By Melissa Baluk on April 15, 2019
This special award recognizes Canadian employers who create a culture of environmental awareness, develop exceptional earth-friendly initiatives, and – because of their environmental leadership – are attracting employees.
Some of reasons why UBC is being recognized with this award include:
- UBC’s Climate Action Plan commits to reducing the university’s greenhouse gas emissions 67% by 2020 and 100% by 2050, over the 2007 baseline year. The Vancouver campus has already reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 34% while the building footprint and overall student population has increased.
- UBC has an incredible number of highly focused sustainability initiatives across campus to encourage its community to adopt more sustainable behaviours, such as sustainability tours, Sustainability e-newsletters, a Sustainable Campus Food Guide, the UBCBuySmart purchasing program and the Walk’n Roll to School transportation program.
- UBC adopted the LEED Gold certification standard for all new construction and major renovations of institutional buildings with 26 registered and certified buildings – the most for any Canadian university. And with over 400 buildings the university also has an ongoing Building Tune-Up Program as well as a longstanding building retrofit program.
UBC was recently ranked first in the world for taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts and ranked one in Canada for making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, according to Times Higher Education (THE).
To see all of this year’s Greenest employers, visit http://www.canadastop100.com/green/
By Breeonne Baxter on April 21, 2017
Today, we are pleased to share with you that UBC has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers in 2017, for the sixth consecutive year.
Some of reasons why UBC has been recognized with this award include:
- UBC was the first university in Canada to create a sustainable development policy back in 1997, followed by the opening of the first Campus Sustainability Office a year later — in 2010, the UBC Sustainability Initiative was established to create a framework to deeply integrate its academic and operational efforts to create a truly sustainable campus for the long term
- As part of its many ongoing sustainability programs, UBC created the Social, Ecological, Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) Sustainability program in 2010 to engage and create collaborative partnerships between students, faculty and employees — since its inception, the program has led to over 1,100 research reports and over 100 applied research projects covering topics such as waste management, procurement, materials, building water, energy, transportation, climate, food systems and biodiversity
- UBC adopted the LEED Gold certification standard for all new construction and major renovations of institutional buildings — the University now has 15 LEED registered and 10 LEED certified buildings, and developed a long-term implementation plan to create the largest portfolio of green buildings at a Canadian university
To see all of this year’s Greenest Employers, visit http://www.canadastop100.com/environmental/.
By Breeonne Baxter on April 22, 2016
On this Earth Day, we are pleased to share with you that UBC has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers in 2016, for the fifth year in a row.
Some of UBC’s green initiatives include:
- UBC was the first university in Canada to create a sustainable development policy in 1997, followed by the opening of the first Sustainability Office in 1998.
- UBC became the first Canadian school to sign the International Sustainable Campus Charter and join the International Sustainable Campus Network.
- UBC manages a longstanding “Sustainability Coordinator Program“, involving over 80 staff and faculty who promote and implement sustainable initiatives in their departments.
- UBC adopted the LEED Gold certification standard for all new construction and major renovations of institutional buildings — the University has eight LEED certified buildings thus far (with 15 registered) is preparing to install 20 electric vehicle charging stations as part of a provincial wide initiative, which will be available for employee use.
To see all of this year’s Greenest Employers, visit http://www.canadastop100.com/environmental/.
Other Green Initiatives at UBC
- UBC trees are well cared for. Learn how UBC arborist Shawn Riberdy keeps our campus green.
- UBC is taking steps towards climate action. Bud Fraser of Campus & Community Planning discusses his role in cutting GHG emissions.
- Hear UBC experts discuss their work on forests, trees and climate.
- UBC Botanical Gardens’ Dr. Tara Moreau sheds light on her relationship with trees, climate change and campus.
- Forestry’s Sara Barron highlights why urban tree cover is more than just a sustainability issue.
By Breeonne Baxter on April 22, 2015
UBC has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers in 2015, for the fourth straight year.
UBC’s many sustainability oriented initiatives include the Sustainability Coordinators Program involving over 80 staff and faculty, the Sustainability Ambassadors Peer Program for students, and, as part of the “zero waste” program, achieving a waste diversion rate of 67%.
Other green initiatives include:
- UBC was the first university in Canada to develop a sustainable development policy in 1997, followed by the opening of the first sustainability office in 1998.
