Sustainable Operations

Nx Deep Energy RetrofitBarrett Centre for Technology InnovationHumber College bus loop

All campus development and operations begin by incorporating sustainability into the design and building process and connecting students to real-world learning opportunities. In all areas of our operations, we will prioritize the health of our people and the nature around us through collaborative and data driven decision making.

Natural Environment

Climate Action
Sustainable Cities and Communities

At Humber, we are stewards of the natural environment. We collaborate with campus partners to improve the health and resilience of the natural areas surrounding the College.


Stewardship of the Land

Stewardship of the natural environment and the regional biodiversity in which our campuses are located. We collaborate to protect and improve the health and resilience of these areas, which will improve the quality of campus and community life now and for future generations.

Campus Landscaping

Humber Facilities Management incorporates several practices to maintain campus grounds in sustainable ways. These include: 

  • Native plant species are favoured in landscaping
  • Pesticide-free products are selected to prevent toxins from leaching into the soil
  • Environmentally-friendly coated salt products are used to minimize corrosive salt damage
  • The parking lots at Humber College North Campus were landscaped following the City of Toronto's Design Guidelines for 'Greening' Surface Parking Lots. Among the 200 trees and 1000 shrubs installed, three-quarters were selected from the guide's Native Species Planting List.

Humber's 250-acre Arboretum has specific areas that have been designated as native plant materials only. This does not call for the removal of all exotic species, only of invasive ones.

  • Plants are sourced from nurseries that can identify their seed source and fall within the seed zones closest to our location –37, 34, 33, 32.
  • Areas surrounding the ponds are planted with native herbaceous and woody species specific to the habitat.
  • Other areas of the site –select native species for use if suitable.

In Humber's 2019-2024 Sustainability Plan, we have committed to developing a Sustainable Landscaping Management Program and a biodiversity management strategy.

Campus Beehives 

Honey bees pollinate approximately 70% of the world's crops; without them, our grocery stores will be empty. Sadly, the gentle honey bee is quickly becoming extinct due to a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which is mainly caused by the heavy use of insecticides (also known as Neonicotinoids). Urban beekeeping has become a great alternative and helps the honey bees thrive. 

In an effort to rebuild the number of worker honey bees in our local area, we installed hives at North and Lakeshore campuses to provide a safe environment for honey bees to thrive. Visit the hives near the staff lounge at North Campus (second floor of K building) or Lakeshore Campus on the second floor of the L building.

Lakeshore Campus and Colonel Samuel Smith Park

Humber's Lakeshore campus is located within the traditional territory of the Ojibwe Anishinaabe, situated just west of Toronto and on the shoreline of Lake Ontario. The campus offers beautiful historic buildings and many ways to connect with nature, including Colonel Samuel Smith Park, which is one of Toronto's most diverse urban green spaces. 

Next time you're at the Lakeshore campus, visit The Lakeshore Grounds Interpretive Centre to learn more about the natural and built environment and engage in cultural programming and exhibitions!

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup 

Humber's North and Lakeshore locations have participated in several campus cleanups. Each cleanup is registered with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, a national conservation program that collects citizen science data about the litter collected and encourages Canadians to participate in their communities. 

Connecting People with Nature

Camp Choice

Humber’s Camp Choice is an initiative to help Indigenous youth build a successful future. Participants learn current Indigenous teachings, such as land-based ways of living, in a variety of engaging, hands-on workshops.

Programs and Courses

Humber offers a variety of programs and courses that focus on outdoor, experiential learning. Please visit the Teaching and Learning page for a full list.

Highlight: Forest Nature Program

Launched in 2016, the Forest Nature Program was created through health and wellness and Indigenous mandates. The program helps children explore nature and learn from and with the land. Humber students studying in the Early Childhood Education program also benefit from learning about the forest nature programs, as it is part of their placement opportunities. They help encourage play and outdoor learning with the children while creating new methods to enhance physical activity and wellness. In September 2019, the program received the Edward Burtynsky Award for excellence in environmental inquiry.

