Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 69.54
Liaison Mike Versteege
Submission Date June 30, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Alberta
EN-5: Outreach Campaign

Status Score Responsible Party
4.00 / 4.00 Monica M. Chahal
Program Lead
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution held at least one sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at students and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability? :

Has the institution held at least one sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at employees and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability?:

Name of the campaign:
Earth Hour

A brief description of the campaign, including how students and/or employees were engaged:


Earth Hour is a global event organized by WWF (World Wildlife Fund). It is held each year on the last Saturday of March. The university's celebration of Earth Hour includes a variety of competitions and programs that support this global movement. Examples of the outreach programming for Earth Hour 2017 are:

One Hour No Power: Campus Challenge

A call for participation is sent province-wide to broaden the reach of this event. Students, staff and faculty at all participating institutions are encouraged to visit a common website and pledge to participate in Earth Hour 2016. The school with the largest number of pledges (proportional to school population) will win the competition, and individual participants will be entered to win prizes supplied by their own institution.

Darkest Tower Lister Residence Challenge:

The university's largest residence complex houses nearly 1,600 students in four towers. The Office of Sustainability collaborated with Residence Services for a competition held within Lister Residence to encourage residents to reduce their electricity consumption. The Darkest Tower Challenge measured electricity use for a three-week period and gave prizes to the tower with the greatest reduction in electricity consumption per capita.

Earth Hour Race

On March 25, 2017, MacEwan University, the Northern Alberta Institute for Technology (NAIT) and the University of Alberta collaborated to host this year’s Earth Hour Race between the three campuses. Intended to encourage participation in Earth Hour and to make learning about sustainability fun, this Amazing Race-style event challenges participants to complete a variety of sustainability-related challenges in order to win top prizes.

Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering, Main Quad Go Dark,

As a symbol of campus commitment, all decorative lighting in the university’s Main Quad and all lights in the Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering were turned off, creating a visible statement that the university is committed to sustainable energy initiatives and raising awareness of them.

A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign:

One Hour No Power: Campus Challenge

In 2017, 11 post-secondary institutions from across Alberta participated in this friendly competition. Coordinated by the University of Alberta, the campus challenge got pledges from 1, 433 students and staff from across the province. 158 of the total 482 participants from the University of Alberta completed an evaluation after Earth Hour (higher than in 2016); 80% of respondents who pledged to participate in Earth Hour followed through with their commitment. In addition, most respondents stated that they learned about vampire energy and that unplugging devices and non-essential items reduces energy consumption. Most respondents (69%) reported increasing their understanding of how personal choices can have a meaningful impact on sustainability.

Darkest Tower Lister Residence Challenge:

This challenge ran from March 3 to March 20, 2017, with the final prize delivered on March 25, in anticipation of Earth Hour. This is a friendly competition between all towers in Lister to see which tower and which residents reduce their electricity consumption the most over the competition period. Kelsey Tower was the winner for 2017. All the towers cumulatively saved 8823.5 kWh compared to baseline, a 4.9% reduction. The towers avoided 6.2 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent GHGs. Highlights from survey responses include: "It encouraged the whole tower to work together, and built community around sustainability” and “I enjoyed that it induced environmental awareness through friendly competition!”

Earth Hour Race

In Earth Hour Race 2017, 28 teams (56 people) competed to see who could take home top prizes courtesy of Ernest’s, Pogo CarShare, MacEwan’s Sport and Wellness Centre, and the University of Alberta’s Office of Sustainability. MacEwan University teams came in first and second, while University of Alberta teams took third place. There was an increase in post-secondary institutions and participant participation from 2016 to 2017. Most evaluation respondents (84%) stated that they increased their awareness of Earth Hour, the World Wildlife Fund, and sustainability initiatives at the respective post-secondary institutions; 77% of respondents stated that, as a result of the Earth Hour Race, they are now better informed on how personal choices can have a meaningful impact on energy consumption.

The website URL where information about the campaign is available:
Name of the campaign (2nd campaign):
Shut the Sash

A brief description of the campaign, including how students and/or employees were engaged (2nd campaign):


The goal of this project is to promote the safety, comfort, and sustainability benefits of shutting the sash on laboratory fume hoods. Shutting sashes will reduce CO2 emissions, conserve energy, and save money for the university. The Office of Sustainability partnered with Environment, Health & Safety, Energy Management and Sustainable Operations, and Aqua Air to deliver a four-week Shut the Sash campaign for 22 fume hoods in the Katz Building in October 2016.

A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign (2nd campaign):

As a result, average fume hood sash height decreased by 52% over baseline, saving an estimated 1,333 kWh/year and 937 kg CO2e/year.

The website URL where information about the campaign is available (2nd campaign):

A brief description of other sustainability-related outreach campaigns, including measured positive impacts:


The North American Freezer Challenge is being organized and delivered by My Green Lab and the International Institute for Sustainable Labs (I2SL) from January to May 2017. It’s a competition between North American laboratories to optimize sustainability in freezer management. Since launching in September 2016, seven labs have applied for $16,500 in funding; six labs have received $13,000 in funding, 1 lab is in the process of finalizing an application for $3,500 in funding. Two applicants replaced their 15+-year-old freezers with TSX600 models, consequently reducing their ULT plug load by about 75%. Three applicants have purchased new TSX600 units; this has reduced plug load requirements by 9,527 kWh/year because these units are 50% more efficient than a comparable, conventional Fisher 900 series unit. One applicant has purchased a new TSX400 unit, reducing plug load requirements by an additional 3,504 kWh/year since this unit is 50% more efficient than the comparable unit.


The Green Spaces certification program helps office spaces, labs, events and residences integrate sustainable practices into work and living spaces at the University of Alberta. Participants earn a bronze, silver or gold certification for their space. There are currently 472 certified spaces (22 offices, 51 labs, 184 events, 203 residences, and 12 vendors).

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Maja Osmanagic, Project Planner - Engagement
University of Alberta's Office of Sustainability
P: 780 248-1916 | maja.osmanagic@ualberta.ca,

Kayleigh Wiebe, Project Planner - Engagement
University of Alberta's Office of Sustainability
P: 780.492.6472 | C: .780.953.7318 | kayleigh.wiebe@ualberta.ca

Kurt Borth - Special Projects Planner
University of Alberta's Office of Sustainability
P: 780-492-9289 | F: 780.492.8453 | borth@ualberta.ca

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.