Top 15 Projects

We believe that collaboration between different types of parties:  learning from each other – looking outside our own tents and catching a spark from the campsite next door –  that – THAT – is the magic that makes humans unique – and can perhaps accelerate our dwindling opportunities to reverse the damage we have done to the world which we bequeath to our children. 

To that end, we have sought stories, not just of Clean50 individual honourees – but of the people in the trenches actually tackling real world problems and solving them in innovative ways.

Here are 15 different stories of teams, organizations or individuals that found often unique ways, and often in collaboration with others, to make a difference.

Do they inspire you?   Vote and tell us which one you think is the most compelling!


At the Clean50 Summit on September 26th, The Clean50 Honouree’s choice was a TIE between

HP & Laverne Group – Closed Loop Plastic Recyclying


the City of Surrey – Waste Diversion Plan


The People’s Choice Award Results are also now final:

TELUS Corp – 80% less energy Quebec Data Centre has won the Canada’s Clean50 People’s Choice “Top Project” Award for this year.  See below for full results!


TELUS Corp – 80% less energy Quebec Data Centre


HP & Laverne Group – Closed loop plastic recyclying


Bioindustrial Innovation Centre – Clean Chemistry Cluster


Harvest Power – Vancouver – Biogas


Enviro Stewards & Tim Hortons – Waste Water


Watefront Toronto: comprehensive and accessible CSR Report

City of Surrey – Waste diversion

Real Property Association – Energy Savings

Toronto Transit Alliance – the 1% Campaign

Trees Canada – National Tree Day

City of Markham – Solar

Oxford Properties & ZeroFootprint: Tenant Engagement

Pulse Energy – Building Energy Measurement

City of Waterloo – Playing field

First Capital Realty – First Realty co GRI Report


Thanks for all the votes for these inspirational projects!


HP’s “Closed Loop” plastic recycling program

Project Leads: Frances Edmonds, Dean Miller

Imagine if you could have an impact as big as this….     HP’s ”closed loop” recycling process has diverted the equivalent of 1.6 BILLION drinking water bottles from landfill: so many that if they were laid end to end, they would wrap around the earth 7.5 times

HPs collaboration with a small but powerful Canadian plastics recycler has resulted in a process that not only reduces waste to landfill but also reduces the footprint of an HP product family that is sold globally. By:

1)   Offering free and convenient cartridge recycling as part of HP’s Planet Partners Program, (Available in 70 countries & territories)

2)   Designing ink cartridges to be easily recycled and

3)   Pioneering a “closed loop” recycling process

HP is able to lower the footprint of the plastics used in its cartridges by up to 33%. (compared to virgin plastic) This process has already produced 1.4 billion cartridges through 2012, and used 30 million Kgs of recycled plastic (including plastic from PET bottles equivalent to 1.6 billion bottles) .

The project addresses the “Holy Grail” of electronics recycling: the plastics stream- it took persistence, patience and partnership –    “We even invented a machine to disassemble our cartridges to improve the plastic recovery” said Dean Miller, Senior Engineer at HP.

And there is more to come! Learn more…

Enviro-Stewards & Tim Hortons: Waste discharge reduction

Project Lead: Bruce Taylor - Lloyd Hipel - Andrew Lanesmith

We often see projects where there’s a “win – win”.  Rarely do we see a “win-win-win”.  This time, the deck was stacked with aces: It was a “win-win-win-win-win” – spread over two continents!

The Challenge: Waste discharge to sewer by Tim Hortons’ Fruit & Fills plant. 

A conventional approach would address the environmental concern while imposing economic ($1,000,000 capital) and social burdens (loss of commodity ingredients).

In-plant measures reduced loading to sewer 80%, waste to landfill 70% and greenhouse gas emissions 30%.  The measures save about $490,000/yr with a return on investment of 260%.