- UBC partnered with other BC-based universities in 2008 to write and sign the “Climate Change Statement of Action for Canada” that commits signatories to develop emissions reductions and develop annual greenhouse gas inventories.
- Over 1,000 UBC employees participated in the spring and fall Bike to Work Week campaigns – riding over 10,000 kilometres. UBC was recognized as best workplace and best in the higher education category for its participation levels.
- In support of a provincial-wide initiative, the University has installed 20 electric vehicle charging station that are available for use by employees with electric vehicles.
- UBC’s new “Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility” uses clean wood chippings and sawmill residues to generate up to two megawatts of energy for the Vancouver campus, producing enough electricity to power 1,500 homes as well as reducing the university’s natural gas consumption by 12 percent.
By Breeonne Baxter on April 18, 2013
A guest post by Jeffrey Preiss, Communications Coordinator, UBC Sustainability Initiative.
One day a year is not enough for UBC; it takes 365 days a year to celebrate the earth. As the world marks Earth Day on April 22, we want to share some of the real ways that everyone at UBC is working towards sustainability, through our commitments and innovations on campus.
Taking the bus (and bike)
Taking cars off the road means less traffic congestion, less greenhouse gas emissions, less fuel consumption. UBC is finding innovative ways to get people from point A to B without stepping into a car.
At the Vancouver campus, Since 1997 and the introduction of the UPass – a discounted monthly transit pass for students – transit trips to campus have almost quadrupled from 19,000 per year to nearly 75,000. Faculty and Staff also benefit from the added transit trip to UBC – the Employer Pass Program offers employees a discounted monthly pass through
UBC has also made cycling easier at the Vancouver campus with secure bike storage on campus, bike lanes and the Bike Kitchen, a non-profit, full-service community bike shop in the Student Union Building.
Training tomorrow’s superheroes
One for the biggest opportunities for UBC to influence sustainability worldwide lives with the 57,000 students and 14,000 staff and faculty who are part of the UBC community in Vancouver and Kelowna.
We’re working to transform the University’s curriculum so any student, whether studying medieval literature or chemical engineering, can incorporate sustainability in their studies. Right now UBC offers some 480+ sustainability-related courses and 25 degree programs. Staff and faculty tuition waivers can be used for some courses – check your employee group criteria to learn more.
Sustainability learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom. UBC graduate student Katie O’Callaghan never imagined her studies in community and regional planning would involve police car chases. But they did, through her involvement in the Greenest City Scholar program (a summer internship program that sponsors UBC graduate students to work with the City of Vancouver on sustainability projects). Katie helped reduce the Vancouver Police Department’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Living in the lab
UBC views the entire campus as a living laboratory, a giant sandbox in which there is the freedom to explore the technological, environmental, economic and societal aspects of sustainability, in a creative and collaborative way.
The latest living laboratory project is a new energy storage system developed in partnership with Alpha Technologies Inc. and Corvus Energy. The project involves three energy nodes that can supply one megawatt hour of stored energy (enough to power an average home for 1,000 hours), providing backup power for three campus buildings and supporting research into innovative energy solutions.
Putting money where our commitment is
UBC is investing $150 million in four signature sustainability projects that will help the University reach its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent by 2015, 67 per cent by 2020 and 100 per cent by 2050, based on 2007 levels.
One of these signature projects is the Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility (BRDF), which opened September 2012. The BRDF is the first demonstration of its kind in the world of a community-scale heat and power system fuelled by biomass. It is designed to generate enough electricity to power 1,500 homes and supply up to 12 per cent of UBC’s heat requirements while reducing UBC’s natural gas consumption and GHG emissions.
There are scores of universities working to “green” their buildings and campus operations. There are probably just as many committed to research and teaching around sustainability. What sets UBC apart is our commitment to deeply integrate our efforts in operations and academics.
The UBC Sustainability Initiative (USI), established in 2010, is the University’s agent in this innovation. USI fosters partnerships and collaborations that extend beyond traditional boundaries of disciplines, sectors and geographies to address the critical issues of our time.
Academics involved in sustainability teaching and research now sit on key operational committees. Students, staff and faculty members work together through programs like SEEDS to find innovative, sustainable solutions to meet campus needs. Researchers use campus buildings such as the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) and the Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility to test their sustainability ideas. Every day, we are finding more ways to incorporate sustainability into our operations and research at UBC.
To learn more real and exciting facts about why every day is Earth Day at UBC, read more of Our Story.