UBC plays a unique role as a global leader in sustainability and a hub for technological innovation and research. For over 20 years, sustainability has been at our foundation – in campus operations, research, teaching, and student engagement. We commit our entire community, including our land, assets and utilities, to sustainability research, teaching and learning.
In 2010, UBC’s Board of Governors approved the UBC Climate Action Plan (CAP), which provided a pathway to net zero emissions from the Vancouver campus by 2050. A subsequent update to the Climate Action Plan selected technologies to achieve significant short term reductions, primarily via an expansion of the Bio-energy Research and Demonstration Facility.
Plan Goals and Targets
The primary target of the Climate Action Plan is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100% from 2007 levels by 2050.
The Plan has a number of goals that are categorized by 6 reduction areas:
- Existing Buildings
- New Buildings
- Energy Supply
- Behaviour Change
- Complimentary Opportunities
To read about the Plan targets and goals in detail, download the Climate Action Plan.
Success to Date
UBC has set some of the most aggressive GHG reduction targets in North America. In 2018, our Vancouver campus emitted 38% less GHG emissions than it did in 2007, despite a 21% growth in building floor space and a 32% increase in student population.
Over the past 10 years, multiple projects have significantly reduced GHG emissions at the UBC Vancouver Campus:
Campus Energy Centre
The 45MW Campus Energy Centre is a hot water district energy system that replaced the campus’ 90-year-old steam system used to heat many of our buildings. This upgrade improved energy efficiency by over 24%, reduced GHG emissions by 20%, and reduced operational costs by $5.5 million per year.
Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility
Each year the Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility (BRDF) converts approximately 9000 tonnes of locally sourced clean wood waste to produce over 25% of the total campus thermal energy (building heating and hot water). An expansion is planned for this facility in 2020, which will significantly reduce our GHG emissions and our reliance on fossil fuels such as natural gas for heating.
Building Tune-up Program
Since implementation, the Building Tune-up Program has retrofitted and recommissioned many new and existing buildings on campus.
Carbon Neutral Action Reporting
UBC has offset operational GHG emissions since 2010 as part of the British Columbia Carbon Neutral Government Program. Annual Carbon Neutral Action Reports are required under the province's carbon neutral regulation. The reports track UBC's actions and progress towards carbon neutrality, and our achievements toward the goals of UBC's Climate Action Plan.
Community Energy and Emissions Plan
To address climate action and greenhouse gas emission reduction in UBC's residential neighbourhoods, we developed a plan that identifies an energy and emissions strategy that will result in an 85% reduction in GHG emissions and a 36% reduction in electricity use by 2050.