Message to the Community

At UBC, sustainability is a core pillar of our commitment to excellence that manifests in our scholarly and operational efforts throughout both campuses. Innovative research, our ecologically attuned campus facilities, and our leading role in sustainability education for tomorrow’s key decision-makers demonstrates our commitment to sustainability. Indeed, UBC’s international reputation for sustainability leadership reflects our long standing contributions.

As a leading research university, we are ideally positioned to champion discovery and innovation toward creating a better future. Every day, UBC students, faculty, and staff bring their expertise and passion to advance a sustainability-focussed body of knowledge and generate fresh ways to catalyze positive change.

Using the UBC campus as a living laboratory enables us to study, test and explore the challenges faced by cities, which in turn supports an innovation agenda that will help shape the communities and cities of the future.

The 2016/2017 fiscal year was a productive one for UBC. Faculty members continued to expand the sustainability-focussed body of knowledge on a number of significant issues.

These include an examination of the effect of global warming on fisheries, and development of smart road technology that resists heave rains, intense heat and poor drainage. Other research advanced our understanding of clean energy and transportation futures in British Columbia.

Driven by the need to manage costs and to mitigate climate change, our operational efforts continued to focus on investing in efficient energy generation and distribution, and reducing campus energy consumption by tuning up existing buildings, developing high performance buildings, and exploring low-carbon and renewable energy sources.

Thanks to these efforts, and despite a 19 per cent growth in building floor space and a 26 per cent increase in student population, UBC made its most significant achievement yet.

We reduced Vancouver campus greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 34 per cent relative to 2007 levels enabling us to meet our Climate Action Plan reduction target of 33 per cent.

Building efficiency projects have generated $2.0M in on-going savings. UBC’s investment into these projects has been limited to $2.6M. The total project cost is $6.8M with the difference being leveraged from incentives and other external funding opportunities.

At UBC Okanagan, the campus achieved a 40 per cent reduction in GHG emissions per FTE student since 2007 despite a 94 per cent increase in building floor space and an 86 per cent increase in student enrollment.

As a growing campus community, we aim to create a vibrant, complete, sustainable community at an urban neighbourhood scale. Linked to this aspiration we are delivering programming that advances inclusion and connectivity, health and wellbeing, and arts and culture.

With a history of over 20 years of achievement, our focus on sustainability has played a fundamental role in our pursuit of excellence across teaching, learning, research, operations, campus infrastructure, community development, and engagement.

Moving forward, UBC will continue to explore, innovate, and collaborate with partners as we strive to create the most sustainable university in the world and inspire sustainable urban transformation globally.


Dr. James Tansey
Acting Director
UBC Sustainability Initiative


Michael White
Associate Vice-President
Campus and Community Planning


Rob Einarson
Associate Vice-President
Finance & Operations, Okanagan