As part of the celebration, they asked the UBC community to submit sustainability and climate action achievements from the past year to be featured at the event.
Highlighting sustainability across SHCS
We rounded up so many great actions, initiatives and projects from across SHCS that we wanted to make sure we highlighted them for each of you too.
Staff and departments across the unit are working hard to incorporate sustainability and climate action into our operations and help us meet our sustainability commitments and the goals set out in the university’s Climate Action Plan 2030. Many thanks to everyone in SHCS for your continued commitment to this critical work.
Within SHCS, there are many opportunities to make a big difference in advancing sustainability and climate action—and UBC/SHCS is uniquely positioned to lead globally and locally across our campuses and communities.
UBC Sustainability Celebration
Learn more about and register for UBC’s Sustainability Celebration on April 21.
SHCS Sustainability achievements: 2022/23
Conferences and Accommodation
Replaced single-use products
- Installed bulk shampoo, conditioner and body wash dispensers in our Signature Studio hotel rooms, saving 142,000+ mini plastic bottles annually.
- Now using refillable glass bottles for conference speakers.
Purchasing liquid bath products from Gilchrist & Soames BeeKind collection. Along with the recyclable packaging and skin-friendly formulas, Gilchrist & Soames supports honey bee and sustainable pollination research at the University of California at Davis Entomology Department by donating a portion of the proceeds from the sales of BeeKind products to the UC Davis Honey Bee Research Program.
Digital virtual assistant
Currently replacing our hard copy hotel info binders with a digital virtual assistant, saving thousands of pages of paper each year.
“We all play a part in advancing sustainability and tackling climate change. Our goal is to reduce our impact on the environment while also maintaining the quality of life for our residents and guests.” — Debra Eng, Ancillary Energy Manager, SHCS + Athletics and Recreation
Facilities and Building Services
Acadia Community Garden
Revitalized planters at Acadia Park student family residence, which has 80 plots for resident use.
Decarbonization of gas-fired equipment
- Replaced gas-fired ventilation units at Marine Drive residence with electric heat pump units. Annual CO2 reduction: 483 tonnes.
- Replaced gas-fired water heaters at West Coast Suites hotel with CO2 heat pumps. Annual CO2 reduction: 25 tonnes.
Installed 10 EV chargers in our fleet parking lot for our Facilities and Building Services electrical fleet vehicles.
At Marine Drive, Fairview Crescent and St. John’s College:
- Replaced fluorescent and incandescent lighting with LED lighting, reducing power consumption for lighting by 40%.
- Replaced shower heads with more efficient versions, which reduced water consumption for showers by 40% and energy for hot water by 20%.
Climate-friendly food labels poster
All Access Dining
We launched All Access Dining in first year residence dining halls, which removed single-use beverage containers and increased food security and social sustainability for students.
Climate-friendly food labels
We continued to pilot and test climate-friendly food labels at all three residence dining locations.
We continued to prioritize small scale, BC-owned food businesses as close to UBC as possible—especially the UBC Farm in Vancouver and Land to Table Food Network food producers in the Okanagan.
Zero Waste Foodware
We continued to be a leader and take action on UBC’s Zero Waste Foodware strategy.
In spring 2022, we added two Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for our fleet, which is now 60% emissions-free vehicles.
In fall 2022, three new EV Fast Charging Stations at Thunderbird Parkade went into operation, which will contribute data to UBC Engineering researchers as part of the Renewable Energy Hub project.
UBC Renewable Energy Hub
We continue to support and collaborate on this innovative project, which includes the EV charge stations, a solar array on top of Thunderbird Parkade and BC’s first hydrogen production and refuelling station.
“I enjoy translating UBC’s big strategic goals into guidelines and resources that empower staff at all levels of our organization to make purchasing and operational decisions with a climate and sustainability lens.” — Paula McCready, Purchasing Manager, SHCS
Transitioned to EcoChit receipt paper across SHCS (both campuses), where we use 650,000+ feet annually. While traditional BPA-coated receipt paper is non-recyclable, EcoChit is fully-compostable, phenol-free, BPA/BPS-free, recyclable and responsibly sourced. Plus, EcoChit also partners with Ocean Wise to plant kelp forests off the coast of Vancouver Island.
CFFS Action Team
Continued participation on the Climate Friendly Food System Action Team and associated SEEDS projects to support the development of the campus-wide Climate-Friendly Food System Procurement Guidelines.
Indigenous Procurement Strategy
Collaborating on the development and implementation of a strategy to prioritize Indigenous businesses and vendors.
Digital orientation experience
In summers 2022 and 2023, we are transitioning to a primarily digital orientation experience for new residents. By not printing 20,000+ copies of our new-to-residence student and parent publications, we will save the equivalent of 200,000+ sheets of 11×17” paper—or over 4,500 kilograms of C02e.*
*CO2e stands for “Carbon Dioxide Equivalent”, which includes CO2 and other greenhouse gases.
Sustainability Living Learning Community
At UBCO, the Sustainability Living Learning Community (a student residence community) hosted Swap Not Shop—a cashless thrift store— and the Knit Don’t Quit event, where they taught residents how to crochet and knit their own clothes. Plus, they went on a field trip to a local thrift store to learn about sustainability in fashion and transportation.
Sustainability and climate action in SHCS
Check out more sustainability stories and guides from the SHCS blog.
Meet Debra Eng, our Ancillary Energy Manager, and learn more about how she’s working to reduce energy use in our buildings. Plus, get Debra’s energy saving tips for work—and home!
Check out this useful guide from our SHCS Purchasing Manager to help you keep the holiday season a little easier on the earth—and your your bank account!
Find out how UBC Okanagan Food Services is helping to support a burgeoning network of local food growers and producers.