SAIT’s Green Building Technologies, Woodpecker European Timber Framing and an Alberta family have partnered to construct a one-of-a-kind home in the foothills of southern Alberta — one that produces more energy than it uses, captures water on site and creates a positive impact on its people and environment. Together, they hope “The Confluence” will be the fourth home in the world to achieve the highest possible certification through the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most rigorous green building rating program and sustainable design framework.

To learn more on the project visit 

Project video:

Hear the words “virtual reality” and you might think video games, like Pokémon GO or Beat Saber. At SAIT, virtual reality is a tool for learning, it’s used to expand knowledge, dial up comprehension and boost confidence. 

Using virtual reality, students in SAIT’s Integrated Water Management program take virtual tours, practice critical skills, such as measuring the velocity of a river, or dive into complex data analysis using Oculus Quest headsets.

“We want to prepare our students for what’s next, and familiarize them with tools that are at the forefront of technology,” says Pablo Pina, Academic Chair of SAIT’s water sustainability programs. “Not only will they be prepared to enter into rewarding careers responding to local and global water concerns, they’ll also be equipped with digital literacy skills that are either on par or ahead of current industry standards.”

Get a glimpse inside the goggles and see how SAIT’s Integrated Water Management program features virtual reality as part of the learning process.

Learn more here


Thirteen years after becoming the first college in Canada to sign on to the Talloires Declaration, an international agreement that includes a ten-point action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy into teaching, research, operations and outreach at colleges and universities, Algonquin College took stock of where it stands in its sustainability goals at the recent TEDx Ottawa Climate series.

Algonquin was the title sponsor of the series, and Algonquin President and CEO Claude Brulé, made opening remarks at its Run the Word event, outlining the actions the college has taken to achieve social, economic and environmental sustainability in the past decade.

Most recently, during the pandemic, the college’s Social Innovation Lab partnered with small business to help them adapt their digital tools to better operate during COVID-19. Algonquin recognizes that sustainability also means healthy and connected local communities, and wanted to keep local organizations thriving. The Lab students set up online stores and increased the digital presence of a number of Ottawa-based charities, small businesses, and social enterprises.

Some Applied Research students have also been working on research projects centred around sustainability, including a group designing a sustainable private residence on the outskirts of Ottawa, another working on an app that increases awareness of endangered species, and one working on a dynamic website designed to educate the community about environmental pollution from cigarette butts.

The College’s wider sustainability efforts include a commitment to embed Indigenous knowledge throughout the College organization, including areas our strategic vision, programs and physical spaces like the Ishkodewan courtyard, which features plants with cultural, ceremonial or medicinal significance for some Indigenous peoples. Algonquin took the lead on two national initiatives that aim to create new opportunities for Indigenous youth to be employed in the skilled trades in their communities.

Algonquin is also well into our 20-year Guaranteed Energy Savings Contract with Siemens Canada that has resulted in numerous efficiency and sustainability retrofits to our Ottawa campus, including lighting sensors, thermal pipelines, and a cogeneration power plant. The contract with Siemens aims to cut our energy use and green house gas emissions significantly, while also providing research opportunities for students.

When it comes to the learning opportunities, Algonquin has continued to grow our Bachelor of Building Science program — the first of its kind in Canada — which bridges building design and construction with human comfort and sustainability. The College also continues to develop our curriculum so that sustainability is embedded throughout.

Other ecologically-focused initiatives include achieving LEED Gold certification for new buildings, and a partnership with World Wildlife Fund Canada on a program that aims to enhance a culture of sustainability and promote the protection of nature by engaging post-secondary students in meaningful actions, and offering them opportunities to engage in hands-on conservation activities.

Moving forward, the College is striving to continue to be leaders in sustainability, which means social, financial and economic, and hopes to inspire other colleges and universities to do the same.

Centre at Candle Lake, SK, wins 2020 Global RCE Award for Innovative Projects on Education for Sustainable Development

January 20, 2021—The Hannin Creek Education and Applied Research Centre (HCEARC), one of Saskatchewan’s major centres of applied research, has been recognized by the United Nations University for its role in addressing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #15 Life on Land. The goal, one of 17 SDGs, is to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems.

