Celebrating sustainability and climate action in SHCS

Celebrating sustainability and climate action in SHCS
On April 21, UBC Sustainability is hosting a Sustainability Celebration at the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS).

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.

Responsible purchasing

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

Acadia Community Garden
Acadia Park community garden revitalization

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.

EV chargers

Installed 10 EV chargers in our fleet parking lot for our Facilities and Building Services electrical fleet vehicles.

Fixture replacement

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 featuring the three globe-shaped logos, green, yellow and red to identify the quantity of GHG emissions for different types of food.

Climate-friendly food labels poster

Food Services

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.

Local purchasing

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.


Fleet vehicles

In spring 2022, we added two Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for our fleet, which is now 60% emissions-free vehicles.

EV Chargers

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


Responsible receipts

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.

Three students walking down a hallway in the new Skeena Residence building at UBC Okanagan.
Students walking in Skeena Residence, UBCO

Residence Life

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.

Learn more

Sustainability and climate action at UBC

Learn more about campus sustainability in Vancouver and the Okanagan, including transportation, green buildings, energy management, and more.

Plus, don’t miss the latest updates on UBC’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) 2030: Vancouver | Okanagan.

Sustainability and climate action in SHCS

Check out more sustainability stories and guides from the SHCS blog.

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Upcoming Events


30may5:45 pm6:45 pmNot Myself Today Workshop: Self and Community Care


03junAll Day09Go by Bike Week

06jun1:00 pm2:30 pmShoreline Cleanup

14junAll DayLongest Day Run/Walk


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