New UBC project pilots solutions for one of BC’s major sources of carbon emission

People and Places | Strategy 3: Thriving Communities
Theme: Innovation

On March 20, the Net-Zero Advisory Body (NZAB) announced funding for sixteen new research projects that will catalyze climate change analysis and support broader conversations on net-zero. The funding, which amounts to close to $10-million, is being allocated through the Environmental Damages Fund’s Climate Action and Awareness Fund, administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Among the recipients is UBC’s, “Pathways to Net-zero Embodied Carbon in Buildings: barriers and solutions to effective policies and actions,” which will develop and pilot solutions to accelerate emission reductions from embodied carbon in building materials.  

“Decarbonization of the building sector, including emissions from materials, is critical to achieving global climate change goals. We are excited about this opportunity to create collaborations across the region and advance innovation solutions to embodied emission reductions for BC and Canada.” 

Angelique Pilon, Director of Urban Innovation Research, Sustainability Hub

Buildings are the third largest contributor to Canada’s total carbon emissions, and one third of building emissions correspond to embodied carbon emissions. These are the emissions generated by the production, installation, use and recycling and/or disposal of a building’s materials. They are distinct from operational carbon generated from energy used in the building for electricity, heating and cooling.

While there are currently many policies, at various levels of government, intended to reduce operational emissions from buildings, there are relatively few targeting emissions from materials. Therein lies an opportunity to make significant progress towards net-zero carbon emissions, as policies and practices to reduce embodied carbon in buildings also impact manufacturing and transportation activities ‘up-stream’ in material production, and recycling and reuse practices ‘downstream’ at the end of the material’s useful life.

Led by the Sustainability Hub and part of the Campus as a Living Lab initiative, the project endeavours to build off of past research and innovation, such as Brock Commons Tallwood House, and expand collaborations between UBC researchers, staff, and students with regional and local governments, non-profits, and industry partners.

Please visit the Sustainability Hub website to read the full update.

Through Strategy 3: Thriving Communities, UBC is committed to supporting the ongoing development of sustainable, healthy and connected campuses and communities.