About NAIT  

Sustainability Initiatives

Climate actions and energy savings

  • A member of the City of Edmonton Corporate Climate Leaders program, including being featured in a 2021 Case Study (pdf)
  • Participant in the City of Edmonton benchmarking program & Energy Star portfolio program
  • Energy conservation measure-based energy audits for all main campus buildings since 2018
  • Organization and analysis of utility bills to understand trends, recognize anomalies, and identify opportunities for energy savings
  • Increasing the resolution of power metering for improved energy management
  • Window replacements (2011) to 80% of glass on Main Campus to reduce losses (infiltration)
  • Alternative Energy Program elements incorporated into electrical system (e.g. solar panels, wind turbine, X Building solar research)
  • Attend industry-sponsored workshops to share best practices and trends

Campus development and greenspaces

  • LEED™ Silver standard for all new buildings
  • LEED™ Gold certification of Feltham Centre
  • LEED™ Gold certification of Productivity and Innovation Centre
  • NAIT’s Campus Development Plan aims to develop our campuses to meet the needs of NAIT and create engaging public spaces with paths, gathering areas and open space — all of which will contribute to a positive experience for students, staff, visitors and the neighbouring community.
  • NAIT’s acquisition of Blatchford lands enables NAIT’s future and our vision to be one of the world’s leading polytechnics and the most relevant and responsive post-secondary institutions in Canada
  • Part of NAIT’s campus development includes development of a greenbelt - one formal, large green space that will become the distinguishable open space associated with NAIT throughout the region
  • Feature hardy, local plants for quads and outdoor common areas on campus

Building and equipment upgrades

  • Maintenance of building design standards for efficiency and resilience
  • Building management system gateway level upgrades to improve integration and access to operating information

Equipment renewals

  • Lifecycle replacement of aged and inefficient equipment via capital maintenance and renewal.  Energy management is a criteria for prioritization.
  • Ongoing replacement of old major electrical equipment, including transformers and switchgear, to reduce line losses and losses to heat and sound
  • Ongoing improvement of the efficiency and resilience of the culinary refrigeration system, including heat recovery from the freezers and walk-in refrigerators for use in pre-heating outdoor air for ventilation systems. This work is being carried out in phases – it started in 2019 and is expected to be completed in 2023.
  • Regular maintenance on printing and paper-processing machines reduces energy use

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)

  • NAITSA office had its air system modernized in 2018
  • O building is currently having its air system modernized, which will be completed by end of 2022
  • L building envelope upgrades to increase insulation, reduce infiltration and reduce heating and cooling loads. This ongoing renewal work will be completed in 2023.
  • Ongoing insulation upgrades of chilled water, steam, and hydronic heating systems
  • Coil and leaky steam trap replacements as needed
  • Retrofit of ventilation terminal boxes in E, F and U buildings to more closely match system output to system requirements, improving efficiency. Started in 2019, this work will be completed in 2022.
  • Retrofit of old steam boiler system in L building with a new near condensing boiler set in 2021, improving heating efficiency by 20%
  • More than 350 variable frequency drives (VFDs) have been installed to control the speed of approximately 5700 electric motors. Systems using VFDs are more efficient than those using throttling control of flow allowing for a 15-20% reduction in energy use, and the extending lifespan of equipment.
  • HVAC system schedules adjust ventilation to match building occupancy
  • As new spaces are built or renovated, demand ventilation upgrades are implemented to allow us to monitor CO2 and adjust ventilation requirements to meet needs of occupancy
  • Building Management and Control System (BCMS) upgrades from pneumatic and legacy direct digital controls to BACnet Direct Digital Control and Campus Central Supervisory level integration “EcoStruxure”. This provides continuous HVAC system monitoring, analytics, reports and control, as well as proactive operation of systems and improved performance of HVAC systems. Continuous commissioning of systems allows for more efficient operation.
  • Space requirements standards that include temperature, humidity and ventilation requirements, as well as summer/winter set points
  • Regular air balancing and tuning of existing air systems
  • Regular filter replacements to reduce fan static pressure


  • 80% of LED lighting systems are being converted from T12/T8 fluorescent, including upgrades in U, V, PAT, T and O buildings. 90% of this work is currently completed.
  • Lighting control converted to vacancy sensors, which turn off lights when users leave a space and requires users turn lights back on manually
  • Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI) installed in CAT and PIC buildings. The DALI provides performance control of each light fixture (such as dimming, scheduling and light harvesting). Lights in CAT and PIC are adjusted to meet minimum lighting requirements.
  • BACnet communication lighting systems alert the HVAC occupancy flags, meaning zones will use minimum requirements when occupancy is not sensed.

