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McGill Net Positive

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McGill University boasts a strong foundation of excellence in sustainability, including outstanding research, first-rate education, and an active community working to increase campus and community sustainability. McGill Net Positive rests on the premise that, despite all of the good work happening here, a critical piece of the sustainability puzzle at McGill is missing. We have great people, innovative ideas, and the tenacity to get things done. However, to fully leverage McGill’s sustainability efforts, we believe that McGill needs a “hub” for all of our sustainability activities – research, teaching, and action.

The McGill Net Positive project is the first step in a community process to collaboratively imagine and design this hub for sustainability activities at McGill. A "hub" is a central place for people to interact through the course of every day life. We imagine that a sustainability hub at McGill will connect members of the sustainability community together in a flagship physical space (new or renovated) that embodies principles of green building. It will be a home for sustainability on campus: a place for talks, workshops, and classes as well as for research. Built or renovated using the latest in green design, it will serve as a living laboratory for practicing sustainability and help cement McGill’s reputation as the place for sustainability research, education, and innovation.

What are the goals of McGill Net Positive?

  • Build community around the idea of a sustainability hub by engaging students, administration, staff, and faculty members in discussions about what we want from a green building that would house teaching, research, and action related to sustainability.
  • Develop a shared vision for the hub. In defining this vision, we will identify the desired characteristics of a future location and come to a common understanding about why a hub for sustainability on campus is crucial and how such a place can contribute to McGill’s community.

How will we achieve these goals?

  • Organize a series of 4 charrettes over the winter 2014 term. Design professionals, architects, professors, and staff with expertise in green buildings and sustainable communities will speak to and engage with the McGill community. We will discuss strategies for sustainability in campus buildings, particularly those that build community while embodying green building principles.
  • Summarize learning in a half-day workshop at the end of winter 2014. Our last charrette will finalize a vision for a sustainability hub at McGill and identify clear next steps.

What are the expected outcomes of the McGill Net Positive project?

  • A vision document that synthesizes discussions held during the McGill Net Positive process, including a description of the desired features of the sustainability hub, the activities that might take place there, and the groups that can contribute to it becoming a living lab of sustainability.
  • One or two edited videos of the charrettes that will condense the most relevant ideas discussed, and will serve as a promotional instrument for further steps in the design process.
  • Recommendations for next steps that will establish a path toward future implementation. 


McGill Net Positive is an initiative of the McGill School of Environment in collaboration with the McGill Office of Sustainability.

Contact us at: mcgillnetpositive [at] gmail [dot] com