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Upholding claim to carbon-neutral weddings

August 8, 2016 3:43 P.M.
Wedding ceremony in TRU's Horticulture Gardens. (Jason Beattie)

They may be mere retaining walls, but the latest enhancement of the TRU Horticulture Gardens supports more than soil.

The new walls add to the garden esthetic and will be dedicated to Steve Wong, who was one of the founding faculty members of the TRU Horticulture Department. Now retired, Wong was instrumental in establishing the department in the early 1980s, and worked tirelessly to build the foundation upon which the Horticulture Gardens flourish today. 

A dedication ceremony will take place at the gardens on Aug. 23 at 2 p.m., and the public is welcome to attend.

As replacements for creosote ties, the walls also support a new pitch from the TRU Sustainability Office — carbon-neutral weddings. The walls were partly funded through TRU’s innovative Sustainability Grant Fund (SGF), which enables faculty, staff and students to be part of campus changes through projects and research. The nearby Campus Activity Centre (CAC) has gone through numerous energy saving measures and by purchasing Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) the facility can now claim carbon neutrality. 

RNG is captured from sources such as landfills, agriculture waste sites or wastewater facilities. Other energy-saving measures include high-efficiency boilers (which have reduced gas use by 50 percent), state-of-the-art LED lights throughout the facility, and numerous changes to the building automation system to ensure optimal efficiency.

The CAC is also a zero-waste facility, which ensures minimal waste enters the landfill by using standardized waste stations and two large in-vessel composters. TRU is a member of the National Zero Waste Council, and has significantly reduced waste entering the landfill over the past years.

The gardens got a ringing endorsement two years ago when they were ranked one of B.C.’s best wedding venues by the Huffington Post. Nuptials will now be able to note “carbon neutral” on their wedding invitations with a reception hall that fully supports the claim.

“At least you can make that choice,” said James Gordon, environmental programs and research co-ordinator.

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