Building Inhabitants

In addition to the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, the CIRS building houses an interdisciplinary collection of academic research units, operational units, partner organizations and food services. Below is the current list of inhabitants groups.

In addition to the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, the CIRS building houses an interdisciplinary collection of academic research units, operational units, partner organizations and food services. Below is the current list of inhabitants groups.

UBC Academic Research Units

Acoustic & Noise Research Group

The Acoustics & Noise Research Group (ANRG) is run jointly by the School of Environmental Health and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. It conducts research and studies ways to optimize acoustical environments to the benefit of the health, safety, education, well-being and comfort of the people in and around them.

Director: Dr. Murray Hodgson


Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS)

Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) is an interdisciplinary research institution that aims to accelerate the adoption of sustainable building technologies and sustainable urban development practices in society. Research projects and programs within CIRS engage complex cross-scale, cross-discipline issues at the intersections of innovative technology, human health/well-being and behaviour, and socio-political influences.

Interim Academic Director: Dr. James Tansey


Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing

Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing is under the Sauder School of Business, which focuses on utilizing business tools to advance social innovation and sustainability, through research, incubation and application. The core research themes are low carbon economy, social economy and economic development with First Nations.

Executive Director: Dr. James Tansey


Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP)

The Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning is an interdisciplinary research group, operating jointly in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and the Department of Forest Resources Management. CALP develops accessible sustainable solutions focused on climate action and education that bridge research and practice by applying data-modeling, visualizations, innovative environmental design and participatory processes to community and landscape planning.

Director: Dr. Stephen Sheppard



ElementsLAB is an urban form and environment research group in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA). The Lab works primarily through the development of elementsdb, a case-based database of urban land use ‘elements’ (e.g. buildings, streets and open spaces), and interactive 2- and 3D modelling and visualizations.

Directors: Ron Kellet and Cynthia Girling


Psychology Lab

The Psychology Lab is run by the department of psychology and specifically focuses on research into the human behavioural aspects of sustainability. It is home to the new Canada Research Chair on Cognitive Science and Behavioral Sustainability.

Department Head: Dr. Alan Kingston
Behavioral Sustainability Research Chair: Dr. Jiaying Zhao



Operated by the Sauder School of Business, the educates individuals and organizations in design processes and tools that foster the co-creation of innovative solutions to complex problems. The intent behind the studio is to advance the practice of Strategic Design through knowledge mobilization, action research (which adapts a design process approach) and education.

Leader: Dr. Moura Quayle


Sustainable Building Science Program

The Sustainable Building Science Program (SBSP) is an interdisciplinary graduate-level trainee program within CIRS. It provides education, professional training and research applied to the design, creation, and operation and monitoring of buildings that promote inhabitant health and satisfaction, have a low ecological footprint, and co-exist within their communities.

Director: Dr. Murray Hodgson


UBC Operational Units


Sustainable Education Resource Centre (SERC)

Sustainable Education Resource Centre provides guidance for and resources to students and faculty interested in integrating sustainability more fully into their education and teaching programs. SERC is operated by UBC Sustainability Initiative through the Teaching and Learning office. It is staffed by the Sustainability Student Advisor, who provides one-on-one assistance to students as well as coordinating co-curricular opportunities for student s to become involve with sustainability efforts at UBC.

Sustainability Student Advisor: Kshamta Hunter


UBC Community Development

Part of the Campus and Community Planning department, this unit reflects the strategic priority placed by the University on making its campuses more vibrant by leveraging its public realm, infrastructure, cultural and athletic assets and developing strong linkages and programs. The unit includes Campus animation, UNA liaison and social programming, transit management and the SEEDs program and works closely with the UNA, the VP Students portfolio, and with the AMS.

Director: Carole Jolly


UBC Energy and Water Services

With a mandate of fiscal efficiency, operational excellence, environmental sustainability, and innovative demonstrations, the Vision of UBC’s Energy and Water Services is to Reduce UBC’s consumption of energy and water, and eliminate our greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through mindful stewardship of our campus energy and water resources. Further, our mission is to generate, distribute and conserve UBC’s energy and water resources in an open and transparent manner that maintains environmental comfort, ensures system reliability, minimizes life cycle cost, reduces GHG emissions, and seeks out innovative solutions that inspire.

Managing Director, Energy and Water: David Woodson


UBC Institutional Programs Office (IPO)

The Institutional Programs Office provides administrative and strategic support to researchers pursuing and operating under major federal, provincial and regional infrastructure awards. IPO services include application review, workshops, financial reporting and audit support, and strategic support to select groups within the VP Research and International portfolio.

Director, Institutional Programs: Sharon Wu


UBC Sustainability and Engineering

Sustainability and Engineering is a unit of Campus and Community Planning, responsible for resource management and infrastructure management plans, operational sustainability planning and reporting, creating incentives for sustainable behaviours among staff, faculty and students, green building programs and providing engineering services for the land use planning and permitting processes. The unit is responsible for advising the UBC Okanagan campus efforts in sustainability and infrastructure management planning and ensuring good coordination with the University Sustainability Initiative.

Director: John Madden


UBC Sustainability Initiative (USI)

The USI advances sustainability efforts at UBC and beyond by facilitating collaborations and partnerships. It is composed on three groups: a central office that includes communications and engagement activities, a teaching and learning office and an operational management group comprised of senior administrators from UBC planning and operations departments. It is overseen by an interdisciplinary academic and executive Steering Committee.

Acting Executive Director: Dr. James Tansey


UBC Wellbeing Initiative

The UBC Wellbeing Initiative is a university-wide effort to engage with our Vancouver and Okanagan campuses to build happier and healthier communities. The Initiative is students, staff, faculty, senior administration, and neighbours working together to ask the question: how can we promote the wellbeing, health and sustainability of our people and environments?

Director Vancouver Campus: Matt Dolf
Director Okanagan Campus: Claire Budgen


Industry/Community Partners


Modern Green Developments Ltd.

The Modern Green CIRS office includes Modern Investment Group Canada, subsidiary of Beijing-based real estate developer Modern Green 当代节能, and Modern Green Technology Ltd., the North American R&D subsidiary. MG seeks to build stronger ties between China and North America, particularly in the fields of green building, smart communities, and comfortable living.

Vice President: Victor Ling
CIRS Office Coordinator: Rupert Campbell


Pacific Institute for Climate Studies (PICS)

The Pacific Institute for Climate Studies is a research and knowledge sharing network that brings together researchers, policymakers and the business community to study the impacts of and develop adaptations and mitigation approaches to climate change. PICS is led by the University of Victoria (UVic) in collaboration with the University of British Columbia (UBC), Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC).

Executive Director: Dr. Thomas Pedersen, University of Victoria
UBC Campus Coordinator: Sara Muir-Owen


Food Services


The Loop Café

Sourcing local product and conducting business with an environmentally conscience focus, the Loop café serves distinctively fresh and organic choices that reflect local flavours. At The Loop Café, everything is recyclable or compostable, no bottle or can beverages, everything sold at the cafe has minimal packaging and is produced on campus, sourced or grown locally or directly from UBC Farm. Soups, salads, stews, Italian soda and of course, locally roasted Fair Trade coffee and espresso beverages.