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Ontario students awarded over $15,000 for their ideas for a sustainable future

Tuesday, April 3rd 2007 4:02:20pm


(Markham, Ontario, April 3, 2007)  The Cement Association of Canada (CAC) recognized students in Ontario with the best sustainable future ideas, awarding $15,000 in cash and prizes to the students with winning ideas yesterday.  The contest was part of the CAC's annual Sustainable Future Day, held this year at Seneca College in Markham where over 100 people attended, including local MPP and Ontario Minister of Revenue Michael Chan and Ontario Minister of Transportation Donna Cansfield.

Each York Region District School Board (YRDSB) finalist received $250, with the 1st place winner, Emma Ryman of Unionville High School, receiving an additional $500.  Seneca College group finalists each received $500, with the 1st place winner, Heather McGregor of Mississauga, receiving an additional $500.  And Trent University (Peterborough) finalist groups each received $1000, with the winning group, which includes Caitlin Bragg, Julia Canning and Andrea Maitucci, receiving an additional $1000, which they have chosen to donate to a First Nations charity.  (For all of the winners and project descriptions, see the chart below.)

The winning projects proposed novel solutions to sustainability challenges; integrated technologies to enhance efficiencies; addressed key elements of sustainability features; and clearly identified sustainability goals.

"By holding this contest, we're encouraging sustainable thinking in youth and sustainable building for our future," said Sally Moore of the Cement Association of Canada.  "The level of awareness and creativity shown today by the finalists is truly impressive."

"The winners were innovative and passionate, bringing a holistic view of what the environment and our place in it means," said Seneca College Professor Christine Doody-Hamilton who was one of the judges.

"I was extremely impressed by the quality of the presentations, and the depth of the students' passion about sustainability and the promise for positive change that their work represents," said Renee Stephen, Queens University Integrated Learning, who also judged the projects.

Minister Chan spoke to the students at the awards ceremony about the inspiring role they are playing in the quest to build a better future:  "You have all worked very hard to further the vision of a sustainable future."

Minister Cansfield commended the students for their efforts, and then went on to discuss her plan to enhance sustainable transportation in Ontario, and complemented the cement industry for taking the lead in sustainable initiatives.

MPP Ernie Parsons spoke about how much has changed since the 50's and how bottling water would have been silly to people, whereas now, we have created a 'throw-away' society.   He said that the Cement Industry's Building a Sustainable Future Day was all about turning that tide and learning to live more sustainably.

In addition to the awards and prize money given out yesterday, there were two People's Choice Sustainable Innovation Awards.  Guests and students from other schools voted on the best projects for Seneca and YRDSB.  The winners were Heather MacGregor for Seneca College, who won a portable DVD player and a DVD of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth; and Corey Neale from YRDSB, who also won a DVD, in addition to an iPOD.

Steve Rensink from YRDSB's Character Matters showed the students and guests images of his work building self-esteem in countries in Africa and around the world, and talked about how issues of climate change, water, and land use are critical the world over.  He inspired the students to know that their actions and ideas will make a difference in environmental thinking worldwide.


For more information, contact:

Sally Moore, Cement Association of Canada, (416) 449-3708, smoore@cement.ca

Photos are available upon request from Brent Kulba, ECO, 416-972-7401

Partners for Building a Sustainable Future Contest:
Cement Association of Canada (CAC), Ontario Concrete Pipe Association (OCPA), Centre for the Built Environment at Seneca College, EnerQuality/R2000, Ontario Masonry Training Centre (OMTC), Ready Mixed Concrete Association of Ontario (RMCAO), Town of Markham, Trent University Indigenous Environmental Studies Programme, Warner Bros Entertainment Inc., and York Region District School Board

Please see the following sites for additional information: www.cement.ca, http://sustainablecontest.cement.ca

2007 Sustainable Future Day Winners

Further information about the winners and projects can be found at http://sustainablecontest.cement.ca

York Region District School Board

1st place
Emma Ryman, Unionville High School

-Resident of Thornhill
-16 years old

Project Name:  The Health Farm - A Sustainable Rehabilitation Centre

Emma's rehabilitation centre for people suffering from drug and alcohol addiction incorporates gardening, composting, recycling, cooking, cleaning and maintenance of the various microgeneration power sources.

The 3,000 square metre centre would be built with extruded straw panels and local agricultural waste fibers, with permeable concrete streets leading up to it.  In addition, eco-friendly varnishes and paints would be used on surfaces in the centre; argon insulated windows would allow for passive solar heating; and thermally activated radiant concrete floors would be used for cooling and heating.  The concrete floors would contain tubes with water running through them, while displacement ventilation at the floor level would bring in fresh air, and vents at the ceiling level would exhaust stale air.

