The Darryl J. King Student Life Centre at King’s University College in London, Ont., has received a LEED Silver designation. Photo courtesy of King’s University College

King’s puts another green notch in its belt

  • June 21, 2015

King’s University College has always been green, said principal David Sylvester, not just in its school colours but also in practice.

The Darryl J. King Student Life Centre’s LEED Silver designation is just the latest of King’s many environmental achievements on campus.

Sylvester said that since 2009, when the university was holding consultations for the construction of the student centre, there had always been a strong push toward making a statement of the values that the King’s community strives to uphold.

“I think students, faculty and staff all have a raised awareness of what it means in this day and age to be environmentally aware and responsible,” said Sylvester. “We’re a Catholic university and it goes right back to stewardship of creation.”

The student centre received the LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certification during King’s Earth Week. The certification declares the student centre has met all proper standards and criteria as a sustainable, green building.

To achieve a LEED certification, a building project must fulfill specific prerequisites that consider environmentally conscious practices, such as sustainable building materials, waste management, building maintenance and more.

“Basically, with LEEDs, they’re looking at what things you are looking to use as building materials, things like paint and adhesive... are they the most environmentally friendly products that you can use,” said Chris MacNeil, director of the physical plant at King’s.

MacNeil said his predecessor, Mike Tattersall, who won the 2014 Western Green Award, was instrumental in the student centre’s building project. MacNeil plans to continue Tattersall’s work by applying the same practices throughout the rest of the campus.

“In our existing buildings, it wouldn’t apply as a LEEDs building, but we can take some of the things we are applying in our LEEDS building and use those in other areas of the campus, like the green cleaning program,” he said.

MacNeil said the university is also working on other campus-wide eco-projects, such as the new recycling project with TerraCycle to reduce waste by recycling old cigarette butts, batteries, pens and more. The university is also looking at a comprehensive composting program and also to expand the community garden on campus.

“We’re always exploring new ways we can keep our commitment and move our commitment forward,” said Sylvester. “Part of it is educational and part of it is real action that we do on campus.”

Sylvester said the King’s community is very much looking forward to getting its hands on Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment (released June 18). Sylvester hopes to work on hosting a conference at the university and take up a theological discussion about the document in the community.

“It’s really nice that the Pope is showing such real leadership on this and we’re all anxious to take a look at what he has to say,” said Sylvester.

“It’s one of the most pressing concerns. We’re in challenging times right now.”

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