UBC student team aims to build a net-zero student space on campus

People and Places | Strategy 2: Inspiring Spaces
Theme: Innovation
Artist’s rendering of the Third Space Commons

UBC’s award-winning Third Quadrant Design – a team of more than 60 students in engineering, architecture, business, and arts – is about to start construction of a new student space on campus that redefines sustainable design.

The 247-square-metre building, officially known as the Third Space Commons, will serve as a collaborative working space and living laboratory for students, industry partners and researchers to investigate zero emission, regenerative and climate-resilient design.

As a result of the team’s innovative choices in design, building materials and construction processes, Third Space Commons will potentially sequester more carbon than it emits over its life cycle. This goes far beyond conventional definitions of net zero, which tend to focus solely on a building’s energy efficiency.

Faculty advisor Dr. Adam Rysanek, Assistant Professor in UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, sees the students’ work as ground-breaking: “The idea of net-zero embodied carbon – to actually build a building that’s truly net zero – is something that has not yet been done by professionals to say nothing of students. That’s why this building will be hugely important for advancing the discussion and implementation of net zero in this province.”

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Through Strategy 2: Inspiring Spaces, UBC is working to establish dedicated, accessible and inspiring spaces, indoor and outdoor, that provide forums for interdisciplinary interaction and that showcase the impact of our work more broadly.