Wextra: A break down of what colleges and universities in Halifax are doing for the environment.

Nova Scotia Community College:
What you pack in, you pack out at the Dartmouth Waterfront campus of NSCC. There are no garbage cans in the classrooms just a recycling container. There is a reason for this. With a new school progressive ideas follow. Two students at the campus, Jennifer Hynick and Tanya Massey, both licensed practical nursing students, are active members of the environmental committee who focus on awareness/education and keeping the school clean. Both staff and students advocate for everyone in the school to take ownership of their junk and sort it accordingly. They went as far as having a garbage sorting session so students could see exactly what went where during waste reduction week last October.

Nova Scotia College of Art & Design:
Third and fourth year industrial design students at NSCAD want to make the task of composting more portable and more aesthetically pleasing. Fourth year students have designed the “prog frog,” prog standing for Paper, Recyclables, Organics and Garbage. Their friendly frog-faced cans won the RRFB’s Mobius Environmental Award for Waste Reduction in 2008. School boards and HRM have expressed interest but a big challenge is finding a manufacturer, locally, to produce these cans. Another design, the {calm} post bin makes composting look chic. Imagine something that looks like an Apple computer tower on legs with a swing arm that mimics high-end baby carriers. The handle sits away from the carrier and the top locks airtight. No raunchy smells or pesky fruit flies. Functional can be fun.

Dalhousie University
Michael Murphy, manager of environmental services at Dal notes that the school was one of the pioneers of enforcing the no scent policy, dating back to 1995. In 2007 the university decided it was time for an overhaul on the types of cleaners used. Industry responded and Dal’s transition to using kinder, gentler green cleaning products saw them awarded with the EcoLogo Environmental Stewardship Award recognizing organizations for their commitment to environmental protection through green purchasing, a first for a school in North America. Murphy notes that one of the top Canadian-made cleaners, Biomor’s EP64 Multi-Use Cleaner has been a good choice for the school. A scent-free, good bacteria-based product Murphy notes this cleaner has gotten rid of smells in locker rooms and bathrooms that have been present for years.

Saint Mary’s University
Professor Jeremy Lundholm is testing, along with his biology students ways to make roof top space functional. He says green roofs are the way to go as they “modulate the energy” from the sun, they last longer and they retain water thanks to the hardy plants that are drawing in the moisture instead of it running off. In Germany green roofs are popular because bare surfaces are considered taxable ones, so planting a garden reduces tax bills by reducing the amount of water is flowing into sewage systems. Benefits also involve evaporation and transpiration translates to a cooler rooftop for home dwellers. The new atrium at SMU is having a green wall installed for the sake of air quality and Lundholm noted a number of campuses, such as NSCAD and NSCC integrating the garden concept into their design schemes.

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