Humber Aboretum and the Centre for Urban Ecology

Humber Arboretum                                                                         

The Humber Arboretum is 250 acres of forests, meadows, wetlands, ponds and the Humber River. This public garden, conservation area, and educational center is a joint partnership between the City of Toronto, Humber College and Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). This unique tripartite agreement between the three entities protects and restores habitats for native plants and animals and provides various educational opportunities for students and the general public, including nature camps, weekly nature walks, elementary school programs applied research opportunities and much more. The Humber Arboretum is free to visit. 

To learn more, please visit the Humber Arboretum’s website.

Centre for Urban Ecology

Located inside the Humber Arboretum is the Centre for Urban Ecology. The building is rated Gold by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and is home to the Arboretum’s educational programs and special events.

Humber Pond Revitalization Project 

The Humber Pond plays a key role in managing runoff water from Humber College's north campus before it reaches the Humber River. The Humber Pond Revitalization Project is an innovative, collaborative initiative to improve water quality in the pond while increasing natural habitat for wildlife, providing new social gathering spaces for our community, and creating an outdoor classroom and living laboratory space for students.

Humber Food Learning Garden

Where does your food come from? Why does it matter? The new Humber Food Learning Garden is a space for students and community members to learn about sustainable urban agriculture, local food security, and growing and harvesting their own fresh, healthy food in whatever space is available to them. 

Learning by Leading(TM) Program

Developed by the University of California at Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, the Humber Arboretum's Learning by Leading™ Program is based on the idea that students learn best by taking leadership in helping to solve real-world problems.  The Humber Arboretum was selected as the only public garden in Canada to be part of a pilot project to create a network of Learning by Leading™ programs at public gardens across North America.

Food Systems

Zero Hunger
Good Health

By incorporating sustainability into our standard operating practices and requiring our suppliers to adhere to specific sustainability requirements, we are creating a healthier and more environmentally responsible working and learning environment at Humber.

Healthy and Local Campus Eateries

We want to have broad access to Good Food (“food that fundamentally respects human dignity and health, animal welfare, social justice and environmental sustainability”) on our campuses that celebrates our cultural diversity, health and well-being. Some of the places on campus that support this value are highlighted below. 

The Humber Room and Gourmet Express 

Grab a delicious vegetarian to-go meal at Gourmet Express or enjoy a dine-in experience at our on-campus restaurant, the Humber Room. Located at North campus, both options offer healthy dishes prepared by culinary students and Fairtrade products. Check out all of the student-made campus food at Hungry Humber.

Soup Bar

In collaboration with Ignite, Humber College and Feed it Forward, Soup Bar is available to everyone and operates as a grab and go initiative. Creations range from a classic Chicken Noodle to Thai Coconut Curry and use food donated by local restaurants, businesses, and the Humber Arboretum’s Food Learning Garden. You can find frozen 1L soups in Soup Bar freezers at the IGNITE Student Centre (KX202) at the North Campus and L Commons 2nd floor at the Lakeshore Campus.

The Spot

Located in the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation at North campus, The Spot offers a daily menu featuring a vegetarian, vegan and meat option based on seasonal and local ingredients. You can also choose the dine-in experience to reduce single-use waste!

Sustainable Purchasing

Responsible Consumption and Production

Our goal is to educate the Humber community to be able to apply social and sustainable purchasing practices in order to promote a circular economy. To formalize our commitment, sustainability standards are now factored into our purchasing RFP matrix.

Social and Sustainable Purchasing

What is Social Procurement? Social procurement represents the clear choice by an organization to support social goals through their purchasing of goods and services. This can be done by embedding the delivery of social and sustainable outcomes within tenders and processes.

What is Sustainable Procurement? Sustainable procurement means making sure that the products and services we buy are as sustainable as possible, with the lowest environmental impact and most positive social results.

Our current goals in this area are:

  • Create a guiding document for social and sustainable purchasing practices.
  • Develop and run workshops to support understanding and use of the campus social and sustainable purchasing guiding document.
  • Update main RFP template and Procurement Policy with social and sustainable purchasing language, requirements and evaluation matrices. Develop a tracking mechanism for RFPs integrating sustainability into evaluation matrices.

