Waterloo North Hydro Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers

Posted on Tuesday April 20, 2021

Waterloo North Hydro’s (WNH) commitment to sustainability and environmental awareness has earned it national recognition.

The utility has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for 2021. This award recognizes employers that lead the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness through sustainability initiatives.

“We are pleased to be recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers,” said Rene Gatien, WNH’s President and CEO. “Environmental stewardship is a key component of our everyday operations and this award is a reflection of the commitment and hard work of our staff.” 

WNH is a national leader in sustainability, working with Sustainable Waterloo Region to lower its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent over 10 years. The utility also has limited the use of disposable water bottles within its facility, supplying all employees with reusable water bottles and placing filling stations throughout its Administrative Building and Service Centre. 

WNH has an organizational commitment to environmental stewardship. The WNH Administrative Building and Service Centre, which opened in 2011, has a LEED Silver certification. The building has several important sustainable features, including geothermal heating, hot water heating and cooling system, as well as rainwater recovery, which allows WNH to repurpose rainwater to wash vehicles and flush toilets. The building was originally constructed with energy efficient lighting at the time it opened and WNH has since retrofitted to LED lighting in the building and outside in the parking lot and materials storage yard. WNH uses a specially designed bio-swale drainage system, which filters out contaminants and helps keep runoff from flowing into the nearby Conestogo River. These features have helped WNH significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and its impact on the surrounding natural environment. 

The utility has an extensive recycling program for industrial waste, such as old poles, wires, metal and other construction supplies, while also recycling more common items such as organics, batteries, light bulbs, pens, markers, printer cartridges, paper, plastic, coffee bags, electronics, and more. In 2020, WNH also switched to 100 percent recycled paper for its paper towels.

The selection committee also highlighted WNH’s employee-led environmental initiatives as a reason for its selection as a winner. These initiatives are spearheaded by WNH’s Green Team. In 2020, employees travelled more than 1,500 sustainable kilometres through the annual employee Eco-Challenge. WNH hosts an annual Bike Tune-Up day for employees and a 20-minute neighbourhood clean up to celebrate Earth Day.  Employees are also encouraged to take part in Earth Hour. 

Judges for the Greenest Employer Awards based their selections on four criteria, including:

  • the unique environmental initiatives and programs the employer has developed
  • the extent to which the employer has been successful at reducing the organization’s environmental footprint
  • the degree to which employees are involved in these programs and whether they contribute any unique skills
  • the extent to which these environmental initiatives are linked to the employer’s public identity, helping to attract new employees and clients to the organization. 

For more information, and to see a full list of winners, visit https://www.canadastop100.com/environmental/.