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 in turn 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 falls within the seed zones closest to our location –zones 37, 34, 33, 32.
  • Areas surrounding the ponds are planted with native herbaceous and woody species specific to habitat.
  • Other areas of the site –select native species for use if suitable.

In Humber's 2019-2024 Sustainability Plan we have commited to developing a Sustainable Landscaping Management Program as well as a biodiversity management strategy. Learn more about the actions we're working on now till 2024 here.

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 beekeepng 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. Go visit the hives near the staff lounge at North Campus (second floor of K building) or at 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 history 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 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 a number of 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 take action in their communities. 

The next Humber Campus Cleanup will be held March 2020. 

Connecting People with Nature

Camp Choice

Humber’s Camp Choice is an initiative to help Aboriginal 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 itself. 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 tripartied agreement between the three entities protects and restores habitats for native plants and animals, and provides a variety of 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 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 how to grow and harvest 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 Aboretum'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.

Good Food Challenge

VegetarianAwarenessDayStudents in greenhouse

The Good Food Challenge is a student-led movement coordinated by Meal Exchange and offers a comprehensive and decisive definition for Good Food on campuses. In 2019, student interns working with our office and supported by food service staff conducted the Good Food Calculator audit. Read the Humber Today article about the project. 

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 open to everyone and operates as a pay what you can initiative. Daily 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. Visit Soup Bar inside Cafe Linx (LX1110, North campus) every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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:

  • Café Linx 
  • Catering menu 
  • Gourmet Express 
  • GH Café
  • Food Emporium
  • Hawks Nest 
  • Humber Bookstore 
  • Humber Room 
  • JJ Café
  • Residence Dining Hall 
  • Staff Lounge 
  • Starbucks (espresso only)
  • Trades Café
  • Vending machines 

Lakeshore Campus:

  • Catering menu
  • Lakeshore Bookstore 
  • L Commons Eatery
  • Media Buzz 
  • On the Go 
  • Starbucks (espresso only)
  • Vending machines 

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

Paper

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

Welcome Center Lakeshore Campus

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 Management 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 buidings 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. Learn more about it here.

    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%. Learn more about it here

    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. Learn more about it here.

    Barret Centre for Technology Innovation

    Opened in 2019, the Barrett CTI is targeting LEED-Platinum certification 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. Learn more about it here. 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. Learn more about it here.

    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. Take the #takebackthetap pledge!

    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

      Secured Bike Rooms 

      We have secure, indoor bike parking facilities on campus that you can register for!

      • Lakeshore campus: Residence manages 45 spaces, priority is given to residence students who sign up prior to Sept. 15 every year. Remaining spots are open after Sept. 15 every year for students, staff and faculty. To apply, review the instructions and application procedure. For staff and faculty, the Student Welcome and Resource Centre has a bike room in the underground parking garage.To gain access, email sustainability@humber.ca.
      • North campus: We are getting 100 secured bike parking spots in the Communter Hub (parking garage). More information coming soon. 

      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

      Commuting by Transit

      Humber College bus loop

      We are excited for the Finch West LRT (expectied 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 a 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 Sherbourne 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 monthly passes you can purchase on PRESTO: 

      • TTC Monthly Pass: This pass costs $151.15 for adults and $122.45 for seniors/youth. It provides unlimited travel on the TTC per month.
      • 12 Month Pass: This pass costs $138.55 for adults and $112.25 for seniors/youth. It requires a 12-month commitment and provides unlimited travel on the TTC each month.

      Learn more about which pass is best for your commute: TTC Monthly Pass on PRESTO.

      CarShare

      Enterprise CarShare Vehicle with Humber Hawk

      Faculty, staff and students can become members of Enterprise CarShare for only $1 and drive cars starting at $6/hr, gas and insurance included.

      Enterprise CarShare is an automated way to rent a vehicle by the hour, the day, or overnight. Vehicles are available 24/7 and a variety of makes and models are parked at Humber North and Lakeshore campuses as well as throughout the GTA.

      North Campus:

      Pick up your car in front of the North Campus student residence in Parking Lot 1.

      Lakeshore Campus:

      Pick up your car in Lot 1, just south of the walkway to Humber Lakeshore Campus - East.

      Electric Vehicle Parking

      North campus electric vehicle stations

      You can charge your electic vehicle (EV) on campus! The first four hours are FREE! 

      On our North Campus we have 16 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the Commuter Hub (parking garage) and 2 at Carrier Drive.

      On our Lakeshore Campus we have 2 stations in the Welcome Center 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. Contact Parking & Transportation Services Manager, if you have a valid Humber College parking permit to obtain card reader access to the parking garage. All individuals using the EV chargers require a parking pass (permit or day pass).
      2. Download the ChargePoint app (you will have to enter your credit card information but you will not be charged for the first four hours).
      3. You do not need to reserve these spaces in advance.

      After the first four hours, drivers will be billed $5.00/hour (proated to the minute) OR just move your vehicle to another spot to let another EV driver get a charge.

      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.

      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 sustainability@humber.ca if you're interested in grabbing a reusable cutlery kit. There's so many ways we can lead a zero waste lifestyle, what will you be reducing this year? 

      What goes in our recycling bins? 

      Approximately one third of what we put in the recycling bin doesn't belong there. At Humber, we follow the City of Toronto's recycling guidelines. Not sure what items go where? Look it up on the Waste Wizard and download the TOwaste app for when you’re on the go!

      Why do coffee cups go in the garbage? 

      Coffee cups have a wax lining which makes the cup waterproof, but makes it difficult for the cup to be recycled. 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. 

      Battery and Pen Recycling

      Battery recycling bin at Lakeshore campus

      Battery Recycling

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

      • North: Just outside of IGNITE office at KX202
      • Lakeshore: L Building, 2nd floor cafeteria next to elevator doors
      • Orangeville: Outside Administration/Faculty Office AL206

      Pen Recycling

      Humber disposes of over 40,000 pens a year, so we recycle all kinds 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 recycled properly:

      • North: Just outside of Ignite, KX202
      • Lakeshore: Next to the elevator, L-building (2nd floor)

      For Humber staff and faculty, we created DIY Collection Box for your offices! There is a limited supply so please contact sustainability@humber.ca 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)