Sustainability is one of Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s core values. We are deeply honoured that the centre has achieved this global recognition, and would like to thank all those who have, and those who continue to contribute to making the centre such a unique and inspiring place to learn and conduct applied research.

Dr. Larry Rosia, Sask Polytech president and CEO

The centre, located at Candle Lake, SK, received a Global Acknowledged Flagship Project certificate. The awards recognize projects and programs within the Global Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) Network that bridge local and global perspectives on sustainable development; those that engage with transformative learning and research; and initiatives that contribute to community engagement, research and development and capacity development of stakeholders and partners. This recognition comes from the United Nations University, which headquarters the Global RCE Service Centre.

The Hannin Creek centre is an equal partnership between Saskatchewan Polytechnic and the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation (SWF). As the only boreal forest field station in the province and one of two boreal stations in Canada, HCEARC is a unique place to study and conduct research in such diverse programs as forestry, fisheries, wildlife, conservation law, and environmental, civil and water resources engineering technology.

“Sustainability is one of Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s core values,” says Dr. Larry Rosia, Sask Polytech president and CEO. “We are deeply honoured that the centre has achieved this global recognition, and would like to thank all those who have, and those who continue to contribute to making the centre such a unique and inspiring place to learn and conduct applied research.” 

“The Hannin Creek centre has won several national and international awards, including awards for our outdoor education programs, which hundreds of people enjoy and benefit from each year,” says Clark Schultz, SWF board of director’s president.

The current challenges to sustainability addressed by the work done at the Hannin Creek centre include climate change, overpopulation, deforestation, urbanization and economic austerity. Conservation, education and research are of critical importance to mitigate these challenges, according the award nomination.

The award nomination was submitted by RCE Saskatchewan. Sask Polytech is a founding partner of RCE Saskatchewan since its formal acknowledgement by the United Nations University in 2007.

For a complete list of recipients of 2020 RCE Global Awards, see 2020 RCE Awards for Innovative Projects on Education for Sustainable Development | RCE NETWORK.

Partnerships and cutting-edge technology have helped Algonquin College support students, the community and the wider economy during COVID-19 

“Post-secondary institutions can retain and enhance the goodwill they have earned as active participants in their communities through this crisis by sharing their expertise,” said Claude Brulé, Algonquin College President and Chief Executive Officer.

Algonquin’s expertise has focused on improving educational experiences and economic opportunities. This includes Indigenous education and training and health-care initiatives, such as:

Partnering with Ottawa Tourism on an Indigenous Tourism Entrepreneurship Training initiative, which will support Indigenous entrepreneurs in the creation and development of their own business and tourism ideas.

Leading a federally-funded, $8.2-million, national job-readiness program for Indigenous, Métis, and Inuit youth. Indigenous YouthBuild Canada brings several First Nations communities together with post-secondary institutions, government, and corporate partners to help more than 400 youth acquire job-ready skills.

Leading a $2.5-million program to provide more than 250 Indigenous youth across Canada with on the job, hands on training and employment skills related to the impact or effects of the pandemic.

Donating thousands of pieces of protective equipment and loaning out ventilators to help local health-care facilities.

We are all in this together and Algonquin College wanted to give back. We do all we can to support the community

Claude Brule , Algonquin College President and Chief Executive Officer

Experiential learning and innovative technology are also crucial elements in Algonquin’s efforts to support students and employers. Recent initiatives include:

Partnering with Ciena, one of the region’s biggest tech employers, to enhance the Ottawa campus’ Optophotonics Lab. The upgrade provides students with training on state-of-the-art telecommunications equipment and will help them find career success.

The Cooperative Education Department creating a new work option for students – Entrepreneurship Co-op, or eCo-op – as a proactive response to the pandemic. eCo-op students are their own bosses, partnering with a mentor to develop a business strategy or a business plan.

The College’s new Corporate Training centre launching free, virtual courses to give back to the community during the pandemic.

Preparing to launch a new Cyber Security Analyst Graduate Certificate Program to meet the needs of this rapidly growing job market.

Opening AC Online, the College’s new, digital-only campus, to meet increasing demand for flexible, personalized and quality online education.

Implementing a summer pilot program that saw more than 600 students return to campus to safely complete hands-on components of their programs.

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