water

    • Solvents, Chemicals (e.g., $5 for 1 g, $10 for 25 g)

    • Choose devices based on durability and flexibility of use (avoid devices designed for obsolescence)

    • Share and exchange equipment/facilities

    • Consider impacts of both acquiring and operating facilities and equipment

    • Power consumption (lights, computers, etc.)

    • Adopt alternative modes of transportation


What individuals must do2

What individuals must do

  • Recycling (do it right)


Next steps

Next Steps

  • Measure our footprint

  • Prioritize our actions

  • Set SMART objectives

    • Strategic

    • Measured

    • Agreed-on

    • Realistic

    • Timed

  • Benchmark our progress


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