Sustainability brings Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to campus for policy announcement

by | Oct 31, 2018 | Canadian News, News

Kit Kolbegger
Senior Reporter
Kaitlyn Kack
Sports Reporter

Humber College intends on reducing its energy use by as much as 50 per cent by 2034.

The plans for that reduction are laid out in Humber’s Integrated Energy Master Plan, which also aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent.

Spencer Wood, the director of Facilities Management, said big changes to North campus are lined up for the future.

“The North campus is heated by a steam system,” he said. “So, we have big steam boilers, and they send steam out to the buildings to heat them.”

Wood said because the water has to reach such a high temperature for the system to work, it wasn’t particularly efficient/

“We want to take that out and we want to put in a hot water system. It’s a much lower temperature so it’s a lot more efficient than the steam system,” he said.

Wood also said the Centre for Technology Innovation, which is nearing completion, is being built to LEED-Platinum standards.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, rates buildings across a variety of criteria, including building materials, water efficiency, and whether the building uses green methods for cleaning.

Wood also hinted changes were coming to the Lakeshore campus’s AB building.

“We’re just getting into that project and how we’re going to make that environmentally sustainable,” he said,

In a visit to Humber’s North campus on Oct. 23, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Humber has shown leadership around issues of sustainability and climate change.

“It is a place that has shown real leadership on not just learning about climate change, but solving the challenges that are related to it,” he said.

Trudeau said he knew from speaking with students across the country that climate change was an important issue to them.

“It is very clear that there is an imperative to act, for real, right now,” he said.

During his visit, Trudeau announced a plan to give carbon tax rebates to families while imposing penalties on provinces that have not fallen in line with the federal climate change policy.

Trudeau said a carbon tax was the best way to halt climate change as it will no longer be free to pollute.

“We know, and it’s basic economics, that if you start putting a price on something you don’t want, people will look at ways of not having to pay that price,” he said.

Professor Kerry Johnston, the program manager for Sustainable Energy and Building Technology, said that the charges will work out to an extra 4.4 cents a litre for gas in 2019, rising to 11 cents per litre by 2022.

 Trudeau said rebates for families will help them through the initial difficulties they may face as products like gasoline get a price hike.

“It’s not enough to create a cleaner economy. We have to make sure that regular Canadians can afford it,” he said.

Trudeau said in Ontario, a family of four would receive $307 with their next tax return. The same family would receive $718 in 2022.

“Eight in 10 Ontario families will get back more than they pay directly,” he said.

However, Johnston said that with the rebates, the plan may not provide enough motivation for individuals to change their behaviour.

“Trudeau suggested that putting a price on carbon will encourage taxpayers to do fewer carbon intensive activities … but when you give people more money back than they paid, what incentive is there to change behaviour?” Johnston wrote in an email.

“Really poor plan.”

— with files from Jacob Phillips