Green Building Policies

The University of Alberta has developed policies and programs to make sure our buildings meet green building certification requirements.

Cleaning for a Healthy U

The university created Cleaning for a Healthy U to outline green cleaning guidelines for the campus community. Updated regularly, the program’s goal is to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and airborne particulates in university buildings, creating a healthier environment for students, faculty and staff.

Buildings and Grounds Services' in-house and contracted team of cleaning staff follows Cleaning for a Healthy U guidelines, making sure the cleaning products they use meet the program's criteria.

Green Cleaning Criteria

University cleaning supplies must be:
  • Free of carcinogens, VOCs or other harmful ingredients
  • Certified by UL EcoLogo 
  • Packaged in 25 per cent post-consumer recycled plastic
  • Highly concentrated (to reduce energy use associated with product deliveries)
  • Third-party certified (to ensure environmental compliance)

Cleaning for a Healthy U also outlines ways the university can reduce waste from cleaning.

Waste Reduction Criteria

The university only uses:

  • Cleaning products packaged in recyclable containers and in reduced-packaging formats
  • FSC®-certified paper towels made from 60 per cent recycled fibre (and 40 per cent post-consumer waste)
  • Water-ionizing cleaning equipment (it uses 33 per cent less water, saving 60 to 70 thousand gallons of water each year)
  • Green Seal-certified bathroom tissue that contains 100 per cent recycled fibres (70 per cent post-consumer recycled content)

Using the latest cleaning technology, such as highly efficient hallway cleaning machines and hand-held active ion technology, has reduced the amount of chemicals the university needs for cleaning.

Construction Recycling Practices

The university uses green construction and demolition techniques in our building and renovation projects.

The Civil Engineering wing renovation project is a great example. In this project, more than 200 30-cubic-yard bins of refuse were recycled instead of being sent to the landfill. The recycled materials included drywall, steel studs, steel piping, galvanized iron, sheet metal, coils, copper and masonry. The project team also reused brick from the building’s roof-top machine room in the construction.

Enterprise Square is another example of a green renovation project. In this project, material from the building’s demolition was recycled or reused. The project team:

  • Recovered about 85 per cent of the material from the building’s interior.

  • Recovered about 75 per cent of the material from the rooftop.

  • Recovered about 95 per cent of the building’s steel and concrete refuse.

  • Moved the building’s emergency generator to South Campus to use as a backup generator.

  • Removed 414,000 pounds of exterior Tyndall stone from the building. This stone has since been used in multiple projects, including the gateway signs on each campus and the Donadeo building’s facade.

Design Principles

The university follows specific sustainability standards and guidelines when planning, designing and constructing new buildings.

Some of these sustainable design principles include:

  • All buildings must be accessible, including features to accommodate persons with mobility and sight impairment.
  • Developments to sites and buildings must be environmentally responsible, addressing water efficiency, energy use, materials use, indoor environmental quality and cradle-to-grave economics.
  • All building design should enhance and encourage sustainable practices.