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Wilfrid Laurier University will be honoured with a 2016 Minister’s Award for Environmental Excellence (MAFEE) June 21 at Queen’s Park by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) for its efforts to reduce the university’s environmental impact.

“This recognition from the MOECC is a fantastic testament to our progress in sustainability. We are very thankful,” says Gary Nower, assistant vice-president of Physical Resources at Laurier. “These issues are on everyone’s radar in our sector and beyond. Our choice to be proactive is providing resiliency overall, while also showcasing a positive strategic approach from the university.”

The MAFEE award program recognizes exemplary work in environmental protection, innovation, and advocacy. The 2016 MAFEE award focused on the recovery and reuse of resources contained in waste, such as the recovery of nutrients, energy, and water from greenhouse operations, water and wastewater treatment systems, and waste systems.

Laurier’s Sustainability Office leads the university’s efforts to reduce its environmental impact and establish sustainable practices across its campuses and office locations.

In late 2015, the university launched the Laurier Energy Efficiency Program (LEEP), a significant multi-campus energy management program designed to reduce the consumption of all utilities across the Laurier’s campuses. The program aims to establish a micro-grid at the Waterloo campus by the spring of 2018. This small-scale version of the centralized electricity system will allow the university to harness renewable energy sources and implement cogeneration for electricity, heating and cooling.

To date, the initial phase of the LEEP program has reduced the university’s current energy consumption by approximately 40 per cent.

The LEEP program also contributed to a 35 per cent reduction in Laurier’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and helps divert more than 60 per cent of the university’s waste from landfills each year through a centralized waste management program.

Claire Bennett, manager of Laurier’s Sustainability Office, will accept the award on behalf of the university during a luncheon with the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray and the other 2016 MAFEE award recipients

“Our group is very proud and energized by our progressive approach and direction; it is directly preparing us for existing and future challenges,” says Bennett. “The icing on the cake is being recognized on such a scale by the MOECC.”

Sustainable Waterloo Region, the Chamber of Commerce Greater Kitchener-Waterloo, and the Princeton Review have also recognized Laurier for its environmental and sustainability initiatives.

Visit wlu.ca/sustainability for more information about sustainability at Laurier.

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