Some of the most exciting environmental advancements in Canada are happening in Alberta. To celebrate these outstanding achievements, the Alberta Emerald Foundation established the Emerald Awards Program.
From classrooms to corporate initiatives, the awards recognize a variety of projects and celebrate those who demonstrate commitment to the environment and take the initiative to make quantifiable sustainable changes.
Here are two of our featured monthly recipients:
The Alternative Energy Technology Program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)
As companies across Canada develop alternative energies and technologies, one school in Alberta decided to create the training needed to maintain and repair these technologies.
Launched in 2011, the Alternative Energy Technology Program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton develops highly skilled and specialized workers for Alberta’s renewable energy and energy-efficiency industries. The two-year program focuses on technical design, project development, and energy management in renewable energy sources, including solar electric, solar thermal, hydro, wind, geothermal, and cogeneration.
The program is filling a vital need. Nearly 80 percent of students are employed in their field one year after graduation and 13 percent of graduates start their own companies in a related field.
This influx of skilled alternative energy workers in Alberta supports the growth of alternative energy products and businesses. It also provides opportunities for students to develop and participate in proprietary research projects.
The Mosaic Centre for Conscious Community and Commerce
The Mosaic Centre for Conscious Community and Commerce is Alberta’s first net-zero commercial office building, meaning it produces as much energy as it uses.
As beautiful as it is efficient, the building in south Edmonton is powered by a solar PV array and is heated and cooled by a geothermal system. It also has on-site composting and a rainwater retention tank used for irrigation of plants. Overhead lighting is kept to a bare minimum with generous south-facing windows to allow natural light and 100 percent LED task lighting. Plus, the centre has 40 percent more landscaped area than the city requires and 95 percent of all building materials were diverted from landfill during construction.
The building is currently under review for LEED Platinum Certification, the highest designation for buildings that are sustainable and contribute to human and environmental health.
By celebrating environmental excellence, the Alberta Emerald Foundation hopes to raise awareness of improvement in these areas while inspiring positive involvement in the protection of our environment.
Learn more about the foundation or submit a nomination at emeraldfoundation.ca.