Category Archives: Projects

Water Consumption Marketing Project

The main goal of the Water Consumption Marketing Project was to reduce water consumption on campus to shift student behaviors from disposable water bottle purchases to using reusable bottles and filling them up on campus by increasing awareness of cleanliness and accessible water.

This project reduced the campus’s ecological footprint by promoting tap water, instead of plastic water bottles to students. They used the signs, stickers, and posters to show where water fountains are located and promoted reusable water bottles.

The signs, stickers and posters helped promote this cause making people more aware of water consumption and the negative impacts of plastic bottles. This brought the community together by helping out in a similar cause. It also raised awareness about clean, free tap water and its availability. The project also highlighted facts revolving around the cleanliness of Vancouver’s water compared to bottled water.

Longevity and Feasibility: This was a year long project. The impacts of these signs are long lasting and impactful.

How did the Water Consumption Marketing Project impact UBC? The stickers were put on residence doors, and the permanent plaques (like washroom signs) are long-lasting once implemented all over campus. Information from this project was used in the TapThat Campaign, as well as in the Water Bottle Free initiative that is taking place on campus currently.

Waterless Toilet

The objective of the Waterless Toilet is to demonstrate the viability and benefits associated with source-separating, waterless, toilets including struvite recovery from diverted urine and vermicomposting of human feces.

Human waste is most commonly flushed from toilet to sewers to WWTPs at great expense, GHGs, water volume, and downstream pollution. Composting toilets offer the hope of onsite, waterless, powerless, treatment. These fail unless urine is diverted.

This project initiated a series of long-term and short term research projects for a wide variety of students. Geoff co-founded the UBC Biodiesel Project back in 2002 and this project is of similar longevity, breadth, and depth.

There is an alarming misconception around conventional composting toilets in North America. Geoff’s Phd (at UBC) indicated their complete failure as public waste treatment systems. The education and outreach potential of this project was large given this common misconception.

Longetivity and Feasibility: This project initiated a long-term permanent research at UBC. Numerous faculty members are interested in the research. All aspects are 100% feasible. The structure is built and functional. Europe is far ahead and have proven this feasibility.

How has the Waterless Toilet impacted UBC? This public source-separating (urine-diverting) toilet is the first of its kind in Western Canada. One European origin toilet exists in a golf-course in Quebec. Public operators from all over North America desire to visit / view this system.

UBC Food Systems Map

The goal of the UBC Food Systems Map is to create an interactive map of the UBC Campus Sustainable Food System to encourage student, staff, faculty and community engagement in sustainable practices.

Creating a map of sustainable food initiatives within the UBC food system increases awareness for sustainable food choices which leads to an increased demand in sustainable food outlets.

The map is as interactive and user friendly as possible through literature review and by using a graphic designer to ensure that student engagement in the sustainable food system through our map is easy and accessible.

The interactive map builds awareness of sustainable food outlets at UBC through the internet, a worldwide platform. At the same time, it provides an opportunity to educate users about sustainability and how it can be achieved.

Longetivity and Feasibility: The map is maintained through the SEEDS (Social Ecological Economic Development Studies) program. By creating an online version, the project ensured continued relevance and evolution as the map can be easily updated and adjusted.

How has the UBC Food Systems Map impacted UBC? By highlighting the sustainable food initiatives at UBC, it increased awareness of The AMS Campus Food Services, UBC Food Services, Waste Management, and sustainable options on campus and increased the likelihood of people choosing these options.

UBC Journal of International Affairs

The UBC Journal of International Affairs is a 28-year old, student-run, peer- and faculty-reviewed, academic journal. Their project goal was to offset printing on 100% post-consumer paper using vegetable-based inks from a local printing company.

The Journal of International Affairs is committed to using only 100% recycled paper, as well as vegetable-based inks for printing the Journal. All journal printing will be carbon-offset by our local printing company, MET Fine Printers.

The Journal has always sought to foster opportunities for students to become more involved in campus life. It is entirely staffed by student volunteers, UBC students author the published papers, and the final publication is intended for UBC students.

The Journal is meant to expose students to fresh perspectives on global issues. With funds available from an AMS grant, they aimed to illustrate that sustainable printing options exist and that UBC has the infrastructure to support these projects.

Longetivity and Feasibility: They journal worked with MET Fine Printers, a local sustainable printing copy, to create a lasting partnership and build on the foundations of a durable partnership.

How has the UBC Journal of International Affairs impacted UBC? The jounral has become a publication that every International Relations student wants on their bookshelf. Further, by including the AMS Sustainability logo, they set a standard for sustainable printing.

Botanical Garden Stormwater Management

The purpose of this project is to conduct a set of on-site experiments to measure the stream flow in West Creek and Rock Creek in order to calculate the total amount of stormwater that can be collected to reduce the irrigation demands on campus.

By measuring the flow rate data and calculating the total amount of collectable stormwater, this project helps in the reduction of the demand and energy consumption of the irrigation system in the UBC Botanical Garden.

Students worked with different stakeholders such as the UBC Botanical Garden and UBC Sustainability Office. The Project was directly involved in the monitoring routine, data collecting, data compiling and final report presentation.

Educating other students is a priority for the Stormwater Mangagement project. The results of the project were further discussed in the decision making process of whether a retention facility on UBC campus is preferable or not. Similar stormwater retention strategies can potentially be studied in other landscape types in UBC Point Grey Campus.