The facility shared a portion of the savings with its employees and sponsored the construction of 40 BioSand Filters, which are purifying 800,000 L/yr of drinking water and avoiding 120 tonnes / yr of GHG emissions in South Sudan, Africa. Learn more…

The Metro Vancouver region faces interlocking issues:

  • Landfilling is an unsustainable practice;
  • Recycling goals cannot be met using only current diversion strategies;
  • Communities are seeking sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels;
  • Farms and gardens demand high-quality, nutrient-rich compost compost; and
  • The region has set aggressive targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Harvest Energy Garden and Composting Facility sits at the intersection of these issues with a solution: use anaerobic digestion and composting to simultaneously increase energy independence, reduce environmental impacts and revitalize the soil. The Energy Garden results in approximately 23,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent avoided per year. Learn more…

REALpac’s Energy Benchmarking Program

Project Leads: Michael Brooks, Julia St. Michael

In 2009-2010, REALpac collaborated with industry organizations and stakeholders to adopt an office building energy consumption target of 20 ekWh/ft2/year by 2015, plus developed resources for building energy use measurement and Canada-wide performance benchmarking – REALpac’s Energy Benchmarking Program (“EBP”) was launched!

The EBP lead/jump-started the commercial real estate industry forward in energy efficiency benchmarking activities before other accessible programs in Canada, and acted as a transformational tool for the market, shaking up/disrupting “business as usual” and shedding light on the need to conserve energy.

Total energy savings from 2010-2012 = 9,243 households-worth of annual energy use – enough to power a small city in Canada! Learn more…


City of Surrey – RETHINK WASTE !

Project Leads: Robert Costanzo, Vincent Lalonde Gerry McKinnon

Taking the concept of a closed loop one step further, The City of Surrey is planning to power their garbage trucks with… Garbage!  The project description below is long, but a worthwhile read- and a case study for the textbooks.  It’s also the best write up we had this year.     Kudos to the team who did the work – and who took the time to share it!   The metrics in this one are buried – but outstanding!

. Economic sustainability often comes with an upfront cost, above and beyond the status quo. Through rigorous analyses and consultation, the Rethink Waste project has seen past these upfront economic and operational hurdles to realize the actual lifecycle savings of organic waste diversion.

The potential environmental benefits of both Phases 1 and 2 are significant. The diversion of residential and private organic waste from landfill and operating a fleet of waste collection vehicles on 100% renewable biomethane will have an estimated net carbon reduction impact of 10,200 tonnes of CO2e per year. This would be the same as taking roughly 2,000 passenger vehicles off the road every year. Learn more…

Bioindustrial Innovation Canada – Sarnia biochem cluster

Project Leads: Murray McLaughlin, James Lee

BIC’s goal from the outset has been to position the Sarnia-Lambton region as a world-scale Hybrid Chemistry Cluster.

The first step was to establish a premier accelerator facility at the Sarnia-Lambton Campus of the Western University Research Park. This formed the nucleus of what would become a benchmark for future development of  bioindustrial clusters across Canada.

The BIC accelerator today houses the pilot and demonstration-scale operations of three highly innovative companies. BioAmber and other green and sustainable businesses are also staking their future in Sarnia as part of the Hybrid Chemistry Cluster.

Today visitors are coming from around the world to learn how and why Sarnia is succeeding in integrating green and sustainable chemistry with its traditional petroleum industries. Learn more…

Waterfront Toronto: Outstanding excellence in a CSRS Report

Project Leads: Lisa Prime, Director of Environment & Innovation

North America’s largest urban revitalization project. That is the task ahead for Waterfront Toronto.

What is the impact if such revitalization is undertaken with a triple-bottom-line approach to corporate social responsibility and sustainability? We think it will transform not only the way we and our partners do business, but perhaps the city at large. Read below about our successes to-date building parks, reviving aquatic habitat and promoting the construction of LEED-certified buildings.

Waterfront Toronto’s leadership in completing its first Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report (CSRSR) sets a high bar for depth, breadth, ease of access, use of appropriate infographics, and overall ability to communicate.

Waterfront Toronto has spent the last decade fulfilling its commitment to create a revitalized waterfront that sets a national and global model for sustainability. Sustainability has been a core corporate objective since initiation, in 2001, and our CEO always intended publishing performance in a triple bottom line, showing transparency and leadership in balancing priorities of environment, economic and social in the revitalization of the waterfront.

The report exceeds usual standards – and the UX – the User Experience – is enhanced. Learn more…

TELUS Rimouski Internet Data Centre

Project Leads: Lloyd Switzer, Pete Hegarty, Gladys Mak

TELUS invests in world leading innovative data centre design, build and operations – that requires only 40 hours of mechanical cooling PER YEAR

In support of its vision to build highly reliable, sustainable and efficient facilities, TELUS has invested in an eco-friendly and state-of-the-art data centre providing customers with next-generation cloud-based solutions. This Tier III facility is world-class in its energy efficient design: 80% more energy efficient than traditional data centres, built to LEED Gold standards, leverages natural cooling systems that require only 40 hours per year of supplemental mechanical cooling and dramatically reduces water consumption resulting in an industry leading 1.15 Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE).

