Grebel gets grant for green roof


In April 2019, the shovels will hit the ground in front of Conrad Grebel University College’s residence building as construction on a new kitchen facility begins.

This project is part of a $6.8 million undertaking to expand the kitchen and dining room capacity at the College. As demand for space at weekly Community Suppers have grown, off-campus students, faculty, and staff are unable to participate regularly in this core aspect of community life because of limited seating area in the dining room. The kitchen, too, has experienced heightened requests for catering and must keep up with the ever-growing need for specialized diets among resident students.

“Ensuring that we are being environmentally responsible is always top of mind at Grebel,” noted Director of Operations Paul Penner who is coordinating the construction project with the help of a building committee. The committee was pleased when early in the process the architects suggested a green roof for the new kitchen.

“We try to integrate our buildings into the surrounding landscape as much as possible,” Brian Rudy, the lead architect from Moriyama and Teshima, explained. “Using a green roof for part of the new building made sense aesthetically and environmentally.”

Grebel students were excited about the prospect of having a view of native grasses and vegetation from their residence rooms, coupled with a decreased environmental impact.

Simon Chute, a first year student in environment, resources and sustainability was part of a team of five students who helped to apply for a grant with the Region of Waterloo. They calculated that a green roof utilizing native species vegetation would help to divert over 34,000 litres of rainwater from the municipal storm sewer.

“As we expand our cafeteria to accommodate our growing community, we must strive for environmentally conscious ways to be sustainable,” Chute stated. “Green roofs provide many ecosystem services that can help our residence leave a positive mark on our environment here at Grebel and the University of Waterloo.”

In January, the student team received news that it was successful in its multi-year application for funding from the Community Environmental Fund administered by the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. The project has already been awarded $12,500, and is being recommended for an additional $12,500 in 2019.

Environment and business student Hannah Hill, who serves as a student representative on the Fill the Table fundraising campaign, reported that the “students at Grebel are thrilled to have this financial support from the Community Environmental fund from the Region of Waterloo.”

Fred W. Martin, director of advancement at Grebel, noted that, “this grant is part of a broader campaign with donors, alumni, parents and students pledging over $3.4 million to date toward a fundraising goal of $4 million.”

This project is an example of the many ways students get involved in leadership opportunities and seek to enhance the community at Grebel. Chute added, “I got involved because it is relevant to my program and it is a project I fully support. I wanted to be a part of the planning process and see the project through to completion.”

Commuters can watch the progress on this project as the green roof will be located on the kitchen facility facing Westmount Road, on the southwest corner of the University of Waterloo campus.


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