The Sustainability Scholars Program is an innovative paid internship program. We match UBC graduate students with on- and off-campus sustainability partners to work on applied research projects that advance sustainability across the region.
Apply your research skills to real-world sustainability challenges
Get paid and gain valuable professional work experience
Develop applied skills and knowledge under the guidance of a mentor
Build your professional network and enhance your career prospects

How It Works

The program is open to full-time UBC graduate students from any program or discipline. As a Sustainability Scholar, you work under the guidance of a mentor on an applied research project that supports their organization's sustainability goals.

Apply

UBC Sustainability Scholars work on applied research projects across a wide range of environmental, economic and social sustainability topics. See our list of current paid internship opportunities.

Project Library

The Scholars Project Library contains hundreds of reports, charts, tool-kits, and more, documenting the applied research produced by Scholars since 2010. A useful body of knowledge to support further research around sustainability.

Meet the scholars

UBC Sustainability Scholars come from all kinds of backgrounds and academic disciplines. Scholars stand out for being passionate about sustainability, having a strong work ethic, and for their applied research skills.

Partner with us

Partner organizations are essential to the UBC Sustainability Scholars Program. Partners provide work experience for UBC graduate students and benefit from their applied research.

About Scholars

Sustainability Scholars’ projects have been helping to move the dial on sustainability across the region for over 10 years. Find out more about our history, milestones, and impact.

Project Library

This project provides a non-technical explanation of the functioning of blockchain technology and its main attributes such as trust, traceability, transparency and decentralization. It also outlines the potential uses of this technology in the transportation sector while analyzing the benefits it could bring in cases related to Mobility as a Service (MaaS), supply chain and tolling systems in different cities.

Partner: TransLink
Keywords: supply chain management & green procurement, transportation

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2019
Citlali Cruz Cruz

Interest in transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources has encouraged the development and refinement of new technologies. This report researches the alternative technologies available for off-grid microgeneration applications for Metro Vancouver sites. A high-level feasibility study was conducted to determine which technologies might replace current solar, thermoelectric, and battery energy-based systems, and to recommend next steps for exploring promising technologies.

Partner: Metro Vancouver
Keywords: sustainable development, green economy, water infrastructure

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2019
Narain Khera

As the residential green building industry grows, there has been a proliferation of resources to help inform the building community. These resources, however, are spread over several websites and include duplications, making it difficult to find targeted information. The Net Zero Energy Ready Residential Buildings Toolkit tackles this problem by linking to the most relevant sections of the available documentation, and by organizing these links in an intuitive manner.

Partner: Zero Emissions Building Exchange (Zebx)
Keywords: green buildings, sustainable development, green economy 

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2019
Daniel Eden

This project looks at the costs and benefits of transitioning full-service restaurant kitchens from gas-powered ranges and griddles to induction ranges and griddles in order to reduce the carbon footprint of Vancouver’s restaurant industry. The research draws on low carbon best practices examples found in California and Ecuador to make recommendations on policies and strategies that the City of Vancouver can employ.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: climate and renewables, green buildings, green economy

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2019
Solomon Atta

This project pilots the National Industrial Symbiosis Program (NISP) in the City of New Westminster and investigates its impact on growing and developing important synergies between businesses. Based on the results, it recommends that the City should consider continuing to support NISP Canada, given the strong alignment between the NISP model and the City of New Westminster policy goals, strategies and action items, as well as foster greater collaboration with municipalities for a regional circular economy.

Partner: City of New Westminster
Keywords: Industrial Ecology, Industrial Symbiosis, Citizen Engagement, Adaptive Economy

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2018
Hannah MacDonald

Considering the alarming health and economic burden caused by sugar sweetened beverage consumption, one of the goals of UBC Wellbeing is to increase tap water consumption and decrease sugary beverage consumption among UBC Community members. The objective of this project was to engage the UBC community of staff, students and faculty in developing an evidence-informed strategy to promote water consumption and reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages on campus to be rolled out in the summer of 2018. Feedback from the UBC community was obtained through an online survey and a series of engagement meetings.

Partner: UBC Wellbeing
Keywords: social sustainability, food systems

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2018
Sara Kozicky

The following study compiles the UBC's accomplishments and challenges in terms of energy infrastructure, and shows UBC’s ability to use the campus as a test bed to demonstrate innovative sustainability solutions. This study covers a period of twenty years, from 1997 when the first Sustainability Office was created to the present day, when the Vancouver campus has become an example of sustainability, aggressive Green House Gas (GHG) reduction targets and innovative energy production systems.

Partner: UBC Sustainability Initiative
Keywords: green buildings, sustainability in education

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2018
Charles Lankester

This document details contributions to the LiteFarm application project. LiteFarm is a multifunctional web app that aims to help farmers make day-to-day decisions, and encourage them to farm more sustainably. The feature set in LiteFarm was created based on a farmer participatory design process, including iterative user experience and user interface testing. 

Update May, 2020
Craig's foundational work in 2018 helped the UBC Farm build and refine the LiteFarm application. LiteFarm is now the world’s first community-led, not-for-profit, digital platform joining farmers and scientists together for participatory assessment of social, environmental and economic outputs of farming systems. 

You can see the tool at www.litefarm.org and read updated documentation on Github.

