Sept. 18, 2019

Top 10 Ways to make new MacKimmie Tower workspace sustainable

Move of faculty and staff into energy-efficient building provides a glimpse into a work culture deeply committed to sustainability goals
Worker in MacKimmie Tower
Staff and faculty in MacKimmie Tower and across campus can impact UCalgary's sustainability goals Nathan Luit

It’s an exciting time at UCalgary as the MacKimmie Tower is near completion and move-in is well underway. MacKimmie Tower will be an energy-efficient building that will generate carbon-free renewable energy to offset a portion of the annual emissions created by building operations and the day-to-day activities of occupants.

While the building is constructed to be energy-efficient, how the faculty and staff working in the tower use the space is equally important. As tenants migrate into the building, their daily practices to help MacKimmie Tower operate as sustainably as possible offer an example for everyone else on campus. At UCalgary, sustainability means valuing ways of living, working and learning, and taking responsibility for our physical, natural, social and fiscal environments.

Read these Top 10 Tips to learn how you can make MacKimmie Tower, or even your own campus space, more sustainable and actively participate in helping UCalgary achieve our goal of being a carbon-neutral campus by 2050.

MacKimmie Tower overlooking downtown Calgary

Construction is almost complete. It's now up to tenants to help maintain the net-zero carbon goal.

Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

  1. All waste has its place: Sort waste from your personal/desk-side trash and recycling bin into the four-stream waste bins located in the kitchen areas. Questions about what goes where? Read more.
  2. Say no to bottled water: Take your reusable bottle, glass or pitcher and use the taps in the kitchenettes to fill up instead of drinking bottled water. Also, consider participating in Fill it Forward to track your hydration and help give water to those in need. Stickers are available at the Sustainability Resource Centre in SB 101, Ancillary Services in The Dining Centre, The Landing, Starbucks outlets or the University of Calgary Bookstore.
  3. Communicate with your colleagues about your temperature needs: In the tower, seating has been assigned on each floor. As you settle into your new environment, consider locating team members with similar temperature needs in neighbouring workstations so that you can operate the temperature and window controls together. While the building’s systems are being optimized, report any persistent temperature and ventilation issues to Facilities’ Customer Care Centre.
  4. Retire personal appliances: Avoid using personal kettles, coffeemakers, microwaves, desktop printers, space heaters and other small appliances as they may not be compatible with the building’s electrical load. Using shared appliances minimizes the amount of power drawn to devices throughout the building. Retire small personal appliances by filling out a material disposal form for distribution to the campus Surplus Sale or submit an electronics disposal request to recycle your electronics responsibly.
  5. Avoid space heaters: This is an important tip, so it bears repeating: avoid space heaters. Not only do these appliances use a lot of energy in all office spaces, the new tower’s double-skin façade helps maintain thermal comfort.  
  6. Use smart plugs: Identify primary electrical outlets at your workstation for use with continuously powered items such as your computer or laptop dock. Secondary outlets are designed to turn off after periods of disuse and are ideal for secondary devices such as monitors and desk lamps.
  7. Drink Fairtrade coffee from an energy-efficient machine: There are two coffee stations/kitchens per floor, each stocked with energy-efficient appliances, including two microwaves, one refrigerator and one dishwasher. If additional appliances are required, such as a coffee maker, they need to be ENERGY STAR™ rated. However, to ensure energy efficiency, it’s recommended to not add other appliances. No matter how you brew your coffee, buying Fairtrade certified coffee supports fair working conditions for coffee growers around the world.
  8. Join the Sustainable Events and Offices Programs: At the University of Calgary, we value sustainable ways of living, working and learning. Through the Sustainable Events and Offices Programs, we can take action and effect change through the decisions we make every day and further contribute to sustainability in MacKimmie Tower and in all of our buildings.
  9. Respect your neighbours: Working in an open-office environment may involve changes in privacy, etiquette and behaviours. Take the opportunity to get to know your neighbours. Think like a team, establish norms in your new space and be considerate of each other’s space. 
    • Use the phone rooms on your floor for sensitive phone calls.
    • Lock your computer when you step away from your workstation.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Clean up after yourself. Remember that your kitchen space is shared by everyone.
    • Take a walk. Noisy conversations can be distracting so take them outside.
  10. Use the stairs: Taking the stairs in MacKimmie Tower is the most energy-efficient way to move between floors. From the main floor, access the stairwell on the south side of the building with your Unicard, and increase your daily steps as a bonus.

Have additional questions about working sustainably in the new MacKimmie Tower, or elsewhere on campus? We’re happy to meet with your team to talk about best practices and how you can get involved. Contact for more information.