Welcome to the Sustainability Living Lab

Around the world, institutions and societies are looking for innovative ways of becoming more sustainable. Climate change, waste, food systems, ecological degradation, and other sustainability challenges are universal, as are many of the solutions.  Through the Sustainability Living Lab program, the University of Waterloo aims to support students and faculty in using the campus as a model for researching, testing, and applying innovative approaches to addressing sustainability challenges. The recommendations and solutions developed here have the potential to improve the campus and build the sustainability leadership that can help transform the world.  Let’s do it! 

What qualifies as a Sustainability Living Lab project?

Living lab projects use the campus as a laboratory for exploring solutions to environmental sustainability challenges.  Whether it is a research-based study of best practices and recommendations on how they can be applied to the campus, or a pilot project that tests the feasibility of a new solar panel design, Sustainability Living Lab projects are all about exploring new ways of reaching Waterloo’s sustainability goals and leading the way toward a society that supports healthy systems for current and future generations.   

The University of Waterloo has many sustainability goals outlined in the  Shifit: Neutral climate action plan, and the Environmental Sustainability Strategy.  In addition, the University is committed to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, many of which are tied directly to sustainability goals: Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6), Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7), Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11), Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12), Climate Action (SDG 13), and Life on Land (SDG 15). The Sustainable Development Goals at the University of Waterloo site has further information about work being done here to support the goals.  

Student-led living lab projects are an opportunity for experiential learning tied to courses or graduate work and whose impact transcends the classroom.   

For faculty and staff, living lab projects are an opportunity to bridge the gap between academics and operations, translating theory and ideas into tangible outcomes that can benefit the campus. Contact us to discuss how to integrate living lab projects into your courses or share a project proposal.