Green by Association

Your HQ for Green Action @ BCITSA

Green by Association

The BCIT Student Association is committed to maximizing student engagement in “green” behaviour on all campuses. If you are a BCIT student you are therefore “Green by Association”.

This page is dedicated to promoting what our student leaders are working on and collecting input from you – the student-at-large. This is the place for you to find out:

  • What action is taking place that you want to brag about and bring awareness to, like the amazing restoration of trout habitat in Guichon Creek.
  • Express where our green action is falling behind, and suggest what we should add to our list of green goals. (Feel free to compare us with what is happening at say – UBC, SFU, Kwantlen, Oxford, Harvard…)
  • Rally the troops – instigate a new project, resuscitate a neglected one, or find like-minded Green Actioneers with whom you can join forces (check out the BCITSA student club Sustainability Initiative!)

Contribute updates to this page, by emailing our resident Green By Association guru – Ian Morton imorton@bcitsa.ca

For more information about sustainability at BCIT visit: http://www.bcit.ca/sustainability/

To see what staff and faculty are up to, please visit: http://commons.bcit.ca/greenteam/ 

Guichon Creek Salmon Release 2016

Along with the arrival of Spring 2016, BCITSA daycare kids joined forces with local legend Mark Angelo (the chair emeritus of the Rivers Institute) to release over 15, 000 thousand juvenile salmon into that most beloved of babbling brooks  – Guichon Creek. It was a great day, demonstrating how far creek restoration has come in recent decades – and to such a young, impressionable group aka The Future of our Planet.

“This creek was severely damaged a few decades ago. It could not sustain any fish, but there’s been a real effort to bring it back,” said Mark. “That we can release salmon today, back into this creek, I think that highlights the fact that we can, in fact, restore a waterway if there’s a will.”

“Back in the 70’s the water quality was terrible,” he said. “It couldn’t sustain any fish. Many of the shrubs and the forest that you now see beside the creek did not exist back then.”

Since then, efforts have been made to restore the vegetation and about 15 years ago, a trout fishery was reintroduced to the creek. From that point on the place has burst into life. Sure only one or two per cent of the just released salmon will survive, but not to worry.  Mark has high hopes that in four years, the daycare kids will be able to return to Guichon Creek to see those mature salmon returning to spawn.

” To see, in effect, tiny people releasing tiny salmon, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

The creek at BCIT is only one of a few good stories overseen by the Rivers Institute.  “We’ve had large numbers of salmon right up the Grandview Highway”, says Mark. “Right in the heart of Vancouver. That’s the first time that’s occurred in 80 years.”

In tandem with this, on Earth Day (April 20) watch for an invasive plant removal event on the banks of the Guichon Creek. It’s exactly the kind of extra love the creek needs to improve fish habitat and insure the creek has a long life.  See the accompanying poster produced by BCIT’s Green Team in partnership with BCITSA’s Sustainability Initiative Club.

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Join your fellow BCIT community in celebrating Earth Day on April 20th.

Click the poster for more details!

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News

The student club Sustainability Initiative enjoyed a very successful first year of existence. They held zero waste events at September Orientation and in January, featuring a sorting challenge game in which students and staff separated recyclables from garbage bins. One of our smellier but illuminating events – on average only about 10% of what we find in BCIT garbage bins is actual garbage. The Zero Waste Event will hopefully come back in the upcoming school year – and shed even more light on BCIT’s sustainable practices. The idea is also to promote a sometimes “secret” composting program and zero waste ideals, as well as to inspire individual action.

Zero Waste Event 2015

The results of the Sustainability Initiative’s garbage sort are as follows:

Garbage Material Sorted Percent of Total Garbage Sorted

Organics: 9.8 lbs. 71 %

Recyclables: 1.8 lbs. 13 %

Paper: 0.8 lbs. 6 %

Refundables: 0.6 lbs. 4 %

Waste: 0.9 lbs. 6 %

Total Sorted: 13.9 lbs. 100%

In Summary

Three garbage cans were sorted with organic material making up the bulk of the trash by weight at a whopping 71%. Next was recyclables at a substantial 13%. Waste and paper each made up approximately 6% of the material, while refundable containers made up the lowest percent of the garbage by weight at 4%.

With Metro Vancouver’s garbage only allowing 25% of waste to be organics, BCIT has much room for improvement. Although the organic material at BCIT does include compostable food wrappers and other paper-based products, food scraps do appear to contribute considerably to the weight of garbage.

Only a mere 6% of material that was sorted was actually waste that belonged in the garbage cans (non-recyclable, non-compostable, non-paper, non-refundable). This is the most important finding of this experiment.

Waste destined to landfills and incinerators ultimately pollute our land, water, and air. For an educational institute that prides itself on innovation and efficiency, we are falling short on our solid waste program. As such, there is a great opportunity for large-scale improvements on waste management at BCIT. The Sustainability Initiative sees opportunities for more effective use of all sorting bins through improved access to non-waste receptacles rather than ease of access to waste cans that are almost always most convenient. Furthermore, the Sustainability Initiative supports working towards reduced waste production as a primary objective and priority.

Further research into which specific items make up the bulk of garbage at BCIT would make it much easier to target essential areas for reduction, although it is suspected that paper coffee cups might be a good place to start.

zero waste 2015

Carbon Neutral Action Report – 2014

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At the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), our commitment to sustainability encompasses everything from advancing the state of practice through education and research, to improving the efficiency of campus operations, to engaging the community across the institute in green initiatives.