Longetivity and Feasibility of the project: The flow rate data are directly related the total amount of stormwater retention. By installing the proper datalogger, the data are easy to collect. The project will last for ten weeks and the flow data will be always available for recording.

How has the Stormwater Management project impacted UBC? The implementation of this project is further interpreted and applied by constructing proper stormwater retention infrastructure to reduce the irrigation demands in the various landscape designs in the UBC Point Grey Campus.


The Biodiesel project consists of two students that work on a biodiesel plant and promote the project at UBC. The goal of the project is to test the production of biodiesel from waste oil. The long term goal is to encourage the construction of a larger economically sustainable biodiesel plant.

Reducing the Ecological Footprint of UBC Campus is a high priority for The Biodiesel Project: One litre of biodiesel produced offsets approximately one litre of conventional diesel fuel. Biodiesel contains virtually no sulphur or aromatics, and its use results in reductions of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulates.

Involving other students is the main goal with any on-campus project.

Reaching out and educating others is very important to the project. The experience of working in alternative energy production continues to show students that opportunities exist to use their engineering education in sustainable industry. Undergraduate students were supervised by volunteer graduate students, creating a student-student learning/working environment.

The Biodiesel project knows that there is longetivity and feasibility in the use of waste oil for fuel on campus. The goal of this project is to create a sustainable biodiesel production scenario where production can be completely overseen by student volunteers and funded through the biodiesel sales.

How has The Biodiesel Project impacted UBC? This project is entirely run within the UBC community. The raw feedstock was sourced from Food Services, the biodiesel is produced in the CHBE department, and the produced fuel is used in vehicles operated by SHHS reducing UBC’s emissions

Back to the Hanky Campaign

The Hanky Campaign works to change student behaviour on campus by encouraging the use of handkerchiefs for hand-drying thus reducing paper towel consumption on campus. So far the survey has suggested that there is a relationship between hankie usage and reduction of paper towel use.

Reducing the Ecological Footprint of UBC Campus is a high priority for the Hanky Project. Paper towels = Water + Trees + Energy. Garbage = landfills–Recycling is good, but Reducing is BEST.

Involving other students is the main goal with any on-campus project. Throughout the Hanky Campaign, students were actively thinking about personal sustainability, and became more aware of the negative points involved with our disposable culture.

Reaching out and educating others is very important to the Hanky Project. The project felt that talking to students face to face is much more effective than reaching them through social media–face-to-face interaction helps students to think more about personal sustainability and raises consciousness of rampant disposable culture. Face-to-face interaction was conducted upon receiving the hanky.

The Hanky Project knew that there is longetivity and feasibility in the use of a hanky vs. paper towels. By charging for the handkerchiefs, the project can have funds for another wave of the campaign on UBC campus.

How has The Hanky Campaign impacted UBC? By the reduction of paper towel use, and increased awareness of disposable culture.

Albus Project

The Albus Project represents an opportunity for campus residents to experience UBC as a living laboratory. The goal of the project is to test how real-time information systems can help to achieve energy and water savings in Clements Green through behavioral changes.

Reducing the Ecological Footprint of UBC Campus is a high priority for The Albus Project. By using natural gas to heat water in Clements Green Building, the project is able to reduce the amount of hot water consumed in the building.

Involving other students is the main goal with any on-campus project. The Albus Project subjects building occupants to a social marketing approach for changing behavior and as as result, occupants feel apart of the project process. Lessons learnt from the project have the potential to be applied to a student residence building on campus.

Reaching out and educating others is very important to The Albus Project. The project knows that energy conservation and other sustainability projects bring good reputation for communities that successfully implement them, and this served as an incentive for The Albus Project to achieve its objective so that the same approach could be used as a template and applied to the whole campus residential complex.

The Albus Project knows that there is longetivity and feasibility in behavioral change. Once people have sucessfully changed their behavior, the changes are permanent and conservation objectives will stay–therefore, lessons learned during the project are bound to have a long term pay off in terms of sustainability.

How has The Albus Project impacted UBC? Since the project is conducted in a UNA building, the impact is direct. Not to mention that bigger projects like this could help UBC to achieve its GHG emission reduction objectives with lower capital costs since conservation is achieved through behavioral changes.

Quick View: AMS Sustainability Fund Projects

Converting solar energy, food waste, and waste oil, into more efficient, sustainable, and environmentally conscious uses are just a few of the amazing ideas that have come to life with help from the AMS Sustainability Fund. UBC’s student society continues to search for students with innovative ideas to make campus a more sustainable place. To read more about UBC Solar, Worm Composting, Biodiesel, or any of the other AMS Sustainability funded projects and events, or to learn more about how you can submit your idea, visit the AMS Sustainability website at /.

To learn more about current AMS Sustainability funded projects, stay tuned for information on how to attend monthly open houses in the 2013/2014 academic year.

Vlog: Solar Power Car

UBC students are building a car powered entirely by solar electricity. With financial support from the AMS Sustainability fund, the incredible students from UBC Solar were able to perfect the design of their solar powered car using composite materials.

Want to learn more about the Solar Car project and other student-led sustainability initiatives on campus? Stay tuned during the 2013/2014 academic year for information on how to attend monthly AMS Sustainability open houses.