Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Nadia Harduar
Submission Date April 21, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Ontario Institute of Technology
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Melissa Mirowski
Asset and Sustainability Planner
Office of Campus Infrastructure and Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing the campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in the following areas?:
Yes or No
Air & Climate Yes
Buildings Yes
Dining Services/Food ---
Energy Yes
Grounds Yes
Purchasing ---
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability ---
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment ---
Public Engagement Yes
Other ---

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Air & Climate and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The Clean Energy Research Laboratory (CERL) is used to conduct research on hydrogen production, heat engines and nanotechnology. Currently, researchers are working on the world’s first lab-scale demonstration of a copper-chlorine cycle for thermochemical water splitting and nuclear hydrogen production. Hydrogen is a clean energy carrier of the future and potentially major solution to the problem of climate change.

Officially opened in September 2010, the Clean Energy Research Laboratory (CERL) is a cutting-edge laboratory that pioneers clean energy research and discovers major new energy solutions to the problem of climate change. CERL’s mission is to develop clean energy technologies and move them from the laboratory to commercial and industrial application. Current research projects in CERL include hydrogen production, heat engines (specifically a Marnoch heat engine), chemical heat pumps, and nano- and micro-scale energy systems.

Through a $10 million project over a five-year period, CERL researchers are working on the world's first lab-scale demonstration of an integrated copper-chlorine cycle for thermochemical water splitting and nuclear hydrogen production. The 33-member UOIT-led team comprises eight collaborating institutions and universities from five countries, six industrial partners and two local organizations in Durham Region.

Hydrogen is a potentially major solution to the problems of climate change and depleting conventional fuels. It is a clean fuel that can be used to heat our homes, supply fuel for vehicles, power our equipment, and for many other everyday applications that currently use oil, coal or natural gas. Using nuclear, solar or other heat sources (such as waste heat from industrial plant emissions), the Cu-Cl cycle promises to achieve higher efficiencies, lower environmental impact and lower costs of hydrogen production than any other existing technology.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Buildings and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The geothermal site provides the distinct opportunity for use by the university’s engineering faculty as an invaluable research lab. The facility not only helps to significantly reduce energy consumption, but can also provide extensive research opportunities and enhance the educational experience for students in energy-related programs.

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology wishes to be a leader in sustainable design and operational practices for buildings. Current initiatives in this direction include selecting materials with reduced environmental cost; integrating the
function of the enclosure system with the mechanical system to provide the human comforts required of interior spaces; providing high‐quality interior air; and minimizing the operating energy consumption of the building over its service life. Sustainable design will therefore include additional insulation in the envelope (more than the current standard) as energy costs over the building’s expected service life will increase.  


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Dining Services/Food and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Energy and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

UOIT is on the road to becoming an innovator in engineering, driven by the strength of its programs and research. A major thrust has been established at UOIT in the area of energy engineering, and is aimed at addressing many of the present and future energy challenges facing society.

Our North Campus Location geothermal well field is the central component in the borehole thermal energy storage system. Drilling was completed in November 2003 and involved three rigs, each drilling one hole per day over a span of over 100 days.

Three hundred and eighty-four holes, each 213 metres (700 feet) deep, provide the basis for a highly efficient and environmentally friendly heating and cooling system, capable of regulating eight of the university's new buildings.

A glycol solution, encased in polyethylene tubing, circulates through an interconnected, underground network. During the winter, fluid circulating through tubing extended into the wells collects heat from the earth and carries it into the buildings. The system reverses in the summer to pull heat from the building and place it in the ground.

The geothermal site provides the distinct opportunity for use by the university’s engineering faculty as an invaluable research lab. The facility not only helps to significantly reduce energy consumption, but can also provide extensive research opportunities and enhance the educational experience for students in energy-related programs.

The Energy Research Centre (ERC) is a 9,290 square-metre building with unique capabilities and facilities in geothermal, hydraulic, hydrogen, natural gas, nuclear, solar and wind energy technologies. ERC is the result of a joint $45.4-million investment from both the federal and provincial governments as part of the Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP).

