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Buildings and Utilities

Sustainability in building and utilities recognizes that institutions need to take all sorts of steps to lighten the footprint of their infrastructure.

Buildings in Sustainability

Infrastructure impacts

Buildings are generally the largest user of energy and the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions on campuses. Buildings also use significant amounts of potable water. Institutions can design, build, and maintain buildings in ways that provide a safe and healthy indoor environment for inhabitants while simultaneously mitigating the building’s impact on the outdoor environment. Sustainability is a core commitment in McGill’s Master Plan, and is taken into account in all infrastructure decisions. 

McGill Heritage

McGill University's downtown campus occupies 32 hectares within the Historic and Natural District of Mount Royal, a heritage zone created by the Government of Quebec in 2005. Most of the more than 100 buildings on campus were constructed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Under both municipal and provincial legislation, the university cannot make any changes that affect the built environment or heritage on campus without consulting the City of Montreal and the Quebec Ministry of Culture.

Utility Management

Five-Year Energy Plan

In 2010, McGill Developed a comprehensive energy strategy was developed from which followed McGill’s Five-Year Energy Management Plan. The plan is part of McGill’s overall objective to promote energy conservation leadership and participation throughout the McGill community.

McGill Energy Dashboard

The Pulse Energy Dashboard provides real-time, online energy use data for McGill's downtown campus. As part of the current energy management program, Utilities and Energy Management use this tool to optimize the energy performance of McGill buildings. Presently, the energy consumption of 67 buildings is available, with more to be added soon.

Plans and Initiatives

Policy Review

With regards to building retrofits, McGill is faced with balancing functionality issues with financial consideration, while maintaining the heritage and integrity of its buildings. A detailed review of initiatives related to the built environment was prepared in 2004. The 2008 Master Plan, identifies sustainable development as an overarching campus design principle, and comprehensive green building standards are currently under development.

Materials Analysis Tool

In September 2011, McGill's Design Services unit released Material Analysis Tool (MAT) (SP0031), a publically available online ranking system that distills manufacturer information to assist them and McGill University consultants in the selection of building products that are more cost effective, healthy, and environmentally responsible. McGill expects to put in $40 million over the next 5 years towards energy efficiency and building retrofits; it is estimated that there is approximately $1 billion worth of retrofits to be completed. 

For more information, please visit McGill.ca/Facilities/Utilities

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