We have begun the work to develop a guiding document(s) and update the Procurement Policy. Stay tuned for updates. Contact us for more information!

Fair Trade Campus

President and Office of Sustainability staff cutting the Fairtrade cake. Student volunteers in front of a Fair Trade Campus Fair poster.

We are proud to hold the designation of Fair Trade Campus at our North and Lakeshore locations. The Fair Trade Campus Steering Committee ensures that Fairtrade certified products are available on campus and raises awareness about making conscious consumption choices. Visit our Fair Trade Campus page to learn more and find out where you can purchase Fairtrade products on campus.

Where can I buy Fairtrade products on campus? 

North campus:

  • Catering menu, Birch Bark Coffee
  • Gourmet Express, Mountain View Estates Fair Trade Coffee 
  • GH Café, Fair Trade Espresso only, Starbucks Brand
  • Humber Room, Mountain View Estates Fair Trade Coffee
  • Humber Bookstore, Camino Fair Trade Chocolate bars
  • Street Café, Birch Bark Coffee & Camino Fair Trade Chocolate bars
  • Residence Dining, Camino Fair Trade Chocolate bars
  • Starbucks, Espresso only

Lakeshore Campus:

  • Catering, Birch Bark Coffee
  • Lakeshore Bookstore, Camino Fair Trade Chocolate bars
  • L Commons Eatery, Canteen Fair Trade Coffee
  • Media Buzz, Canteen Fair Trade Coffee
  • Starbucks, Espresso only

Look for the Fairtrade symbol when shopping and check out our Sustainable Features map for directions! 


As an academic institution, we use a lot of paper. In our Sustainability Plan we have commitments that will result in campus-wide actions to reduce our paper use. Some of these commitments include evaluate and right-size printers across all areas, fleet review and balancing; track printing data and share with community; and, increase use and familiarity of electronic signatures.

Everyone can take simple steps to reduce their personal paper use. Here are some approaches to try: 

  1. Switch to digital media when possible. For faculty, introduce digital textbooks and assignments on Blackboard when possible. For staff, store invoices and records digitally and use an e-signature when possible. Students should ask professors if a digital assignment option is available when not specified.
  2. Choose double-sided and black/white printing.

Read our guide for faculty on how to go paperless in the classroom!

Climate Action & Built Environment

Affordable and Clean Energy
Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Climate Action

We have made aggressive energy and climate commitments, which means we continue to build and operate low-impact campuses that support health and wellbeing, equity, diversity and inclusion, learning, innovation and community.

Our strategic priorities in Climate Action & Building Environment are:

  1. Significantly reduce campus greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while preparing for and addressing the impacts of climate change.
  2. Pursue global best practice in sustainable design, construction and the operation of new and renovated buildings.
  3. Ensure our spaces prioritize health, accessibility, functionality and social inclusion.
  4. Our campuses will be places where students and the community come to learn from the latest in healthy and efficient building design and operations.
  5. Create spaces that situate the campus in the context of diverse histories, lands and waterscapes.

We continue our work accomplishing the goals outlined in Humber's Integrated Energy Master Plan (IEMP) created in 2015 to meet significant energy efficiency, greenhouse gas and water reduction goals by 2034. The IEMP is leading us to ensure our buildings will be among the most efficient in the world.

Integrated Energy Master Plan

Humber is continually working to embody our institutional value to preserve our collective future. All campus development and operations begin by incorporating sustainability into the design and building process and connecting students to real-world learning opportunities. Humber's Integrated Energy Master Plan (IEMP) represents Humber's long-term strategy of achieving significant reductions in energy, water, greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to global sustainable development goals.

Created in 2015, the IEMP outlines a comprehensive plan to meet significant energy efficiency, greenhouse gas and water reduction goals by 2034. The IEMP ensures that our new buildings are among the most efficient in the world.


Success Stories

Nx Deep Energy Retrofit

Humber has completed several new buildings and retrofits which exemplify our approach to campus buildings and energy. Learn more about some of them here.