Read the Full Report Here

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Living Labs

BCIT Building Front_B&W

If you hang out with some of the more hardcore greenfolk, you might be asking yourself, “What do they mean by a Living Lab? Sounds like something I’d find in my fridge.”

Actually it’s a very cool concept and one of the more pride-inducing bragging rights we have here at the ol’ Institute. Here’s the lowdown on the Living Lab.

Let’s just call it an initiative that brings about hands-on learning for students. The kicker is you use the campus as your petri dish AND end up solving real world (a.k.a. sustainability) challenges. All BCIT campuses are on board – Downtown, Marine, Annacis Island, Aerospace and Burnaby. It is Collaborative with a capital C. Here’s more:

Living Labs:

*Encourage you to develop skills by giving you access to campus infrastructure and information. It’s kind of like a Freedom of Information Act right on your academic doorstep!
* Welcome you to grab leading edge technologies and equipment by the horn to reach your project goal;
And…
Seize the day by creating, designing and implementing solutions that advance the state of everyday practice.

Background

The term was used first at BCIT in 1997 through a collaboration with SFU aimed at improving the relationship between people and their living and working environments. The concept of transforming BCIT’s campuses into living laboratories of sustainability was formerly adopted by the Institute in 2007.

There are too many projects to list but here is a cross-section of what is presently underway.


Smart Microgrid Program

(explores multiple aspects of power transmission, power generation, and measurement.)

This is the program that has developed the Energy Oasis in Parking Lot 7 in Burnaby. With partners like Facilities and Campus Development and the School of Energy, You will have spied the photovoltaic panels and two electric car charging stations. The program is also tackling Environmental Controls research, Domestic Hot Water Central Control Systems and Wind Turbines.

Go to: http://www.bcit.ca/microgrid/

Factor Four

This is a multi-building project designed to explore techniques for reducing energy and materials consumption by 75%. The project is led by the School of Construction & Environment.

Go to: http://commons.bcit.ca/factorfour/ to find out more about amazing projects called Eco Streets, the AFRESH Home, the Dust Extraction System and NE6 Condensing Boilers. Partners here include the Interior Design Program and GAIT.


CEER

The Centre for Energy Education and Research (CEER) uses a state-of the-art power generation facility to explore energy production, distribution and management. The project is led by the School of Energy. They are doing work in High Voltage Monitoring, developing a Combined Lab and Operational Boiler Facility, a Geo-Thermal System Observation Window and a Sub-Station Observation Window. Go to: http://www.bcit.ca/energy/research/ceer.shtml.


 Additional Living Lab Projects

If you like what you hear, do a simple search for more info on the listed projects below still underway.

Fish Habitat/Storm Drainage Renewal (help from River’s Institute)

Elevated Green Roof Research Platform (Centre for Architectural Ecology)

Porous Pavement Testing Installation (Civil Engineering Program)

Assembly Structures for Building Performance

Aerial Imagery of Burnaby Campus Joint Project (Geo-Matics Lab)

Green Roof Research Modules (Centre for Architectural Ecology)

Gateway Geo-Thermal System Observation Window (Schools of Energy and Construction and the Environment)

 

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NASA Discovers Computer Heaven on Pandora

Greek mythology tells us that some time ago, Pandora’s Box released a perfect storm of Evil into the world. Not so, on Vancouver’s Pandora Street.   Quite the contrary – this little street on the east side is unleashing some major Good.

Take a spin down to Powell and Victoria and discover the home of Free Geek Ethical Computer Recycling (aka Computer Heaven).  We give these guys a big thumbs up.  A couple of years back BCITSA delivered sixteen computers to the shop at 1820 Pandora and took a good look around the premises.

You can find it at http://freegeekvancouver.org/

In a nutshell though:

  • They take all computer equipment, free of charge, working or not, in any condition.
  • The equipment goes directly into volunteer programs. Right there in the shop volunteers get a hands-on experience identifying computer parts. And in something called The Adoption Program, volunteers donate 24 hours of their time and receive a free computer. No experience is required!
  • Reusable hardware furnishes computers for volunteers and non-profit organizations.
  • It’s also a place to buy perfectly good second hand equipment.   They have quite the menus. You need cables? They have everything from USB, Firewire, audio, video, serial to SCSI. Also the perfect spot to find that old and obscure stuff you’ve been scouring the planet for.

 World Computer Exchange

(WCE) is an international organization which takes used laptops and computers, wipes the hard drives, loads them full of educational software and then ships them to developing countries.

A year ago, BCIT became the largest,and first west coast chapter of the WCE. BCITSA’s student club Enactus initiated the project while Marketing Management and Operations Management students helped develop an external marketing campaign, and logistics plan.

BCITSA has donated over twenty hard drives to the cause.

 

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Carbon Neutral Action Report – 2013

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In the classroom, with its research, or through its operations—the British Columbia Institute of Technology is well-known for transforming innovative ideas into real results. As a strong supporter of the province’s mission to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the institute has applied this results-driven approach to its sustainability practices.

Download the Full Report Here

For more information about sustainability at BCIT visit: http://www.bcit.ca/sustainability/

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