TELUS is demonstrably committed to driving environmental sustainability and continuous innovation. Learn more…

It’s pretty easy to sit in your dining room, and pontificate about the state of your city – or the commute home.

It’s a whole lot harder to do something about it!

Sarah Thomson and The Toronto Transit Alliance did just that: 20 volunteers going door-to-door 8,000 times to talk to Torontonians about their transit system and how to pay for it.

After the TTA launched the 1% Solution Campaign, it gained a surprising amount of traction.  Just what any decent transit system needs… Learn more…

A recent study put the economic value of a tree to its community at over $60,000. over its lifetime. 

The folks at Tree Canada have done a lot to raise the awareness of that value across the country.  Tree Day may not yet have surpassed Christmas in popularity – but the outright value of the gifts sure has!

Planting trees provide a multitude of benefits to communities, which not only include the reduction of carbon dioxide, the provision of shade and cooling, and the reduction in energy costs, but the improvement of overall health and instils a sense of community pride in citizens. Tree planting has the ability to bring the soul of a community together and foster a sense of pride and accomplishment among all generations. Recognizing and fostering this sense of pride is what National Tree Day is all about.  This year – September 25th. Learn more…

Oxford Properties & ZeroFootprint: Tenant Engagement

Project Lead: Darryl Neate (Oxford) Geoff Olsen (ZeroFootprint)

Energy reduction on a massive scale is not achievable without engaging the people who use it.  Oxford, as part of its sustainability program, wishes to engage the 1,000,000 people that pass through Oxford lobbies each and every day.  Zerofootprint and Oxford have partnered to achieve this goal.

Using Zerofootprint’s Velo™. Oxford gives tenants timely feedback about their actual energy consumption at strategic points throughout the building. Tenants receive feedback about their energy consumption, and floor-based comparisons. Typical energy dashboards are data-intense giving the observer a large variety of metrics.  Conversely, Zerofootprint’s visuals are specifically designed to be simple and compelling. Learn more…

First Capital Realty issued the first GRI (Global Reporting Initiative)-compliant, level B+, externally assured CRS report in the Canadian real estate sector in September 2011.

This report provided an example to the real estate sector that companies can enhance their communication with stakeholders on environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects without having fully developed programs.

By assuring indicators, the company made a statement on the importance of ESG aspects in business.
The report discussed a significant environmental aspect of its sector:  land use.
Metrics on employees, energy, GHG emissions, water, and waste also were disclosed in the report. Learn more…


City of Markham – Rooftop MicroFIT Solar

Project Leads: Graham Seaman,Atiq Rahman

Markham’s 1.4MW solar roof top program provides renewable energy leadership for our community.

Generates over $300,000 per year of revenue outside of taxes, while contributing to Provincial goals.

Our Solar Program also helps us move toward our Community Sustainability Plan, The Greenprint’s, objective of net zero energy, water, waste and emissions by 2050. Learn more…

City of Waterloo: GreenLab

Project Lead: Karen Anderson

Welcome to our big rain barrel!

The GreenLab is located at RIM Park, the City of Waterloo’s premier sports, fitness and healthy
living hub. Visited by 1.3 million people every year, this 500-acre facility features outdoor
sports fields, a multi-purpose recreation building, trails, parkland, a golf course, public
art and more. This makes RIM Park the perfect demonstration site to promote, educate and
encourage environmental best practices. Learn more…

Combining Energy Information Software (EIS) with the onsite expertise of a consultant is becoming industry best practice for generating energy savings in existing building commissioning programs.

Achieving operational savings in commercial buildings

SES Consulting and Pulse Energy are approved vendors in BC Hydro’s Continuous Optimization Program, which bundles energy auditing services with the deployment of an advanced Energy Information System.

One challenge for energy consultants like SES is not having a clear view into the impact of recently implemented operational changes. Manually measuring and analyzing these modifications is costly and labour intensive. Pulse Energy Manager addresses this challenge by displaying the results in real time through an online web portal, allowing consultants to instantly understand the effects of their actions. Learn more…