During the opening plenary on Thursday evening, Ross McCurdy gave a detailed overview of the up and coming Centre Sustainability in Energy & Environment (CSEE) at Cape Breton University. McCurdy, who is the centre's Chief Executive Officer, began by discussing Cape Breton's past in the energy production industry. During the early 20th century, Sydney was known for its steel plant and coal mines, and played an exceedingly important role in the Nova Scotian economy at the time. With the majority of the coal underwater, over 3200km of mining tunnels were established, running deep under the ocean floor. Coal and steel was mined with what this blogger deems a reckless abandon and a disregard for the environment. This is where, McCurdy explains, the CSEE comes in. The CSEE, a collaboration of academic and industrial institutions, aims to provide education and training opportunities in the environmental sustainability sector. The centre was founded to reflect both the legacy of environmental changes and future energy potential in Cape Breton. The building itself will be home to as many different energy efficient devices and utilities as possible. McCurdy named a few:
geothermal energy to heat the building
solar panels and windmills to provide electricity
natural ventiliation opportunties
stormwater collection for non-potable uses
"smart" lighting (lights turn on only when they detect movement)
a "living" wall (home to a variety of plant species)
For more information about the centre and its upcoming research opportunties, please visit the CSEE website.