The centre has space and offices for faculty, staff and graduate students in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. ERC has research labs for computational simulations in various engineering disciplines, particularly including facilities for electrical power systems and “smart grid” research. The building features a glass-covered four-storey Atrium, a 72-seat lecture theatre, three 50-seat classrooms, two 30-seat tutorial rooms with flexible seating, as well as numerous other labs and student-study breakout rooms.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Grounds and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The OCIS office employs 2-4 summer students to maintain and improve the grounds at Windfield farms. These students also planted and cared for over 250 trees that will be replanted during future campus expansion.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Purchasing and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Transportation and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

ACE is the first climatic testing and research centre of its kind in Canada, and in many respects the world. This multi-purpose, 16,300-square-metre facility, is owned and operated by UOIT and is a truly independent, commercial operation. ACE is divided into two distinct areas: a core research facility and an integrated research and training facility.

The core research facility offers a range of full-sized test chambers that allow for full climatic, structural durability and lifecycle testing. The signature test chamber is one of the largest and most sophisticated climatic wind tunnels in the world. The wind tunnel has a large yawing chassis dynamometer (road simulator) that can, for the first time anywhere, test properties in crosswinds. Among the other chambers is a climatic four-post shaker that can test a vehicle’s ability to handle a wide range of road conditions in Arctic or high desert conditions.

The integrated research and training facility spans five floors with space dedicated for research, education and training. This facility is fostering an environment for collaboration and interaction between industry, researchers and students.

ACE was developed in partnership with UOIT, General Motors of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Canada and the Partners for Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE).

UOIT is a leader in automotive research and engineering. The university has innovative research programs that are finding new solutions to automotive problems and educating future engineers who will turn great new ideas into commercial products in automotive and other industries. The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science is shaping the next generation of green vehicles. It is investigating new safety, manufacturing, thermal and information technologies for vehicles, among other areas of active automotive research. These initiatives are generating new knowledge and advancing the frontiers of research that are transforming the automotive industry.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Waste and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The faculty of engineering works with the Office of Infrastructure and Sustainability to run the e waste program on campus. This helps to increase the students knowledge of waste, and a portion of campus e-waste helps fund the UOIT Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Junior Fellowship Program. Any waste that is of low or no value goes to EWB, whose service provider, Ontario Electronic Stewardship, pays EWB based on the weight of waste.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Water and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Stormwater Management Pond is used for research projects:

Faculty Member:

Andrea Kirkwood

Title of Research Project:

Ecological Function of Stormwater Management Ponds

Summary of Research Project:

Stormwater management ponds are a prevalent feature of urbanizing landscapes. They are designed for hydrological control of stormwater, yet very little is known about the internal processing of contaminants found in urban runoff. The Kirkwood lab is conducting studies that assess the biological, ecological and toxicological aspects of stormwater pond function in Durham Region.

Student Responsibilities:

The student is responsible for conducting field sampling/monitoring of stormwater ponds. Additional lab processing and experiments will be conducted with pond water. The student will input and analyse data using various software programs.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Coordination, Planning & Governance and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The Asset and Sustainability Assistant is responsible for representing the student body by being the leader of the Blue Team, and actively participating in the UOIT sustainability committee, and the DC-UOIT joint sustainability committee.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Diversity & Affordability and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Health, Wellbeing & Work and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Human health and community wellness is a priority research area at UOIT.

The Campus Health Centre also provides a placement opportunity for 3rd year nursing students to gain hands on skills.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Investment and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Public Engagement and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Social Research Centre

The Social Research Centre (SRC) at UOIT is an interdisciplinary, market-oriented, social science research and training centre.

The centre offers high-quality research services to university faculty and administrators, as well as private, non-profit and public-sector clients. Customized research services for all phases of research projects include:

Focus groups (in-person and virtual)
Interviewing (in-person and virtual, telephone)
Literature reviews
Observational/ethnographic research
Program evaluation (front-end, formative and summative)
Secondary data analysis
Surveys (mail, in-person, web-based and telephone)

The centre also offers an in-house workshop series, which is open to the public.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory in Other areas and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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The website URL where information about the institution’s campus as a living laboratory program or projects is available:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.