Partner: UBC Farm
Keywords: ecological systems, food systems, sustainable development & green economy

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2018
Craig Yu

This report looks to shed light on the problems that are preventing improvement in our energy modeling capabilities, and the actions that should be taken to overcome them. Energy models are used to evaluate the energy performance of a building, but there is an issue known as the “performance gap,” which means that the energy usage that the model predicts can vary significantly from the final performance of the building. The steps and methods needed to reduce these performance gaps are covered in this report.

Partner: UBC Sustainability & Engineering
Keywords: green buildings

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2018
Denon Sheppard

This report summarizes the activities undertaken by the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) Charter working group in the development of the ISCN Sustainable Campus Charter. It is designed to serve as a knowledge translation tool; the purpose is to create a document that will prove useful for other organizations who endeavour to lead a charter development process.

Partner: USI
Keywords: leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability, sustainability in education

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2018
Shannon Lambie

The District of West Vancouver has recently adopted a set of mandatory requirements for new construction to comply with the BC Energy Step Code. Aligned with this and other local policies, the District is studying the possibility of implementing a community-wide energy budget to limit the energy demand of single-family homes. This report includes a summary of existing housing stock, provincial policies, and green building rating systems to consider in the implementation of an energy budget. The report also includes an analysis of the interaction of these three components and how they can affect future construction.

Partner: District of West Vancouver
Keywords: green buildings

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2018
Oscar Valdes

Since 2011, the City of North Vancouver has had energy targets and guidelines in place to ensure that all new developments in the city meet progressive energy targets. This Sustainability Scholars project sought to analyse the trove of data created through the Energy Efficient Buildings Initiative to identify the tradeoffs being identified by builders in the area who are looking to meet and exceed the energy targets. The analysis of the building data will provide an opportunity for local builders to meet and exceed the future energy standards that are required through the BC Step Code.

Partner: City of North Vancouver
Keywords: green buildings, leadership & behaviour change

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2018
Colin Jeffery

The BC Energy Step Code is a series of amendments to the Building Act and the Local Government Act that have been adopted by the Province of British Columbia. This research was conducted for the City of Abbotsford to investigate how local municipalities are implementing or referencing the BC Energy Step Code, and to see how the City might move forward with implementation.

Partner: City of Abbotsford
Keywords: green buildings, leadership & behaviour change

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2018
Pera Hardy

Currently, there are more than 500 public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations located throughout MEtro Vancouver. The use of these charging stations is increasing, but it is not yet clear the degree to which they are relied upon compared to residential charging. This project was developed to better understand the impact that public charging infrastructure has on EV adoption, trip behaviour and lifestyles in Metro Vancouver.

Partner: Fraser Basin Council
Keywords: transportation

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2018
Diana Aguilar and Yehan Chen

Manufacturing businesses have traditionally operated in a linear fashion. Raw materials go in; products and waste go out. In recent years, there has been a global movement to change how we see ‘waste’. By finding value in all business outputs, materials circulate back through the economy, creating the circular economy. This project describes a pilot test of the National Industrial Symbiosis Program (NISP®) to create a circular economy in New Westminster.

Partner: City of New West
Keywords: sustainable development & green economy

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2018
Hannah MacDonald

The aim of this project is to help inform City staff on preferred planning policy and regulatory options specific to what is sometimes referred to in BC’s Lower Mainland as ‘missing middle’ housing. That is, policies relevant to ground-oriented wood-frame multi-residential buildings such as townhomes, row homes, duplexes, triplexes and quadraplexes, as well as multi-residential housing forms such as stacked townhomes and 4- to 6-storey mid-rise apartment buildings. 

Partner: City of New West
Keywords: green buildings

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2018
Nidah Dara

The purpose of this study is to conduct quantitative analyses to determine the energy conservation measures (ECMs) that tend to drive the most cost-effective approaches to minimizing GHG emissions from new buildings. This study will enable the City of Surrey to provide builders and other stakeholders a clear picture of what they should focus on (that is, which ECM options to prioritize) in order to achieve greater GHG emissions reductions.

Partner: City of Surrey
Keywords: green buildings

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2018
Harnavpreet Channi

The City of Surrey aims to achieve 80 percent reduction in GHG emissions per capita by 2050 (below 2007 levels). Currently, several leading cities across the world are implementing innovative and effective policies and programs. This study aims to further develop a “policy ecosystem framework” that the City of Surrey can use to systematically reduce GHG emissions from the existing building stock by summarizing the multi-pronged strategies these leading cities are taking through the market transformation lens.

Partner: City of Surrey
Keywords: green buildings, sustainable development & green economy

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2018
Jiaxin Li

The City of Surrey aims to achieve 80 percent reduction in GHG emissions per capita by 2050 (below 2007 levels). Currently, several leading cities across the world are implementing innovative and effective policies and programs. This study aims to further develop a “policy ecosystem framework” that the City of Surrey can use to systematically reduce GHG emissions from the existing building stock by summarizing the multi-pronged strategies these leading cities are taking through the market transformation lens.

Partner: City of Surrey
Keywords: green buildings, sustainable development & green economy

PDF
2018
Jiaxin Li

The Township of Langley plans to develop a corporate building energy policy for new and major renovations for city-owned and operated buildings. The intent of this project is to mainly focus on creating a corporate building policy that is centered on BC Energy Step Code adoption for Part 3 buildings. Research was conducted to identify the corporate building policies of other local governments in British Columbia, and understand which type of facilities these policies apply to, what are the capital cost related implications of adopting these policies, and what are their associated benefits.

Partner: Township of Langley
Keywords: green buildings

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2018
Ghazal Ebrahimi

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