The contribution, which results from discussions that occurred around the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, will support UBC’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) – expected to be the greenest building in North America when it opens in fall 2011 – and establish a research partnership between UBC and Modern Green Canada.
“Over the next 20 years, the world’s urban population is projected to increase by two billion people, so it is crucial that we dramatically improve the sustainability of the buildings we work and live in,” says UBC President Stephen Toope. “This partnership helps place UBC and Modern Green at the forefront of these efforts, accelerating the development of sustainable urban infrastructure and green building practices.”
With the partnership, UBC and Modern Green Canada will conduct applied research in sustainability policies and processes. The partnership also provides UBC a partner to help test and deploy advanced sustainable building technologies in an effort to provide market-based solutions to global sustainability challenges. Collaborations will take place at CIRS and Modern Green Canada sites worldwide, including its first North American development – a mixed-use green residential development planned in Wesbrook Village on UBC’s south campus that will include a sustainability research and development demonstration centre. Construction is planned to begin this summer.
“Modern Green, a leader in creating highly comfortable and energy-saving housing solutions, is looking forward to working with UBC researchers,” says Zhang Lei, Chairman of Modern Green, adding the partnership will include opportunities for knowledge transfer, personnel and student exchanges and experiential learning and research. “In collaboration with CIRS, Modern Green’s mixed-use residential building and demonstration centre at UBC will be a precedent-setting sustainable development for comfort and energy performance.”
By hosting investment programs during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and the Shanghai World Expo, the City of Vancouver leveraged its relationships with businesses, including Modern Green Canada, to advance investments in the green economy and strengthen Vancouver’s status as a leader in green enterprise.
“Bringing companies like Modern Green to Vancouver during the 2010 Games and showing them what we have to offer, was something we felt would pay off in the long run,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “By attracting one of China’s leading green developers to Vancouver, the City has further strengthened its position as a global hub for the green economy. Modern Green’s investments will help stimulate the local economy and job growth, as they continue to engage a number of local firms and build expertise by implementing new greener building technologies.”
CIRS and the Modern Green Canada partnership are part of UBC’s ongoing transformation into a living laboratory for sustainability research and action. UBC’s Vancouver campus has set aggressive carbon reduction targets, including the elimination of institutional greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Related projects include the UBC Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Project, which will produce clean energy through biomass gasification; and the UBC Sustainability Initiative, which integrates sustainability teaching, learning, research and operations.
“CIRS will be more than simply the greenest building in North America when it opens,” says John Robinson, Executive Director of the UBC Sustainability Initiative and Professor in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, who is leading CIRS’s creation. “It will be an important hub for sustainability research and action, where scholars and partners work to find innovative solutions to the challenges of urban development faster and more effectively than ever before.”
The Centre for the Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) is at the cutting edge of sustainable building design and operations, sustainability-focused partnerships and the development of interactive community engagement processes. No other centre in the world is combining all three activities under one umbrella, making this $37-million centre a true leader in sustainability. For more information, visit: www.cirs.ubc.ca.