Research & Learning Infrastructure

CIRS is a multi-use space with facilities and infrastructure designed to encourage human interaction, explore new approaches to learning and advance globally-significant urban sustainability research.

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Lobby/Atrium

This space is the soul of CIRS and serves as a demonstration of the sustainability attributes of the building, including the fact that the structural components of CIRS are made of wood and mechanically connected. Visitors entering this four-story open space make their first connection with the building and realize they are in a special place. The lobby/atrium is flooded with daylight and is naturally ventilated. This thermally comfortable space is kept warm in the winter through radiant floors and cooled in the summer through the “stack effect” enabled by BMS-controlled skylight and curtain-wall awnings. From the lobby/atrium visitors gain a full perspective of CIRS and can see the photovoltaic cells in the skylight glass, the living roof on top of auditorium, the vegetated façade on the west exposure that blocks unwanted heat and sunlight in the summer but that let them through in the winter, the Loop Café, the feature wall that acknowledges CIRS funders and partners and the Sustainability Education Resource Centre. The lobby/atrium is outfitted with large vide-wall that displays building information such as a description of the CIRS systems and quarterly energy and water use. The video-wall is connected to the campus e-signage system and displays UBC events and activities taking place in the building. The lobby/atrium displays a Musqueam Band welcome message, a digital directory of the building inhabitants and the green building certification plaques and awards.

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BC Hydro Decision Environment Theatre

The BC Hydro Theatre is a flexible and adaptive lab for interactive research, learning, engagement and decision-making. The Theatre infrastructure, equipment and software support the input, manipulation and real-time display of information for modelling and scenario generation in a variety of forms and from multiple sources. The Theatre is able to link in remote connections through video-conferencing and web-casting. The CIRS Theatre Manager is available to facilitate user experience and provide technical support for research projects and other events.

To book this room, please refer to the venue rental page.

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CIRS Operations Centre

The CIRS Building Technician in the Operations Centre manages the CIRS building systems through an integrated sensing, monitoring and controls system with over 3,000 points. The CIRS video wall and other electronic displays are also controlled from the Operations Centre. Collected building performance and occupancy data enable research projects in the areas of sustainable building technologies, systems performance, inhabitant-building interplay and others. Through a building management system (BMS) software interface, the Technician manages the day-to-day operation of all building systems as well as the building performance optimization initiatives.

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The Loop Café

The Loop Café concept was co-created by the CIRS team and UBC Food Services in recognition that none of the food franchises and food outlets that existed on campus at the time when the CIRS building was being developed properly aligned with the vision and sustainability aspirations of CIRS. In addition to providing sustenance to the local community, the Loop Café provides an outlet for experiments in sustainable food practices and inhabitant engagement, from healthy recipes and locally sourced produce, to new containers and comprehensive waste sorting systems. The Loop Café is run by UBC Food Services.

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Modern Green Development Auditorium

This 425-seat lecture hall is heavily used by undergraduate classes in a variety of subjects, as well as independent events. It is a major magnet for bringing people into the CIRS building, exposing them to the regenerative design principles and sustainability concepts illustrated within the building. The Auditorium is managed by UBC Scheduling Services, and jointly funded by the UBC Office of the Provost and Vice President Academic and the Office of the Vice-President, Students

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Labs and Office Space

CIRS provides dedicated lab and office space for academic researchers, students, operational units and strategic partners who work on collaborative research projects and other sustainability initiatives on campus. These spaces can be easily reconfigured as they were provided with demountable partitions that work in unison with the furniture and raised floor system. These spaces are outfitted with virtual desktop information technology (PCOIP), connecting to large capacity virtual servers. All phones are VOIP and all labs and office spaces share a modern network of printers/copiers located in dedicated facilities. The CIRS labs, offices and meeting rooms are ideal sites to test new technologies and to demonstrate innovative product prototypes in a real-world setting with actual human interactions.

Refer to the CIRS Inhabitant Group page for a list of UBC departments and external organizations currently working in the building.

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Policy Lab

With two rooms and a retractable partition wall, this lab is an expandable and flexible space for workshops, focus groups, video conferencing, large group meetings and community engagement research activities. It is located on the ground floor, adjacent to the BC Hydro Theatre, allowing for interconnected use of the two spaces.

To book this room, please refer to the venue rental page.

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Sustainable Technology Testing Platform
(Under Development)

CIRS is currently collaborating with UBC Project Services to design and build a roof platform made of special metal supports and metal grates, designed not to interfere with the water harvesting function of the roof, that will enable the study of the performance and efficiency of different types of renewable energy systems, including solar thermal panels, photovoltaic cells, PV + thermal panels, wind turbines, etc. Panels, cells and other systems to be tested will be mounted on adjustable supports that will be clamped to the metal grating platform. An adjacent instrumentation room with a hot water tank, heat pump, meters and controls will allow the testing of the sustainable technology prototypes and will synergise with the CIRS sensing, monitoring and controls infrastructure to allow for baselining and load testing in real-life conditions.

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Sustainability Education Resource Centre

In this space, located within the Lobby/Atrium on the ground floor, undergraduate and graduate students can meet with advisors and discuss sustainability content courses, programs, and extra-curricular opportunities, including sustainability ambassador volunteer opportunities. The advisors are able to connect students with sustainability experts on campus and CIRS researchers to discuss their sustainability interests and ideas.

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Solar Aquatics Bio-filter Lab

The Solar Aquatics Bio-filter (SAB) wastewater treatment lab on the ground floor is an inescapable feature of CIRS, located in the most prominent location of the building. The system when fully operational will allow CIRS to harvest campus raw sewage and treat it using naturally-occurring processes and plants to reclaim the treated water for toilet flushing and irrigation at CIRS and eventually, to grow plants at the Horticulture building nearby. The system is located in built like a greenhouse to manipulate temperature and humidity conditions to maintain the water treatment biological processes and plant growth and harvesting operating in optimal conditions. The system was designed with to operate in two parallel treatment trains to enable controlled research projects.