Building NX deep energy retrofit

Completed in 2019, Building NX at the North Campus was transformed from being one of the campus’ most inefficient, to becoming Canada’s first retrofit to achieve a Zero Carbon Building (ZCB)– Design certification from the Canada Green Building Council. The renovated building uses 70 per cent less energy than it did before, making it not only the College’s most energy efficient building, but also one of the most energy efficient in North America.

Building N

Completed in 2017, this project involved replacing the entire building envelope. The heating and cooling systems were renewed. All efficiency measures combined have reduced the building's energy consumption by 30%.

Learning Resource Commons North Campus

Humber's largest construction project to date, the Learning Resource Commons (LRC) opened in January 2015, and has become the main entrance to the college at the North Campus. Features of the LRC include a 100kW PV system on the roof, a 947 m3 green roof, low flow fixtures, low VOC materials and occupancy sensors. It is LEED Gold certified. 

Barret Centre for Technology Innovation

Opened in 2019, the Barrett CTI is LEED-Platinum certified and is a net-zero energy building. Sustainability features include a passive heating and cooling system, high-performance roofing system, hydronic in-floor heating, and green roof. Humber honours Indigenous voices and experiences with the second installation of the college’s Indigenous Cultural Markers (ICMs) in the Barrett CTI. It was designed by Anishinaabe architect Ryan Gorrie and helps place the college in the context of the long history of Indigenous peoples in what is now called the Greater Toronto Area.

Center for Urban Ecology - Humber Arboretum

Completed in 2007, the CUE is LEED Gold certified and in 2010, the CUE won an Ontario Association of Architects Design Excellence Award.

The CUE has many sustainable features including green roof, connected underground cistern, slatted solar awning, energy efficient radiant floor heating, a thermal chimney and a computerized system that automatically opens windows as needed.

Water Systems

Humber river and campus

Water is a precious resource. Our campuses are situated along Gabekanang Ziibi (the Humber River watershed), providing a home and habitat to 600 bodies of water, 755 species of plants, 42 species of fish, and over 185 animal species. This territory is subject to the Dish With One Spoon Treaty which reflects that people do not own the land but belong to the land as a relative and protector of land for future generations.

Water conservation is an integral part of campus life. New buildings are designed with water efficiency in mind and water use is monitored in all facilities to track and manage peak demand. All new buildings have green roofs that provide an effective way to collect and slow rainwater. 

We actively reduce the amount of water used in grounds maintenance by optimizing landscaping to reduce watering frequency for plants and lawns. We work continuously to educate our students and staff about water conservation, reminding them that simple daily acts, like bringing a reuseable water bottle everywhere you go, turning off taps and reporting malfunctioning plumbing, play an important role in protecting our shared resource.

The Humber community has eliminated well over 6 million single use plastic water bottles from landfills since 2014 through the use of our water refill stations.

    Sustainable Transportation

    Sustainable Cities and Communities

    With nearly 80,000 full and part-time students travelling to and from campus on a regular basis, transportation management is a major focus at Humber. We actively support energy-efficient forms of transportation, such as public transit, bicycle commuting and carpooling. By managing transportation demand; reducing traffic congestion; and enhancing campus security, we are steadily improving our environmental outcomes and making our campus cleaner and safer for the Humber community.

    Bike Parking and Cycling

    Bike parking stations at Lakeshore campus.Student using the bike repair station

    Secure Bike Rooms 

    There are secure, indoor bike parking facilities at both Lakeshore and North campus that you can register for! The cost for the year is $12 - pay online through MyHumber and contatct if you have any questions.

    • Lakeshore Campus: The secure bike room is located in the parking garage of the Welcome Centre and students, staff, and faculty are welcome to use it. For residence students wanting to use the secure bike room in Lakeshore residence, you can speak with the front desk or contatct
    • North Campus: Students and staff can park their bikes and scooters in Humber's Secure Bike Parking, located in the Commuter Hub (parking garage).

