MECH Sustainability

The Department of Mechanical Engineering is committed to combating climate change and creating a sustainable future.

On September 23rd the Department issued the following statement:

Climate change is a defining issue of our time. Scientists in Canada and internationally have reached consensus that human-caused global warming will have disastrous impacts on our ecosystems, including human and animal life, if not addressed quickly. In response to the scientific consensus, the Government of Canada has declared a climate emergency. The department joins the government and other institutions in recognizing this emergency. The department believes it is our collective responsibility to minimize and mitigate the effects of anthropogenic climate change.

Mechanical Engineering is a proud part of the UBC community, which continues to be recognized as a global leader in impact among post-secondary institutions. Sustainability thinking is embedded within our curriculum and many faculty members carry out research related to combating climate change.

We must continue to work to make sure that cutting-edge science informs government policy, and that sustainable technologies aid our efforts to combat climate change. We encourage all the members of our UBC Mechanical Engineering Community to consider the ways as individuals and professionals we can work together to address this important global issue.

Sustainability Committee

Members of the MECH Sustainability Committee include faculty, staff, and students who work to coordinate the Department’s efforts in sustainability. To get in touch with a sustainability-related initiative or to get involved, please email

Amanda Giang Amanda Giang Carl Ollivier-Gooch Carl Ollivier-Gooch
Naomi Zimmerman Naomi Zimmerman
Sheldon Green Sheldon Green Jennifer Pelletier Jennifer Pelletier

Current Initiatives

The Mechanical Engineering Sustainability Committee, consisting of faculty, student, and staff representatives, has identified the following priorities as well as planned and ongoing actions for each of them:

Enable sustainability and climate action champions, particularly in our student community

Incorporate more opportunities for sustainability and climate learning, to support evidence-based action within curriculum as well as outside of the classroom:

  • curricular opportunities
    • Create more opportunities for experiential learning on sustainability and climate emergency issues through capstone projects, co-op projects, working with SEEDS and other units on campus.
  • co-curricular opportunities
    • Promote sustainability criteria in funding for student teams
    • Organize events such as a Climate Emergency Hackathon
    • Building Sustainable Futures Seminar Series, in partnership with other units at UBC and UVic Civil Engineering
    • Collating resources for our community
Transform our internal operations to reflect our commitment to sustainability and climate action principles

Gather data on our operations to establish a baseline, and evaluate progress on goals by:

  • supporting the development of audit and reporting protocols for energy and environmental metrics;
  • understanding COVID-19 related shifts and long-term opportunities to change our work culture in sustainable ways (e.g., tele-commuting, virtual conferences and seminars).

Identify and implement evidence-based interventions to reduce our operational footprint by:

  • creating a UBC Green Labs proposal to evaluate low-cost energy efficiency upgrades for labs and offices that are not priorities for renewal/renovation (e.g., weather stripping, window film);
  • changing our departmental catering practices to reduce carbon-intensive proteins.