Institutional Energy and Carbon Targets

Depending on building use, UBC has energy and carbon performance targets for new projects and major renovations. The targets help to reduce building energy use and emissions over time and support UBC’s Climate Action Plan (CAP2030). 

Energy and Carbon Targets

UBC develops targets for each new major building project depending on the use of the building and based on the approved targets in the table below.

2022 & proposed 2025 energy and carbon targets for UBC's institutional buildings
  Student Residence Classroom/ Office Science/ Lab Building2
  2022 2025 2022 2025 2022 2025


2.2 1.9 2.8 1.3 4.8 - 6.3 4.3


100 84 100 78 236 - 328 249



24 20 23 16 n/a  


27 27 n/a n/a n/a n/a

Embodied Carbon


2022: 10% reduction in embodied carbon over baseline building

2025 proposed: 20% reduction in embodied carbon over baseline building

GHGI Greenhouse gas intensity; EUI Energy Use Intensity; TEDI Thermal Energy Demand Intensity; DHW domestic hot water
1 Electricity emissions factor =10.6 tCO2e/GWh (0.011 kgCO2e/kWh); District Energy emissions factor is based on monthly averages
2 Laboratory building energy targets will be determined for each facility using a weighted area calculation based on space usages.

Operational Energy and Carbon Targets

The energy and carbon performance targets are identified in a project’s Design Brief and are based on the uses within the building. A project’s design team will be given an opportunity to review and discuss the targets and their implication for building design; after final agreement on the targets the project shall be designed to meet this required performance.


UBC’s Approach to Energy Design

UBC seeks to design and construct buildings that minimize energy consumption, minimize emissions and are optimized for renewable energy sources. Building energy demand should be reduced through the following hierarchy, which can be applied across all building types

  1. Reduce energy demand through applying passive design strategies
    • Passive design strategies have significant potential to decrease energy use in buildings and to improve users’ comfort. An integrated design process is critical to ensure that the passive design strategies are considered at the appropriate time and in the appropriate sequence and combination. Consider: building orientation, building shape and massing, space planning related to passive energy savings strategies, window and glazing design and exterior solar management (see Vancouver Campus Plan Section 2.3.10).
  2. Design building envelope to maximize air tightness and minimize thermal bridging.
  3. Utilize high efficiency mechanical systems
    • Heating systems should make use of low temperature heating water (max 46C) to improve operating efficiency of central heat pumps
    • Connect building to the District Energy system (required by UBC Technical Guidelines).
    • Maximize energy recovery within the building to reduce peaking demand on the DES.
    • Design HVAC systems that are simple and are easy to operate and maintain.
    • For laboratories: refer to I2SL best practices.
  4. If building is not connected to DES, use electricity for peaking demand – natural gas equipment is not acceptable as per UBC Technical Guidelines. 
  5. Minimize electrical peak demand by minimizing the use of electric resistance heating