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Sustainable Tips for Working and Studying Remotely

Sustainable purchases may be eligible for reimbursement through the UWinnipeg Wellness and Sustainability AccountThis benefit applies to eligible employees who are members of AESES, IUOE and UWFA-Main, and eligible excluded support and academic employees. Resets in the new calendar year.

Power Down and Unplug: To save energy and money, it is really important to power-down and unplug your electronics. Electronics left on stand-by mode still drain power from the outlet, this can be called stand-by power, phantom power, and other such names. According to Hydro Quebec "Phantom power can account for 5-10% of a household's electricity bill... [as well as equal] ... about 5.4 TWh: the equivalent of the annual power consumption of 300,000 households". (A few Facts About Phantom Power)

  • Set your computer to "power-saving" mode for during your work day.
  • Power down your computer every day after work (this can also be helpful to give you a set end-time while working from home).
  • Unplug your electronics and appliances and/or use a power bar that can be shut off.
  • Turn off lights in your home when they're not in use.
  • Use energy efficient light bulbs and appliances. If you wish to purchase any of these items - consider a reimbursement through the UWinnipeg Wellness and Sustainability Account.

Reduce Heat: Let's be honest, Winnipeg winters are cold. Conserve energy and save on your electricity bill by turning down your heat. 

  • Reduce thermostat temperatures.
  • Wear a sweater, use a blanket, get your body moving, or use a hot drink to warm you up.
  • If you have window drafts - consider air-tight translucent window coverings, to reduce heat loss in the winter. If you wish to purchase any of these items - consider a reimbursement through the UWinnipeg Wellness and Sustainability Account.

If you're a home owner: As a home owner, you have a greater opportunity to improve the sustainability of your properties, than people who rent. If you wish to purchase any of these items, they could also be eligible for reimbursement through the UWinnipeg Wellness and Sustainability AccountIf possible:

  • Use energy efficient light bulbs and appliances.
  • Upgrade windows and insulation.
  • Have a Home Energy Audit done to see where your house stands on the EnerGuide home evaluation
  • Consider taking advantage of the energy saving rebates and initiatives available through Efficiency Manitoba.

Use Natural Light: Natural light will provide you with sunlight and vitamins, and can help improve your productivity. 

  • If possible, use natural light in your workspace - open your curtains!
  • Get yourself outside to soak up the sun.

Filter your Air: Air quality impacts our health and our productivity and the UofW takes that seriously. Our LEED certified buildings are healthy buildings and are built with air quality and user experience in mind.

  • Open a window. We know it can be chilly, but opening up your window for a few minutes and letting some fresh air in might just freshen up your workspace.
  • Get a plant. Plants are known to filter air. They can also be nice to care for.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: At the UofW, we are so lucky to have access to composting services from Compost Winnipeg and Diversity Food Services that provides compostable take-out materials and a bottled water ban to allow the UWinnipeg community to be more sustainable, without even having to think about it. Follow these tips below to reduce your waste and to practice proper waste disposal at home.

  • In Winnipeg, we source our drinking water from Shoal Lake 40 First Nation and we are privileged to have access to clean drinking water. Say NO to bottled water and drink from the tap. There are also water filters that you can purchase to attach to your sink or to store in your fridge. If you wish to purchase any of these items - consider a reimbursement through the UWinnipeg Wellness and Sustainability Account.
  • Use reusable bags and say no to plastic bags.
  • Use reusable containers.
  • Buy second-hand.
  • Shop locally. 
  • Compost: Some of you may be part of the Winnipeg Composting pilot project or may be part of Compost Winnipeg's residential program, but if you're not... You can still compost at home with different techniques at home! According to Green Action Centre, composting can reduce waste ending up in the landfill by 40%.Visit the Green Action Centre to learn more on residential composting such as backyard composting and vermicomposting.
  • Recycling: In Winnipeg; cartons, aluminum and steel, glass, paper, and plastics #1-5 & 7 are recyclable. Please read and follow the symbol. Check out Simply Recycle for a more in-depth look into what is recyclable in your area and for some great info-graphics! 
  • Waste: Plastic #6, chip bags, candy wrappers, styrofoam, plastic wrap, single-use coffee cups and lids unfortunately, are not recyclable. 

Go Paperless: If working from home, going paperless or reducing paper might be easier. You can set up online signatures to avoid printing and scanning. If you are studying from home, we know that manual writing can help the brain retain information. Do your best.

  • Buy paper that supports sustainable forestry or is recycled - consider a reimbursement through the UWinnipeg Wellness and Sustainability Account.
  • Print in ink-saving mode, to reduce the amount of ink used per print, consider printing in black and white ink. Also, Staples will recycle used ink cartridges.
  • STUDENTS: If you need to write and re-write your notes out manually - consider purchasing a Boogie Board (or like product) to save paper. 

Take a Break: We are whole people with bodies. Our bodies get tired and our eyes get strained when in front of a computer all-day every day.

  • Be mindful of your time.
  • Get up, get out, and stretch.
  • Take a break from the computer screen.
  • Take time to think about postures and wellbeing.
  • Make sure your basic needs are met - Have you eaten? Have you had a drink of water?

Sustainable Foods: In Manitoba we are able to have local foods available year-round. Along with eating local foods, purchasing locally keeps funds flowing within our community.

  • Use up, what you already have. Try not to let things go to waste, don't be afraid to get creative!
  • Research has shown that human's increase in meat consumption has had very negative consequences on our climate. Try participating in Meatless Mondays.
  • If possible, purchase locally source foods and/or from smaller community businesses and/or farmer's markets. Check out some local food initiatives here.
  • If possible, purchase ethically source foods, this can include, but is not limited to Fairtrade and Direct Trade products. Fairtrade and Direct Trade products can include, but also are not limited to tea, sugar, coffee, chocolate/cocoa, fruits and vegetables, and more.
  • If possible, purchase essential groceries and pre-made foods from Diversity Food Services.

Diversity operations at UWinnipeg continue to be recognized (since 2015) as the most sustainable food & dining service available on any Post-Secondary campus in Canada by the AASHE STARS program. Diversity Food Services also has a 2018 LEAF award for the Greenest Restaurant over 10,000 square feet.

Diversity Food Services is run by a social enterprise business model and takes all aspects of sustainability into account when making business decisions, including environmental, social, economic and cultural sustainability.


If you have any other initiatives you want to share please contact us @ sustainability@uwinnipeg.ca