Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS)

PICS works in collaboration with UBC and other universities to address the multi-faceted climate change challenges in BC and around the world.

Image courtesy of elementslab

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) is an initiative of the BC Ministry of Environment to develop and promote multi-disciplinary research activities focused on understanding climate change and its impacts, and exploring mitigation and adaptation strategies. The institute collaborates with four major research-oriented universities of the province, including UBC.

Their research portfolio consists of five major interdisciplinary research projects which include Energy Efficiency in the Built Environment, Transportation Futures, Low-Carbon Pathways to 2060, Natural Gas Development and Forest Carbon Management. The first two are led from UBC.

Energy Efficiency in the Built Environment

The Energy Efficiency in the Built Environment (EEBE) project seeks to develop solutions for reducing energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia’s diverse built environment context, while at the same time improving their quality for inhabitants. The research program is focused on finding the most effective combinations of these solutions and determine the type of policies that best enable them, connecting policy to on-the-ground implementation and the daily lives of residents. The program is divided into two inter-related streams:

  • Policy and Finance Stream which examines the effectiveness of financing mechanisms and policy instruments to improve both new and existing buildings and communities
  • Buildings and Community Stream which explores the potential benefits of design and policy approaches, evolving rating systems and building codes, as well as integrated, community-scale energy strategies, to improve building performance, and reduce energy demand and emissions

Transportation Futures

The Transportation Futures project aims to tackle the problem of GHG emissions produced by the transportation sector by identifying viable pathways for developing low-or-zero emission transportation systems for British Columbia, focusing on technology alternatives such as battery, hydrogen fuel cell, and natural gas. The initiatives of the research project include the design of refueling configurations, developing models to assess market, social and policy opportunities, as well as providing interdisciplinary training for highly qualified personnel in the sustainable transportation field. The three inter-related themes for this program are:

  • Integrated social, economic and technical analysis of the transportation market and public policy to evaluate the potential of a range of vehicle technologies to reduce GHG emissions
  • Low-or-zero carbon transportation infrastructures for natural gas, electricity, and hydrogen
  • Transport mode electrification and analysis of prospects for GHG reductions