The Government of British Columbia set into motion a comprehensive Climate Action Plan centered on the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act (Bill 44). According to the Act, all Public Sector Organizations (PSOs) must be carbon neutral in their operations by 2010. This is achieved in compliance with reporting Scope 1 and 2 emissions across buildings, fleet, fugitive emissions, and paper consumption. Carbon offsets are remitted annually to the Government of British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment.

PSO’s must also submit a Carbon Neutral Action Report (CNAR) for each calendar year which includes a description of the actions taken to minimize its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and plans to continue minimizing those emissions. View UBC Okanagan campus’ Carbon Neutral Action Reports


Measures to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions have been undertaken since 2006.

Chronology of Energy Management Activities

  • The Okanagan campus reduced carbon emissions by 29 per cent in 2018 over 2017.
  • The Commons library expansion project completed. Developed to achieve LEED Gold, the facility is designed to rely solely on the campus’ low carbon district energy system for heating.
  • UBC Okanagan achieved a 16 per cent reduction in Carbon Emissions as compared to the 2013 baseline year.
  • Commenced with the design of the University’s first Passivhaus building – equivalent to Step 4 of the BC Energy Step Code.
  • The campus achieved a 6 per cent reduction in Carbon Emissions over the previous reporting year.
  • UBC Okanagan Whole Systems Infrastructure Plan completed and endorsed by the UBC Okanagan Executive.
  • The campus established an MOU with FortisBC for Partners in Energy Efficiency and developed a dedicated Energy Team to support the implementation of energy and carbon reduction activities at UBC Okanagan.
  • In 2015 the campus achieved a 17 per cent absolute reduction in carbon emissions and over $150K in utility and cost reductions.
  • Integrated whole systems approach to the campus master planning process to optimize the campus’ sustainability resources (energy, water, waste), facilities, infrastructure (above and below ground), and ecosystems planning
  • Reichwald Health Sciences Centre (RHSC) certified LEED Gold
  • Power of You energy reduction behaviour change engagement strategy established in partnership with FortisBC
  • “The Hangar” Fitness and Wellness Centre, designed to LEED Gold standard, completed
  • Purcell student residence certified REAP Gold
  • Closed loop geo-exchange district energy system (DES) achieved full operation, with the integration of legacy academic buildings into the loop
  • Building Optimization Program (BOP) established in partnership with FortisBC
  • Engineering, Management and Education (EME) building, built to LEED Gold standard, completed
  • Installed 6 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in Lot E
  • Green roofs installed on EME, RHSC, and Purcell buildings
  • Arts and Science II (ASC) completed, receives Five Green Globes certification, equivalent to LEED Platinum
  • Cassiar student residence, built to REAP Silver standard, completed
  • Energy demand reduction through behaviour change programs
  • Completed installation of electricity and natural gas sub-metering on all existing buildings
  • PowerSense Conservation Award 2009 for the University Center at UBC Okanagan with a total estimated savings of 1,125,000 kWh/year
  • University Centre (UNC), built to LEED Gold standard, completed
  • Nicola student residence, built to REAP Silver standard, completed
  • Upper Cascades student residence, built to REAP Silver standard, completed
  • Geo-exchange building established
  • $127,000 rebate from FortisBC PowerSense Partners in Efficiency for energy saved by the geothermal system of the Fipke Centre.
  • $2.9 million in funding received from the Provincial and Federal government through the Knowledge Infrastructure fund to retrofit all existing academic buildings on campus using groundwater system for heating (geothermal).
  • Lower Cascades student residence, built to REAP Silver standard, completed
  • Fipke Centre for Innovative Research receives Five Green Globes certification, equivalent to LEED Platinum
  • Science Laboratory Heat Recovery Retrofit Project

Renewable Energy

UBC’s Okanagan campus features several demonstrations of increasing energy efficiency and performance by integrating renewable energy into operational consumption activities:

  • Geo-Exchange District Energy System (DES) – The DES is designed to demonstrate innovation in renewable energy. It provides heating and cooling to all new academic buildings and heating to all original academic buildings on campus. A key component to reducing natural gas consumption and associated utility costs and carbon emissions, the system was fully implemented in 2012 and is in the retro-commissioning phase of its development. In 2012, the transfer of waste heat from the Administration building data centre was integrated into the loop and optimization is ongoing. The system provides energy sharing between buildings, heat re-capture, thermal storage and flexibility for future fuel switching. For more information, click here.
  • Solar Thermal – Purcell and Nicola Residences utilize solar panels to pre-heat domestic hot water, which helps to reduce natural gas consumption.