This article originally appeared in UBC Engineering on 23 July 2019.

Two UBC Faculty of Applied Science projects aimed at delivering innovative energy solutions will receive support from Natural Resources Canada, the Government of Canada announced today.

A project led by the UBC Clean Energy Research Centre (in partnership with BC Hydro and Cypress Power) will receive $2.3 million to develop an efficient, cost-effective and scalable renewable energy system. With this project, vehicles and buildings become active participants in city-scale energy transactions. UBC will leverage this investment to build upon its smart and connected campus test bed and explore ways of integrating clean energy into transportation systems for healthy, livable and sustainable cities.

The second project, led by UBC Properties Trust (in partnership with the UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and UBC Campus and Community Planning), will receive $3.5 million to design, develop and build one of Canada’s largest certified passive house multi-unit residential building (MURB) developments.

“With the support of Natural Resources Canada and project partners, UBC will continue its urgent efforts to combat the harmful effects of climate change and to make cities more inclusive, resilient and sustainable,” said James Olson, dean of the UBC Faculty of Applied Science, which encompasses both the Clean Energy Research Centre and the UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. “We are proud to be part of the creation and adoption of clean technologies and infrastructure that can contribute to a greener future for Canada and the rest of the world.”

The Clean Energy Research Centre-led project will convert a UBC campus parkade into a renewable energy micro-grid. After integrating bi-directional electric vehicle charging infrastructure into existing building management systems, the research team will model the energy system and monitor the energetics of 25 electric vehicles over the course of four years. This information will ultimately be used to produce electric vehicle charging infrastructure that optimizes energy use by consumers and utilities, as well as new protocols, modelling and computational techniques and business models for electric vehicles. 

The UBC Properties Trust-led project, located in Wesbrook Place Neighbourhood at the UBC Vancouver Campus, will be a six-storey, wood frame building with 111 rental units dedicated to UBC faculty and staff. The project team will collect building performance data such as energy use, emissions and indoor environmental quality and compare it to data collected from similarly sized MURBs. This data and new knowledge will help Canada further develop best practices and accelerate the adoption of sustainable building practices.  

Both UBC Applied Science projects take advantage of the university’s campus, an independent municipality that can serve as a city-scale testbed for modelling sustainable energy, building and transportation solutions.

The funding was announced today on the UBC Vancouver campus by Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources.