TWU turns green

Langley, B.C.—Trinity Western University might be used to handing out certificates but now the school is earning some of its own.

This fall, TWU committed itself to increasing its responsibility as environmental stewards by purchasing Green Power Certificates from BC Hydro, BC’s energy provider. These certificates represent the offset of the impacts of electricity by committing 5% of the university’s total annual energy consumption to the development of Green Power.

“The certificates we’ve bought indicate that we’ll be buying a certain type of power from BC Hydro,” says Steve Morris, director of campus services. “This money allows them to develop the types of renewable resources that make up Green Power.”

Specifically, Green Power is energy produced by small hydro products that have minimal impact on the environment. “These energy sources are naturally occurring—wind, solar, and anything in between,” says Morris.

According to Hydro, using this type of power will have almost immediate and noticeable effects. “Green electricity generation will result in the avoidance of greenhouse gas and other air emissions,” says a BC Hydro representative.

And environmental issues are important for TWU. The university is surrounded by over 60 acres of land designated as an ecosystem study area and has another 70 acres on Saltspring Island for environmental study. “It’s a big responsibility,” says Karen Steensma, co-director of TWU’s Environmental Studies program.

These sites—made up of wetlands, dry lands, and tributaries—have allowed the University’s Environmental Studies program to conduct ongoing research in habitat restoration, endangered species analysis, salmon rearing and more. They’re studies that involve the environmental elements Green Power is designed to preserve.

“There are over 30 organizations province-wide participating in the environmental program,” says Morris. “Along with TWU, all the major universities such as UBC, UVIC and SFU have signed on and so have several other prominent businesses such as the Vancouver Port Authority.”

The Vancouver Port Authority’s (VPA) contributions to environmental issues have affected the development of both Green Power and TWU’s environmental studies program. Starting this fall, the VPA will fund an annual scholarship of $2,500 to a TWU environmental studies student who demonstrates outstanding academic achievement.

While the Green Power Certificate program is one of the latest initiatives to come out of BC Hydro, it isn’t the only one the school is involved with. “We’re also a Power Smart company of BC Hydro so we try to install Power Smart fixtures and light bulbs, those sorts of things,” says Morris. “It’s a way for us to do our part.”

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts university enrolling over 3,200 students this year. With a broad based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 38 major areas of study ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 other graduate degrees including counseling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.

Last Updated: 2015-07-13
Author: Keela Keeping