Research Portfolio



The Regenerative Neighbourhoods Program addresses the question: how do we catalyze transformational change that leads to systemic progress towards net positive human and environmental outcomes?


The primary ambition of the Regenerative Neighborhood Program (RNP) is to understand how policy-makers, designers, and community groups can catalyse regenerative sustainability at the neighbourhood scale and to develop a framework to guide this process.

The RNP framework is intended to serve as a tool for providing strategic direction to both those organizations engaged in promoting sustainable goals at the neighbourhood scale and the design teams engaged in building projects within them.

View the RNP Summit Report (2013) and Visual Summaries for more details.




Energy Efficiency in BC Program aims to significantly increase energy efficiency and associated carbon reductions in British Columbia’s built environment.


The types and location of buildings and how we design, build and operate them is of utmost importance to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

This research program will propose concerted and proactive solutions to tackle the challenges of energy efficiency in the built environment and capitalize on associated opportunities to develop practical, implementable strategies that can lead to significant and measurable improvements.




Performance Gap Program characterizes the pervasive differences between design intention and actual performance within high performance sustainable buildings.


Many buildings in North America that are attempting to achieve the highest levels of sustainable building performance (such as those pursuing Living Building Challenge and LEED Platinum certification) are not meeting their pre-occupancy performance targets.

The aim of this research program is to build collaborations with practitioners and policymakers to develop implementable, practical strategies to address this performance gap.


Human Wellbeing & Social Sustainability Program
explores how the built environment influences human inhabitants and, conversely, how human activities shape the ongoing performance of sustainable buildings and urban developments.


To improve understanding of how the design of buildings, with emphasis on the indoor environment, and urban spaces influence the health, well-being and behaviours of their inhabitants, and conversely how human actions impact the performance of sustainable buildings and entire communities.




Urban Metabolism & Ecosystems Services Program explores the potential sustainability benefits and challenges of applying industrial ecology, resource exchange, urban metabolism and similar principles towards improving sustainability in urban areas.


Through demonstration pilots, this program investigates potential symbiotic relationships between buildings, infrastructure, utilities and landscapes in urban settings, as well as the associated political and human well-being implications. The results will help to establish new prototypes and strategies for designing and building urban neighborhoods and communities.




Lifecycle Decision-Making Program focuses on research and education activities around environmental Life Cycle Assessment, Life Cycle Costing and Social Life Cycle Assessment to inform decision-making process.


Understanding of the Ecological, Financial and Social Impacts of human activities in urban development is incomplete and fragmentary. This research program seeks to improve that understanding and ultimately use it to inform decision-making that result in practical solutions and improvements based on robust data gathering and analysis for UBC and other organizations.




Living Systems Program studies the roles that living systems can play in improving environment and human wellbeing in urban areas.


Living systems have become a highly visible demonstration of sustainable design. This program seeks to better understand the functional relationship between living systems and the built environment, as well as potential human and environmental impacts of their application.




Incubator Program supports innovation and commercialization of sustainable research-based innovations in equipment, materials, components and other building applications.


Through the application of advanced research knowledge and in collaboration with industrial partners and other stakeholders, the SBTI seeks to: build innovation capacity; commercialize viable technologies and solutions; and transfer knowledge and skill development in sustainable building and urban development in Canada.