Ever since we (UBC students) decided to build a new student union building, sustainability has been a core part of the NewSUB project’s identity. Our new building is aiming to get LEED+ Platinum certification, which is the highest sustainable building status in North America. If we succeed, our building will be the most sustainable student union building in Canada. All thanks to our strong student sustainability culture.
Some quick facts about the building’s inherent sustainability features:
- There’s no mechanical air conditioning! Instead, fresh air is pumped through the floors, and hot air you have breathed out rises to the top and displaced out of the building. This is called passive air conditioning.
- You’ll use greywater to flush your toilets! Nothing new here, just makes sense to use the water we washed our hands with to take away our s*#t
- We use rainwater as well! This waters some non-edible landscaping and get put into our cooling system.
- Our building envelope is pretty thick, which keeps it warm when it should be and cold when it should be just like a big thermos.
- All tenants of the Nest are not allowed to use styrofoam. ITS BANNED.
If you’d like to know more about how the building itself works to have the smallest footprint possible feel free to peruse our architect – DIALOG’s project page here .
Beyond achieving LEED+ Platinum, many interactive sustainability features were envisioned for the new building.
Do you know the folks who run our Orchard Garden ? Well they are expanding and taking over the garden space on the rooftop of the SUB. It will be open for you to access anytime as a little park.
InVessel Composter – i.e. a massive 6 metre long biodigester
The AMS Composting project has been a long succession of student projects that managed to slowly upscale from a handful of red-wiggler worms into a massive anerobic machine to handle the building’s compost. We aim to completely close the loop on our organic waste, and reuse the compost created from our food scraps and compostable containers in our landscaping and gardens. For more info visit the project page or contact our compost coordinator, Claire Melanson at [email protected]
The Nest will be equipped with a state of the art building monitoring dashboard. By displaying information about the building’s energy consumption, water usage, and other metrics, occupants of the building will be able to see the magnitude of our environmental impact and adapt our behavior to reduce it. The main dashboard will be located in the AMS Sustainability Centre.
AMS Sustainability Centre
The building will also feature the AMS Sustainability Centre – a central space for sustainability groups and any other interested folk to gather, do work and present new ideas. In the centre you can also check out the new fancy dashboard monitoring system that will show us just how we are all doing in terms of our sustainability practices in the building. We are still consulting student groups on how to best use this space, please email David Stonham – Sustainability Projects Coordinator at [email protected] if you’d like to have a seat at our student input workshops.