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  • Getting to Green

    An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.

SCUP-43 Tuesday 5:30 pm
July 22, 2008 - 5:56pm

Two more sessions this afternoon. (Five today - long day.)

The fourth session of the day was mostly BS. No need to go into specifics -- an 80% non-BS rate isn't bad at any conference.

The last session, however, pulled together a lot of fragments, both from the earlier presentations and from life before SCUP. It was a panel on Developing Sustainable Master Plans, presented by a campus energy director and two reps from an engineering firm.

A few of the key points:

  • Sustainability requires full-time attention. Each one of these can profit from the full-time effort of at least one person: marketing & communication, energy costs, waste management, best practices, fostering behavioral change.
  • Changing behavior requires making expectations clear. Clear expectations (let's call them "policies") will be necessary for operation of lights, operation of computers, temperature set points, hours of building operation, comprehensive energy usage, comprehensive sustainability targets, utility metering, and a general philosophy of new technology adoption. (More on that last one, later -- the rest should be pretty specific.)
  • For any construction project, make sure you make your sustainability, energy usage, and LEED certification goals early. Changing your mind, late in the process (even late in the planning phase of the process) costs money.
  • Make sure the responsible operating staff have the opportunity to contribute to building design decisions. They can provide a useful reality check.

It's been a long day, and my dogs are barking, but right after I rest them, we're back to topic A -- food.

First, a general observation. Restaurants in Montreal operate on a different portioning principle than restaurants near Greenback. Back home, the difference between a decent restaurant and a "good" restaurant is the size of the burgers (or, if your budget will stretch, the steaks). Here, it's the amount of flavor in the food. Meat portions, particularly, are smaller. Veggie portions tend to be bigger. The local cuisine (as is the case across much of Canada, also the upper Midwestern USA) is a bit on the bland side, but the standard for ethnic dishes is pretty high. As is the variety available. (This portioning doesn't eliminate the omnivore's dilemma, but it at least reduces it.)

In response to the question yesterday -- the Carribean restaurant was Kalalu, at 4331 rue St-Denis in the Plateau. Near the Mont-Royal metro stop.

The Vietnamese restaurant (far closer to both the conference center and the various hotels) I can't, unfortunately, identify. It's in Chinatown, towards the east end, just one or two doors north of Rue de la Gouchetiere. It's on the east side of a north-south street (rue Amherst?), big glass door. It's smallish, family-run, has "Pho" in its name, isn't in the phone book, and doesn't have printed-up receipts (just handwritten blank forms).

One negative review - L'Aromatique, a bistro on Peel just north of Rue Ste-Catherine. OK food, but overpriced (especially the wine) and the service stinks. C'est la vie, and all that.

And so to dinner.


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