Niagara Sustainability Initiative helps to achieve green businesses and communities


            Quartek Group leads with AEC sustainability insights

GTA Construction Report staff writer

Niagara Sustainability Initiative (NSI) is working with partners and members to green local businesses and communities. The non-profit organization has been established  with Trillium Foundation funding and is based on the Sustainable Waterloo model.

            Some key programs include the Carbon Project and regular events and training opportunities. “In the Carbon Project, partners voluntarily commit to managing their carbon footprint,” says NSI events and training co-ordinator Katrina Kroeze. “It begins with an assessment of their carbon footprint through a one year emissions study and then working with us after to better manage and improve their results.”

            NSI works with municipalities, industry, institutions and the private sector through partners including Niagara College, the City of Welland, and Walker Industries. “In some cases partners hear about and come to us, in other cases we approach them where we believe we have value to offer,” says Kroeze.

            Special events, held every six weeks between September and June, offer insights from guest speakers into specific areas of environmental sustainability. “Our sessions are free to Carbon Project members and open to the public for a small fee. The last session – Sustainable Spaces – attracted about 50 attendees, which was a great turn out.”

            This most recent session featured guest speakers from Quartek Group, a St. Catharines-based architectural, engineering, planning and project management group focused on sustainable practices. Attendees heard about sustainable communities, building envelopes and interior building components.

            “We’d like expand on the sustainable spaces event and will use feedback from this session to tailor future events,” says Kroeze. “Our next planned educational event is Jan. 23 and will spotlight the City of Welland’s LED streetlight initiative as an example of creative financing.”

            “Other initiatives include our personal lunch and learn training sessions, which are tailored specifically to the business sector we’re visiting and include topics such as green procurement, waste reduction, going paperless and driving employee engagement,” says Kroeze.

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