Cutting Emissions, Meeting Climate Action Goals

Cutting Emissions, Meeting Climate Action Goals

John Madden, Director of Sustainability and Engineering with Campus and Community Planning, reflects on UBC’s progress to meeting UBC’s climate action target of reducing emissions by 33 per cent by 2015, and 67 per cent by 2020.

HOW DOES YOUR ROLE SUPPORT CLIMATE ACTION AT UBC?

My role is to direct the work of Sustainability and Engineering in developing a plan that sets UBC on a course to achieve deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We develop and deliver policies and programs that help us move toward our aggressive Climate Action target of 67 per cent reduction below 2007 levels by 2020.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY PROUD OF?

The most significant achievement was the 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases below 2007 levels on the Vancouver campus, despite a 16 per cent increase in floor space and 22 per cent increase in student enrollment. The reductions in greenhouse gases were largely attributed to the steam to hot water conversion project (District Energy), displacement of natural gas through the Bio-energy Research and Demonstration Facility and optimizing academic building performance through the Building Tune-Up Program.

We are projecting to reach 33 per cent GHG reduction by the end of 2016 which will be a huge milestone for the university.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR CLIMATE ACTION AT UBC?
Our next initiative will assess alternatives to what UBC is using for energy on the Vancouver campus. We are looking at biomass and renewable natural gas as low carbon alternatives to natural gas, which is what we currently use primarily. Moving to one or both of these energy alternatives has the potential to greatly reduce our GHG emissions.
This assessment will be presented to Board of Governors next spring. We are already starting to implement a number of actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions through behavior change initiatives, including: the green labs program, launching of a new green office program, and working with students in residences to reduce their energy and emissions footprint.

We are also very excited to launch a new Green Building Planning process to address energy and emissions across
UBC’s portfolio of new and existing buildings.