Building monitoring and management

  • Remote monitoring of ventilation filtration performance
  • Shifted major custodial to start at 7 p.m. so that lights can be turned off overnight
  • Preventive maintenance program to increase the lifespan of equipment and maintain reliable and efficient operations

Water systems and use

  • Installation of campus water fill stations to eliminate plastic bottle waste
  • Monitoring the usage and trends of makeup water to cooling towers and steam systems to recognize anomalies and identify opportunities for energy savings
  • Ongoing installation of low flow washroom fixtures as new facilities are built and existing spaces are renovated
  • Plumbing upgrades to provide hands-free fixtures that dispense only as needed

Equity, diversity and inclusion

  • NAIT has adopted our first Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to serve and empower our communities
  • Shop AT NAIT vendors are required to demonstrate they adhere to fair labour standards
  • Corporate and Continuing Education offers an EDI certificate

Honouring treaty relationships

Waste and recycling

  • Source separation of recyclables from landfilled materials
  • Waste oil collection system for automotives
  • Through Clean Technologies, Technology Access Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability (TACOSS) and Centre for Sensors and System Integration (CSSI) our teams works on waste valorization, circularity and plastics research. We are expanding this work to food waste and the Centre for Culinary Innovation will contribute significantly to this work.
  • Corporate and Continuing Education is partnered with Circulab to deliver training focused on the circular economy in Alberta
  • Battery recycling and disposal program

Waste reduction

  • Eliminated plastic shopping bags, diverting approximately 85,000 plastic bags from landfill annually
  • Reduced plastic packaging where possible with approximately 25% decline in use
  • Digitalized paperwork, reducing printing and eliminated the need to store over 60 banker boxes annually
  • We reuse approximately 50% of the cardboard that is delivered to our warehouse
  • Increased monitoring of kitchen waste fats, oil, and grease to reduce likelihood of release to drain


  • Developed a centralized digital platform process for digitally integrated material. Textbook inventory has been reduced by 50% which has also reduced carbon costs associated with shipping the material to and from the publishers.
  • Digital printing has reduced the use of chemicals (ink, solvents, aerosols) by 95% - 98%
  • Digital printing has reduced paper spoilage 90% - 95%
  • 20lb – 70lb Bond Papers are 100% recyclable, Forest Stewardship Council and/or Sustainable Forest Initiative certified, acid free, and made from 30% recycled post-consumer waste
  • 80lb – 100lb Gloss and Matte Text and Cover Stocks are 100% recyclable, Forest Stewardship Council and/or Sustainable Forest Initiative certified, acid free, elemental chlorine free, and made from 10% recycled post-consumer waste
  • 100% recycled-content toilet paper and hand wipes

Learning and teaching

  • Corporate and Continuing Education offers training related to power generation including courses on designing and installing solar photovoltaic systems
  • Corporate and Continuing Education has partnered with Canadian Institute for Energy Training to offer training in Passive House Design Courses
  • Corporate and Continuing Education launched a Sustainable Home and Property course in Fall 2021
  • Integration with academic programs allows students to assist in the implementation of projects at NAIT
  • Microcredentials support sustainability by supporting more meaningful participation in the labour market, and add more efficiency to the exchange of skills within the labour market
  • Corporate and Continuing Education offers workshops on the responsible and sustainable management of tailings

Applied research

  • Our applied research focuses on economic sectors that are anchored in Alberta’s and Canada’s rich natural resources.  We partner with businesses and communities to innovate and develop solutions that support the environment and sustainable development.
  • Through our teams in the Technology Access Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability (TACOSS), Centre for Grid Innovation (CGI) and Clean Technologies we work on technologies and processes that support circularity and reduction of GHG emissions
  • The Centre for Boreal Research (CBR), in collaboration with Centre for Innovative Media, Clean Technologies and TACOSS, works on reclaiming lands in the boreal region that have been disturbed by industrial activity. This includes remediation, reclamation, reforestation, peatland restoration, native plant and seed reintroduction.
  • CBR, Clean Technologies, TACOSS and Centre for Sensors and System Integration (CSSI) all contribute to this work whether in natural water systems or industrial process water.

Food systems

  • Eat AT NAIT offers a discount for using a reusable coffee cup
  • In 2017, the Imperfect Produce program involved using over 300 kilograms (700 lbs) of imperfect cucumbers and tomatoes every few weeks. These vegetables would otherwise be thrown away due to minor blemishes and imperfections.
  • Eliminated plastic shopping bags in food retail locations on campus
  • Eat AT NAIT offers Meatless Mondays, meaning feature meals contain no meat
  • Eat AT NAIT serves only Fair Trade™ certified coffee at all locations (not including franchises)
  • The NAITSA Food Centre helps students with emergency food assistance and information for nutrition on a budget

Sustainable transportation

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