Concordia University launches plan to go carbon neutral by 2040
Concordia University has launched a plan it hopes will make it a global leader in climate action.
The university's Plan/Net Zero aims to make all of its 80 buildings carbon-neutral in under 15 years, with the first stage of the pilot project set to launch on Monday.
"This a big step in honouring a commitment that the university made a couple of years ago to reach carbon neutrality by 2040," said Concordia University President Graham Carr.
Carr said 40 per cent of the university's gas emissions come from the 80 buildings in downtown Montreal and at the Loyola campus in Montreal's Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (NDG) neighbourhood.
The large-scale pilot project is designed to put a plan in place to cut emissions for a wide variety of infrastructure and learn as the project develops, Carr said. The goal, he added, is to come up with a global plan that can be used across the university.
The challenge is finding solutions for the 80 buildings that were built over a 150-year span.
"They cover just about every architectural period of Montreal's history, so there's no single solution for building infrastructure that's as diverse as that," said Carr.
The university wants an integrated carbon-neutral system for energy capture, storage and transition into the surrounding neighbourhoods.
Carr said Concordia's Sir George William campus in the heart of Montreal makes the project exciting for other organizations, municipalities or businesses that want to cut emissions within a city.
"We don't see this as a competition," said Carr. "If we can bring all of those actors together, I think the capacity to innovate is going to rise out of this exponentially."
Many governments and organizations have set climate targets in recent years. Carr said Concordia hopes to fill the gap between target setting and implementing a plan.
"There's a gap between target-setting and understanding how to execute," he said.
"We're not saying we have the answer to learn how to execute, but we want to create the conditions where different sectors can come together and begin that process of learning and working together and then being able to work forward based on real evidence-based solutions."