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Report Card 2011

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McMaster University
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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McMaster University

School details:

  Grade higher than last year


Endowment: $522 million as of March 31, 2010

Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: No

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


Please note: Data was collected in summer 2010 and may no longer be current.


Data compiled from survey responses, when available, and from independent research, when needed. For more information on data collection and evaluation, please see the  Methodology section.

Overall grade  
A new policy at McMaster emphasizes sustainability across seven different focus areas. The Sustainability Steering Committee has worked on initiatives including the completion of a campus-wide emissions audit and the introduction of two pilot composting programs. The university also employs a full-time sustainability manager. Energy Star-qualified products, environmentally preferable paper products, and EPEAT-certified computers and electronics are purchased regularly.
McMaster will release a climate action plan in fall 2010 outlining steps the university will take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Building energy consumption has decreased since 2005 due to the implementation of energy-saving measures such as HVAC system upgrades, energy management systems, and efficient lighting. A solar thermal heating system generates renewable energy on campus.
Hospitality services purchases fair trade coffee and organic grains, fruit, and confectioneries. Biodegradable to-go containers and cutlery are available in some dining locations. The university recycles electronics in addition to traditional materials and composts or mulches all yard waste.
The university mandates that new construction projects meet LEED Silver certification standards at a minimum. There are three LEED-certified buildings on campus, and three buildings that meet LEED certification criteria and are in the process of being certified. Water consumption has fallen by 29 percent since 2005 through the installation of technologies such as low-flow water fixtures, dual-flush toilets, and rainwater harvesting.
MacGreen is an organization within the student government that provides resources and holds events related to alternative transportation, waste reduction, and environmental education, among other issues. The MacEarth eco-reps program educates students about green living habits.
The university fleet includes 11 hybrids, 11 electric vehicles, and 43 vehicles that run on E85 ethanol or higher. Designated parking spaces and parking vouchers are offered to carpoolers. Students have free access to the local public transportation system and receive an 82 percent discount on regional transit passes. Discounted bike-purchasing and car-sharing programs help promote the use of sustainable modes of transportation. The recent Clean Air Commute competition reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than five tons.
The university makes a list of external managers available at the investment office to the general public per open records law. The university does make its shareholder voting record public.
The university aims to optimize investment returns and does not invest the endowment in on-campus sustainability projects, renewable energy funds, or community development loan funds.
The university asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting based on established university policies.
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