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University of Guelph undergraduate students receive Certificate of Recognition from Ontario's Chief Energy Conservation Officer

Wednesday, April 11th 2007 5:10:26pm

Media Release - For Immediate Release

Students commit $4.3 million of their own money to campus conservation initiatives; University to match funds

(Guelph, Ontario, April 11, 2007)  The Ontario Power Authority's Conservation Bureau today recognized undergraduate students at the University of Guelph for their initiative to improve energy efficiency on campus.

The students were presented with a Certificate of Recognition by Peter Love, Ontario's Chief Energy Conservation Officer.  It recognizes the recent approval of a student referendum that has undergraduates committing more than $4.3 million over 12 years for energy conservation.

The money will be used for projects ranging from lighting and heating to water efficiency to retrofitting. The University is matching all the money raised, earmarking all of the funds for energy conservation and continue looking for partnerships from all levels of government.

"The U of G students are doing exactly what we need all Ontarians to do," Love said. "They are committing to using energy wisely and they are putting their resources into the challenge. It's good for the students, it's good for the university and it's good for Ontarians."

The certificate was accepted on behalf of U of G students by Adam Scott and Derek Pieper, who helped lead the referendum campaign. "I am very happy to see the amazing commitment made by Guelph students recognized by the province," Scott said. "Students have truly demonstrated leadership through their actions here, and acknowledgment of their contribution is well-deserved. I hope this referendum will be seen as a catalyst to provoke similar actions to reduce energy at other institutions."

The referendum, which was approved in late March, was proposed by the Student Executive Council (SEC), a broad coalition of all student governments, and Guelph Students for Environmental Change's Renewable Energy Group. It was approved by a 14-per-cent margin.

"The Energy Retrofit campaign was a collaborative effort made by a group of very dedicated students and supported by a student body that values the importance of energy conservation," Pieper added.

President Alastair Summerlee congratulated the students on the provincial recognition, as well as on their initiative and commitment to reducing energy consumption. "I am proud that our students have taken the lead on this initiative. They have really set the stage for both our University community and other universities to follow."

Summerlee added that energy conservation is a shared responsibility and that Guelph has made great strides in reducing energy consumption. The University has launched a number of initiatives in recent years to reduce energy consumption, including energy retrofit programs and engaged educational programming, which have had a positive impact on its overall energy consumption. The University has also identified a list of projects that it wishes to complete to further green the campus.

"With the help and support of our community, we can do even more," Summerlee said.  Faculty and staff also have the opportunity to contribute to ongoing energy conservation efforts, and that money will also be matched by the University. Information is available online or by calling 519-824-4120, Ext. 56695.

In addition, Summerlee announced Wednesday that the University is teaming up with Deborah Kaplan at Zerofootprint to launch an initiative to measure the "ecological footprint" of every member of the University community. It will involve a web-based calculator that people can use to estimate and analyze the impact daily activities such as car travel and electricity use are having on the environment.

Summerlee sees the calculator as both awareness and a motivating tool. "It will allow us to measure progress in reducing our environmental impact and to set goals, both as a University and as individuals."


For further information, please contact:

Lori Bona Hunt, Associate Director (News Service), Communications and Public Affairs, University of Guelph, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338

Tim Taylor, Manager, Media and Public Relations, Ontario Power Authority, (416) 969-6353, tim.taylor@powerauthority.on.ca

The Conservation Bureau is an office of the Ontario Power Authority. It was established in 2005 to develop, coordinate and stimulate electricity conservation and demand management by planning, designing and implementing comprehensive programs that foster a culture of conservation across the province.  See www.conservationbureau.on.ca for more information.