    Learn more about How to Register and Pay for Secure Bike Parking

    Bike Parking on Campus

    Check out these maps that show you where there is bike parking on campus: 

    Cycling Maps

    Here are a few resources for planning your route to work, school, shopping, or simply to explore: 

    Bike Repair Stations

    There is a self-service bike repair station at each of the Lakeshore and North campuses for everyone to use. They are located:

    • North Campus: Next to the Parking Services Kiosk (directly in front of LRC)
    • Lakeshore Campus: In front of the L Building on the east side of campus

    Bike Share Toronto

    A Bike Share station is available at the Lakeshore campus and Humber staff can receive a 20% discount on yearly memberships when they sign up with their Humber email. Visit Home | Bike Share Toronto to sign up. 

    Commuting by Transit

    Humber College bus loop

    We are excited for the Finch West LRT (expected completion is in 2023). This new LRT route will provide transit from Humber College to Finch West Station and essential links to TTC Line 1, York and Peel Region local transit. 

    Transit Routes

    Each campus connects to multiple transit routes including the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Brampton Transit and Mississauga Transit (MiWay).

    View transit routes and campus maps to plan your routes.

    TTC Full-Time Student Photo ID

    Purchase the TTC Full-Time Student Photo ID at any time during the year at Bathurst Station. You can also get a photo ID on campus during the fall semester; follow @SustainHumber to find out when the next TTC campus visit is.

    TTC Monthly Pass

    There are a number of different TTC passes you can purchase on PRESTO

    • TTC Monthly Pass: This pass costs $156 for adults and $128.15 for seniors/youth. It provides unlimited travel on the TTC per month.
    • 12 Month Pass: This pass costs $143 for adults and $117.45 for seniors/youth. It requires a 12-month commitment and provides unlimited travel on the TTC each month.

    Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

    North campus electric vehicle stations

    Electric Vehicle Charging Stations 

    Humber has several electric vehicle (EV) dual charging stations across both campuses. The first four hours of charging are free and parking fees apply as usual.

    North Campus 

    • Commuter Hub (Parking Garage): 16 EV charging stations 
    • Lot 9: Four EV charging stations (Please note: You must have a valid Humber parking permit to access Lot 9)
    • Carrier Drive: Four EV charging stations 

    Lakeshore Campus

    • Welcome Centre: Four EV charging stations in the underground parking area. (Please note: Hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 7 am to 10 pm and Saturday to Sunday, 8 am to 6 pm). 

    How can I use the EVs?

    1. Download the ChargePoint app and enter your credit card information. You will not be charged for the first four hours of complimentary charging. 
    2. After four hours, Humber encourages you to move your electric vehicle to a regular parking spot. If you choose to remain parked at the EV charging station, you will be billed $5.00 for each hour or partial hour of additional charging. 

    Please note: You do not need to reserve these spaces in advance.

    Smart Commute and Carpool

    Smart Commute

    Humber College has partnered with Smart Commute, a program geared towards promoting and encouraging sustainable transportation to help Humber reduce traffic and parking congestion, improve air quality, reduce GHG emissions, and allow our community to have a more enjoyable commute.

    Carpool Matching Program

    Smart Commute offers a free app to help you explore your options for sustainable travel across the GTHA. Sign up for the app (iOS, Android) to:

    • Find a carpool match within the Humber community
    • Plan and track your carpool, transit, walking and cycling trips
    • Join a network of GTHA commuters through your workplace or organization
    • Take advantage of program benefits including workplace travel support

    How to use the app:

    Carpool Parking Program

    Humber Parking services offers carpool members the option to split a parking permit which saves everyone money on parking (on top of already saving money on gas). To sign up for the program, read the corresponding policies:

    Waste Systems

    Life Below Water
    Life on Land

    Humber is continuously working to reduce, reuse and recycle. With the volume of waste generated by the campus population and Humber’s daily operations makes waste management an on-going priority. Fortunately, the waste produced in a college environment is well suited to management and recovery, as most of it is clean (non-hazardous) and can be easily separated for recycling. 

    Humber is constantly expanding its waste management program and has introduced holistic solutions to reduce waste production and encourage reuse, recycling and composting on campus.

    Four-Stream Sorting Stations

    Four-Stream Sorting Station

    Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber received new centralized four-stream sorting stations in 2020. 

    These stations include compost in key areas and clear signage to make sorting waste as easy as possible. 