The centre would also feature solar hot water heating, solar panels for electricity, several wind turbines, skylights for natural light, a green roof, energy saving lighting and appliances, grey water recycling, water-conserving faucets and showers, and compost toilets.

2nd place
Jasmine Chung, Unionville High School

Project Name:  Green Building Design - The Last Drop

Jasmine's ecologically designed coffee shop incorporates waste reduction, in both the design of the building and its operation, through reducing, reusing and recycling.  Bicycling would be encouraged, but the shop would also be located near a transit stop, and have a small pervious gravel parking lot that would allow drainage.  Trees and a garden would fill any remaining space.

Powered by geothermal energy, the 2,000 square foot building would incorporate insulating concrete forms (ICF) to increase energy efficiency; cork flooring and bulletin boards, a non-toxic, renewable resource, would reduce noise and create a calm environment; recycling would be mandatory; the positioning of the building and windows would allow for maximum natural lighting; the washrooms would have low-flow equipment; rainwater would be collected for flushing the toilets and watering the garden; and, there would be a green roof.

3rd place
Stephanie Carter, Unionville High School

- 17 years old

Project Name:  Green Yoga Design

Stephanie's eco-friendly yoga studio would be constructed with concrete for its high thermal mass and insulating properties.  Not only would her studio be energy efficient, but affordable to build and durable.  The floor would be made from engineered lumber made from chips and left over strands, and the roof would be a green roof.

In addition, the building would be positioned to take advantage of  solar heat; incorporate ground source heating, use displacement ventilation, be well insulated; maximize natural lighting; draw electricity from a wind turbine; have compost toilets; and collect rainwater for watering plants.

Centre for the Built Environment at Seneca College

1st place
Heather McGregor

- Resident of Mississauga
- 22 years old

Project Name:  Alternative Approach to Apartment Living

Heather's project involves taking an existing apartment building and re-designing it with sustainable technologies.  The key principles for the project are the collection and reuse of water within the building, encouraging community strength and involvement, integrating local food production and consumption, and using natural heating and cooling methods.

Water collected from the roof would be filtered and stored in cisterns on each floor for drinking/tap water, showers and dishwashers.  The discarded water would then be used to water plants, with the water that seeps to the bottom of the planters reused to flush toilets.
Low-scale food production within the structure would encourage local consumption. This would decrease the residents' dependency on outsourced foods.

Indoor plants would regulate the humidity and temperature of the building; structural passive solar design and enhanced concrete and thermal mass would help naturally heat the building; and operable windows would allow for air circulation and a means to cool down rooms.
Community gathering areas on each floor would encourage residents to interact with one another, allowing them to work together as a team on projects and events which bring culture and life to the building.

2nd place
Raoul Jean-Claude Tan-Yan

- Resident of Toronto
- 22 years old

Project Name:  Baril Technology…An alternative to tap

Raoul's project uses Baril Technology to harness rainwater for outdoor use.  But unlike a simple barrel which can be used to fill up buckets, Baril Technology uses a hand pump to create water pressure.  This allows one to water the lawn or wash the car more easily, for example.
The use of this system would help residents reduce their water consumption, while encouraging a conservationist lifestyle.

3rd place
Giuseppe Tony Ricciardi

Project Name:  Green Government Buildings - Sustaining Our Future

Giuseppe's project involves improving the energy efficiency of government buildings by incorporating green building technologies, such as geothermal technology, reflective roofs and rain water recovery systems.

During the winter months, the geoexchange system would bring the earth's natural warmth into the building through a heat pump; and in the summer, the reverse would occur by transferring the earth's cooler ground temperature into the building; the reflective roof would reduce the heat that is generated by the sun, allowing the ventilation system to work more efficiently to reduce the indoor temperature in the summer; and the rain water collected would be filtered and stored in a storage tank, to be used for sanitary purposes and other facility needs.

Trent University Indigenous Environmental Studies

1st place
Caitlin Bragg
Julia Canning
Andrea Maitucci

Project Name:  Health, Agriculture and Economy

The goals of this are to achieve balance between mind, body, spirit, culture, and earth, in order to create a healthy place to live, accomplished through re-connecting with traditional foods, medicines and lifestyles of the Haudenosaunee.

The group members analyze current health problems, and propose preventative measures through a sustainable model of food production which adheres to a traditional diet.  Broken down into zones, the group looks at the options available within the city, on the fringes of the city and outside of the city, in addition to food production inside ones own home (i.e. indoor plants and herbs).

A sustainable ecological economy would be created to support the model for food production.  The primary directive would be qualitative development rather than quantitative growth, to increase human well-being and meet everybody's needs equally without compromising any ecological system or life force.