Greenovations to spruce up Ghetto houses

Destinations and AMS sustainability office team up to reduce students’ ecological footprints

Sustainability co-ordinator Maryam Adrangi (centre), says the project should generate $6,000 to $7,000 to be used to retrofit Ghetto houses to make them more eco-friendly.
Sustainability co-ordinator Maryam Adrangi (centre), says the project should generate $6,000 to $7,000 to be used to retrofit Ghetto houses to make them more eco-friendly.

The AMS Sustainability Office is teaming up with Destinations and the Living Energy Lab to help promote sustainable housing throughout the student ghetto through a new Greenovations project.

The Living Energy Lab is a project run by the Faculty of Applied Science that retrofits student houses, turning them into living laboratories for studying energy conservation.

Destinations will donate one per cent of the cost of each ticket on Tricolour Express, the student-run discount bus service, sold to the Sustainability Office in a lump sum—approximately $6,000 to $7,000, based on last year’s figures.

With guidance from the Living Energy Lab, the funds the office receives from Destinations will go toward low-cost retrofits. This will include replacing standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs and purchasing energy-efficient appliances. Another portion of the funds will go to future Greenovations campaigns.

Maryam Adrangi, AMS sustainability office co-ordinator, said joining forces with other campus organizations allowed her to broaden the project’s scope.

“We wanted a cohesive project and teaming up with Living Energy and Destinations gave us this opportunity,” she said. “We decided to join together to become a big powerhouse of energy conservation.”

Adrangi said the Sustainability Office was interested in donating a portion of the Tricolour Express’ profits to a company that was making green efficiency efforts.

“But after thinking about it, we didn’t want to give the money to an external company. There were too many things we couldn’t know about, like where the money was actually going,” Adrangi said. “So we thought about how we could keep the project on campus to benefit the students. This is how we made the transition to student houses.”

The Sustainability Office will introduce the project in 10 student houses in order to shrink the ecological footprint Queen’s students are leaving on campus.

Students filled out applications to be a part of the Greenovations project during the Frosh Week sidewalk sale. Thirty households applied to participate, and 10 houses will be selected later this week.

Adrangi said she hopes the project will promote both the environmental and financial benefits of going green.

“We are going to make minor changes in the houses which will decrease energy bills, shrink the houses’ ecological footprint, while showing everyone how simple it really is,” Adrangi said.

Old student houses often incur expensive utility bills on a monthly basis, but the Sustainability Office is confident these new practices will reduce costs. Adrangi said the community has been united with its commitment to the environment. “I’m really optimistic about this big kick-off project for the Sustainability Office because it brings together so many groups,” she said. “This is bettering student life. This is for the students.”

Alvin Tedjo, AMS retail services director, said he liked the idea of supporting a Queen’s-based initiative.

“The idea of a carbon-offset initiative had been given to us by a reforesting group who were proposing we give them money to compensate for the pollution our buses create,” he said. “We liked the idea, but we didn’t want to go external, so we decided to support the Sustainability [Office] with their initiative.” Savi Sanghara, the Living Energy Lab co-ordinator and Sci ’08, said despite their progress, the lab needed a way to market their ideas to the student population. He said combining efforts with the Sustainability Office on their Greenovations project seemed like the best way to bridge this gap.

“The AMS is more focused on outreach, while the Living Energy Lab is more technology based,” he said. “Teaming up with the AMS benefits us both and allows us to reach a broader scale of people.”

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