Challenge: Mohawk College has long been a leader in sustainability education and practice in the Canadian higher education sector. In 2016 Mohawk leadership recognized the importance of more aggressively confronting climate change by: preparing students for jobs in the low carbon economy; transitioning to zero carbon operations; partnering with community stakeholders on GHG mitigation and climate change adaptation; and competing successfully for federal, provincial, and alternative funding. Leaders at Mohawk engaged Mark Wilhelm to provide sustainability advisory services to assist with these initiatives.
- GHG emissions assessment: baseline and projections through 2030
- GHG emissions reduction roadmap: strategies, projects, and funding initiatives
- Compliance and funding strategies for Ontario Climate Change Action Plan
- E-Wing Redevelopment Project: Interviews, Strategies, and Visioning Report
Approach: Through an ongoing, five-year collaboration, Mark and his team provided strategic and tactical support to meet these goals. They interviewed dozens of stakeholders to identify obstacles, opportunities, strategies, and tactics to meet objectives. They completed site, sector, and competitive research to target high potential initiatives. They assessed GHG emissions and identified integrated strategies to reduce emissions, lower utility costs, reduce deferred maintenance backlog, link with curriculum and applied research, and attract new students and corporate sponsors. They evaluated approaches to engage strategic partners from within the community and across North America. They considered opportunities to secure funding from Federal, Provincial, and alternative financing methods. They engaged various sector and trade associations to share leadership experiences and develop networks of like-minded climate change leaders.
Outcome: Mark developed and published four studies throughout his on-going collaboration with the College, including a GHG Emissions Inventory, a Climate Change Legislation Impact Study, a preliminary GHG Emissions Reduction Roadmap, and an Engineering Wing Redevelopment Project Visioning Report. He helped the College target and secure millions of dollars of funding for efficiency, renewable energy, and decarbonization projects and to fund the innovative Centre for Climate Change Management at Mohawk College.
As Tierra’s Director of Climate and Clean Energy, Mark continues his work with Mohawk College leadership. He provides insights to support Mohawk’s leadership in the Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery (C2R2) initiative. He works to establish strategic sustainability alliances for Mohawk with other higher education institutions, including ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability and School of Sustainability. He advances the mission of the Climate Change Leaders Hub at Mohawk, which he co-founded to connect the College with nine school districts and 270,000 students to focus on transitioning operations and creating capability, capacity, and capital for the low carbon economy.
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