Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 71.86
Liaison Nadia Harduar
Submission Date June 19, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Nadia Harduar
Asset and Sustainability Planner
Office of Campus Infrastructure and Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Air & Climate?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Air & Climate:

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 Ontario Tech U-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.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Buildings?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Buildings:

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 also provides extensive research opportunities and enhances 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.  


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Energy:

Ontario Tech U 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 Ontario Tech U in the area of energy engineering, and is aimed at addressing many of the present and future energy challenges facing society. Faculty participate in international biodiversity, climate change, and human rights programming, with inclusion of students, and campus programs; Ontario Tech U joined the Global University Partnership for Environmental Sustainability last year. The Dean of Social Science and Humanities, Peter Stoett, is the Coordinating Lead Author in the UNEP Global Environmental Outlook 6 Report.

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 180 metres (585 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 water 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.

There has also been a growth in solar arrays on campus; this will be incorporated into student learning specifically in PHY 4040U: Solar Energy and Photovoltaics and ENGR 3730U: Solar Energy Technologies.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Food & Dining?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Food & Dining:

Our campus engages students in the pollinator project and community garden, to grow food for those in need in our community. We also run local food days on campus, to demonstrate local healthy meals and student can engage in the annual Campus Market.

Students can also work with Aramark, the campus Food Service provider is a work study role to learn more about food and dining. In 2019 students will work along with OCIS and Aramark to grow vegetables and herbs to incorporate into featured dishes on campus.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Grounds:

The OCIS office employs 2-4 summer students to maintain and improve the grounds at the university farms. These students also planted and cared for over 500 trees that will be replanted during future campus expansion.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Purchasing?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Purchasing:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Transportation:

ACE is the first automotive 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 Ontario Tech U 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 life cycle 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 Ontario Tech U, General Motors of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Canada and the Partners for Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE).

Ontario Tech U 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. ACE staff, researchers and students have been tinkering with creating two full electric buses.
The university was the first to develop and pilot BlancRide – a ridesharing app (Ontario Tech students working with Faculty support and supervision).


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Waste:

The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science 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 Ontario Tech U 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.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Water?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Water:

Aquatic Toxicology lab on campus: https://sowc.ca/uoit-experts-are-tackling-a-variety-of-ecotoxicology-issues-with-help-from-sowc/ and http://blog.uoit.ca/check-out-our-faculty-of-science-aquatic-toxicology-lab

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.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Coordination & Planning:

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 university's Sustainability Committee.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Diversity & Affordability:

City Idea Lab has classes working on projects related to diversity and affordability -- contributing to the City of Oshawa Diversity and Inclusion Plan.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Investment & Finance?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Investment & Finance:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Public Engagement:

Social Research Centre

The Social Research Centre (SRC) at Ontario Tech U 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.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Wellbeing & Work:

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

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


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to other areas (e.g. arts & culture or technology)?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to other areas:
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.