Carbon Neutrality for the College of Sherbrooke – Information

Initially set for 2030, UdeS will be carbon neutral this year.
Photo: Michel Caron – UdeS

The climate emergency has strongly fueled the will to act of the University of Sherbrooke, which announces that it will achieve carbon neutrality this year, 8 years earlier than expected.

The announcement was made in the presence of David Suzuki, a global figure in promoting the environment and science, during the day the EDU, andn green and against climate changeinstitutional event held at the Health Campus on June 16th.

The UdeS announcement was made in the media presence on June 16 at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.  Photo: Mathieu Lanthier - UdeS
The UdeS announcement was made in the media presence on June 16 at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Photo: Mathieu Lanthier – UdeS

Carbon neutrality is one of the most powerful levers to limit global warming to less than 2°C. That’s why UdeS has been expanding its actions for 20 years to minimize its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy consumption.

Being carbon neutral means having zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To achieve this, UdeS reduced as many GHGs as possible at source. The remainder was offset by the purchase of certified carbon credits.

Carbon neutrality was at the heart of its Sustainable Development Plan 2018-2022with an initial goal set for 2030. However, the UdeS has been working hard in recent years, which allows for significant progress in achieving its goal:

Denyse Rémillard, vice-chancellor and vice-chancellor for administration and sustainable development, during the press conference Photo: Mathieu Lanthier - UdeS
Vice-Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor for Administration and Sustainable Development, Denyse Rémillard, during the press conference.
Photo: Mathieu Lanthier – UdeS

The remarkable performance of our energy efficiency program and the 64% reduction in our GHG emissions over the last 20 years allow us to cross the threshold of carbon neutrality today. This concrete commitment once again illustrates the university’s leadership in terms of sustainable development.

Denyse Rémillard, Deputy Dean and Vice-Chancellor for Administration and Sustainable Development

Scientist and ardent environmentalist David Suzuki attended the press conference as a guest Photo: Mathieu Lanthier - UdeS
Scientist and environmental advocate David Suzuki attended the press conference as a guest.
Photo: Mathieu Lanthier – UdeS

In calculating its carbon neutrality, the University took into account GHG emissions over which it has direct control, such as the amount of gas and fuel oil burned to heat its facilities. The so-called indirect GHG emissions were also considered, for example, the steam that the institution buys and imports to supply the Health Campus.

Do more by polluting less

In 20 years, the University of Sherbrooke’s GHG emissions exceeded 16,373 tons of COtwo per year to 5,864 tons of COtwo for the period 2020-2021.

Being able to reduce its GHG emissions by 64% in 20 years is a tour de force for an institution that has experienced such strong growth. In fact, since 2002, the UdeS housing stock has increased by 118% and its student population has increased by 66%.

But how can a university that has continued to grow at breakneck speed achieve carbon neutrality?

Energy efficiency is one of the main priorities of the UdeS in terms of sustainable development. Photo: Michel Caron - UdeS
Energy efficiency is one of the main priorities of UdeS in terms of sustainable development.
Photo: Michel Caron – UdeS

In recent years, the University has adopted a carbon neutrality strategy for 2030 and has implemented a whole series of measures to reduce its GHG emissions as much as possible.

These include major investment projects aimed at optimizing the energy efficiency of its facilities and modernizing existing equipment, as well as the use of new renewable energy sources. For example, she did:

  • The purchase of renewable natural gas (biogas)
  • The installation of heat pumps in the building that houses the Rectory and the main library of the Main Campus
  • The installation of a geothermal system at the Escola de Música and the complete elimination of steam for heating in favor of hydroelectricity
  • Complete renovation of the student life pavilion
  • The addition of an electric boiler to the Z5 pavilion of the Campus da Saúde
  • The modernization of heating in student residences on the Main Campus
Thanks to the implementation of numerous initiatives in 2002-2003, UdeS drastically reduced its greenhouse gas emissions curve. Photo: UdeS
Thanks to the implementation of numerous initiatives in 2002-2003, UdeS drastically reduced its greenhouse gas emissions curve.
Photo: UdeS

Sustained efforts to reduce GHG emissions affect all campuses.

don’t leave anything to chance

The threat of climate change is very real. Therefore, the measures adopted to minimize the impacts must be rigorous and considered.

Thus, for net GHG emissions that cannot be reduced or eliminated at source, UdeS has adopted a carbon offset approach. For the period 2020-2021, it has offset 50% of its issuances by purchasing certified bonds used to finance GHG reduction projects here and in other parts of the world. Today, it commits to compensating them 100% starting in the fall of 2022 for the 2021-2022 budget year and beyond.

By acquiring certified carbon credits, UdeS contributes to the realization of sustainable development projects here and in other parts of the world.  Photo: Michel Caron - UdeS
By acquiring certified carbon credits, UdeS contributes to the realization of sustainable development projects here and in other parts of the world.
Photo: Michel Caron – UdeS

It is important to remember that the purchase of carbon credits remains the last resort of UdeS, whose actions are focused on reducing its GHGs. In addition, the remuneration units it acquires allow the realization of promising sustainable development projects here and abroad.

The University has a local partnership with ECOTIERRA and also acquires credits certified by the United Nations (UN). The institution also invited students from its master’s program in the environment to carry out an inventory of the world’s best practices in terms of remuneration. This will allow him to be exemplary in that sense.

For the future, redouble our efforts against the crisis

Mr.  Suzuki participated in the UdeS press conference, which followed a university session and a conference on climate change given by the latter Photo: Mathieu Lanthier - UdeS
Mr. Suzuki attended the UdeS press conference, which followed a university session, as well as a conference on climate change given by the university.
Photo: Mathieu Lanthier – UdeS

the clothes of the day The UdeS, in green and against change is the perfect example of the University’s leadership in sustainable development. It is worth remembering that in 2019, it mobilized Quebec universities to sign the climate emergency declaration.

The June 16 unifying event was marked, in particular, by the awarding of an honorary doctorate to Canadian geneticist and zoologist David Suzuki and by the holding of a lecture by the latter. In addition, the press conference that followed gave us a preview of UdeS’s upcoming commitments in the fight against climate change.

For the dean, the institution has every intention of continuing to inspire change through its excellent practices, bold ideas and deeply human values:

In his speech, the dean said he was full of hope, because there are solutions.
In his speech, the dean said he was full of hope, because there are solutions.

Photo: Mathieu Lanthier – UdeS

Universities are key actors in the fight against climate change, both for the exemplary nature of their practices and for the expertise and solutions they can offer society. UdeS intends to position itself in the coming years as a collaborator and decisive partner in the implementation of this climate transition.

Pierre Cossette, dean

Please note that the UdeS strategic plan, which will be unveiled next fall, will be an important place for climate issues.

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