    The previous bins have been donated, and the new stations are made of recycled milk jugs! 

    Before you dispose of items on campus, please ensure you are following the easy-to-read signage to help us divert waste from landfills. 


    How do I reduce and recycle on campus?

    The Humber College Lakeshore Media Arts Building's new sorting binsCoffee cup being tossed in the garbage bin

    Choose to reuse 

    Reduce the amount of waste you create by choosing reusable options. Bring a reusable bottle and use our free water refill stations, bring a zero-waste lunch and use a microwave station, and email if you're interested in grabbing a reusable cutlery kit. There are so many ways we can lead a zero-waste lifestyle. What will you be reducing this year? 

    #ReuseHumber Reusable Container Programs

    Both North and Lakeshore campus have their own unique #ReuseHumber reusable container program which students, staff and faculty are invited to participate in at the campus they are on. 

    What goes in our recycling bins? 

    Approximately one-third of what we put in the recycling bin doesn't belong there. Please ensure you are reading the signage above each bin to clarify what belongs where. 

    Why do coffee cups go in the garbage? 

    Coffee cups have a wax lining, making the cup waterproof but challenging to recycle. The coffee cup belongs in the garbage bin while the coffee cup lid goes in the recycling bin, and the paper sleeve goes in the paper bin. 

    PPE, Battery, and Pen Recycling

    Battery recycling bin at Lakeshore campus

    PPE Recycling

    During the course of the pandemic, masks, gloves and other single-use items were essential in staying safe. Bring your used PPE items to be recycled at the following locations:

    • North Campus: by D106, H101, entrance of T building, Hawksnest, Gourmet Express and main entrance of BCTI and LRC.
    • Lakeshore Campus: 3rd floor of L building by L3015, A/B building, Welcome Centre, main entrance of BIRM and by BIRM114.

    Battery Recycling

    Batteries contain toxic chemicals, so it’s very important that you recycle them properly! Bring your batteries to the following battery-recycling bin locations:

    • North Campus: Outside of IGNITE office at KX202 
    • University of Guelph-Humber: 2nd floor by room GH214.
    • Lakeshore Campus: 2nd floor of L building cafeteria next to elevator doors, 1st floor of Welcome Centre in front of Registrar's Office, & 1st floor BIRM by Tim Hortons.
    • International Graduate School: 4th floor by room 410.

    Pen Recycling

    Humber disposes of over 40,000 pens a year, so we recycle all kinds of writing instruments, including:

    • Pens and pen caps 
    • Mechanical pencils 
    • Markers and marker caps, including dry-erase and permanent 
    • All brands and any colour
    • ...basically, if you write with it, it can be collected for recycling! 

    Bring your used writing instruments to a drop-off location on campus, and we’ll make sure they’re appropriately recycled:

    • North: Just outside of Ignite, KX202
    • Lakeshore: Next to the elevator, L-building (2nd floor) and 1st floor of H building by the main entrance.
    • International Graduate School: 4th floor, by room 410. 

    For Humber staff and faculty, we created DIY Collection Box for your offices! There is a limited supply, so please contact for more information.

    Textbooks for Change

    You can donate your used textbooks and positively influence global education AND environmental sustainability! So far, Humber’s Textbooks for Change program has diverted over 4000 pounds of used book materials from landfill.

    If your textbook is less than 15 years old, drop it off at one of our on-campus locations:

    North campus:

    • KX Building: outside Humber Student Federation – HSF
    • K107: outside the School of Media Studies and Information Technology office
    • E205: outside The Business School office
    • LRC: Math Centre – 3rd floor

    Lakeshore campus: 

    • A Building: near The Music Office and Liberal Arts and Sciences
    • H Building: Main Floor - across from the International Office
    • H Building: 2nd Floor near the Business School
    • L Building: 3rd Floor
    • Annex/Humber Centre for Justice Leadership – Main Floor near Security

    Get Involved

    There are many ways to make individual and community impact. We're here to support you! Contact us, follow us, come and meet us:
    The Office of Sustainability, E103 (North Campus)

    Sign up for our newsletter today by submitting the form below!