Top 20 Projects for 2018

When we’re looking for Clean50 Top Projects, we look for the three “I”s…  Projects are selected because they are Innovative, they can Inform – and they can Inspire other Canadians to do more.

This year we started looking for 15 project to become 15 Top Projects – but instead we found 20… 5 more we just couldn’t exclude!  Spend a minute to read Tabatha Southey’s great articles about what each of these organizations and individuals have done – and be inspired to copy them in your neighbourhood!

And sign up for the Clean50 Newsletter under the ‘contact’ tab –  which will provide one email every 2 weeks or so, each with 2-3 in-depth articles featuring reports from Clean50 Project and individual Clean50 Award winners – what they did – and how they did it.

(any editing errors are ours!)

Bowery Project: Mobile Urban Farms in Vacant City Spaces

Project Lead: Deena DelZotto & Rachel Kimel

Redefining “local”! By deploying milk crates filled with soil, Deena and Rachel created mobile farms on vacant lots and in shared space near community centers to enable children and volunteers to grow produce that provided meals to over 100 youth weekly.

The pilot identified practical and economically attractive opportunities to reduce food waste by almost 1,000 tonnes / year valued at $706,000 and contributed research to a portal used by a wide variety of Canada’s F&B manufacturers.

CaGBC convened 2 working groups that each had representatives from 12 diverse stakeholders including 3 levels of government, large energy companies, and many subject matter experts. Together this group created the first “Zero Carbon Building” Standard in the world.

Canadian Tire took what had been a 15% diversion rate of customer returns in 2013 up to 97+%, for the past 3 years, in the process creating 20 different specialized recycling streams and eliminating annual costs of $800K and becoming revenue positive. In 2016, 1,959 MT was diverted vs. 42MT sent to landfill.

CVC helped the region build resiliency, restore habitat, and beautify the areas surrounding commercial areas by planting over 11,000 native plants and shrubs on private property using their own staff and 800 employee volunteers from the various sites.

At their cutting edge farm, producing a pound of insect based protein requires 8% of the water and create 33% of the GhG of a pound of meat protein. Entomo created a closed loop system of almost zero waste, repurposing cricket droppings as high grade fertilizer that enhances plant production for the insects.

With a doubled demand for quality used furniture for families in need (often refugee arrivals with nothing), in 2015 Furniture Bank partnered with 1-800-Got Junk, KPMG and Salesforce to double their supply, in part by building an operation that employs youth to repair, refinsh and upcycle discarded furniture.

Creation of a system and the inputs for an indoor, condo friendly vertical growing system that provides very local food.

Creation of the Foodmesh App and building the partnerships between its 56 users enabled Mesh Exchange to facilitate diversion of over 80 tons of food, providing over 134,000 meals, eliminating 15 tons of CO2 and saving over $720K.

Natural Step Canada – Energy Futures Lab Phases I and II

Project Lead: Chad Park & The Natural Step

Ambitiously engaging a wide variety of stakeholders and subject matter experts, the EFL tackled the challenge of helping Alberta plan for a sustainable energy future

City of Nelson – Community Solar Garden

Project Lead: Carmen Proctor

A first for Canada, Nelson’s Community Solar Garden offers residents the ability to buy 1 or as many as 15 solar panels in 248 panel, 60kW community owned solar array on public property, and generate solar credits on their electricity bills in proportion to their share of revenues.

Canada’s geographically largest village, population 500, created the first community-owned solar installation in Saskatchewan building a 31.5 kW solar array on the community centre rooftop

Queen’s Solar Design Team – Solar Education Centre

Project Lead: Reid Alston & Dr. Stephen Harrison

Building an entirely off-grid house to support two people, Queen’s created a unique real-life lab to be used as a test bed for a wide variety of design choices and technologies, designed to challenge and validate various energy, water, building design and insulation strategies.

Capturing both waste heat and CO2 from a nearby pulp and paper mill, Resolute teamed with local investors to build a greenhouse. Phase one: about 1 million square feet (8.5 hectares), employs 100 workers and has an annual production capacity of over 45 million cucumbers and recovers the equivalent of 11,000 metric tons of CO2 annually

A partnership between a church and a housing society resulted in the construction of a net zero energy use series of town homes that offered affordable housing to 16 families – 5 of them large – who never need to worry about utility bills.

Using waste heat from VanCity’s data center, SES found an innovative way to replace an ailing boiler with a solution to heat the entire building, eliminating 95% of the building’s natural gas use and substantially reducing domestic water consumption.

Before building a solar installation to make the winery net-zero, and despite an energy audit that said any savings would take 20 years to pay back, Southbrook had Enviro-Stewards undertake a study that found over 30% energy savings with a 4 month payback – and thus the resulting solar install was 30% smaller and cheaper – saving land that produces 50 cases of wine a year!

Developing a process to turn manure into a nutrient rich, organic, odorless and highly effective fertilizer safe enough to be used by amateurs – that is kid, pet, bird, bee, worm, fish, and wildlife friendly.

The creation of a standard that measures organizational performance against a series of benchmarks to determine both its sustainability as an enterprise in a climate change impacted world, and if it contributes to worsening climate change.

The creation of a photovoltaic solar charging (PVSC) station using made-in Ontario materials and know-how involved having students solve the problems and eventually resulted in an installation at York – and inspired others in 3 different countries to follow suit.