Energy and energy systems are fundamental building blocks of not only the national economy, but also the everyday life of all Canadians. However, dominant energy systems in the twenty-first century are largely unsustainable due to long-term resource limitations and their adverse impacts on the environment, health, and social development. Thus, the establishment of clean and sustainable energy systems and responsible energy consumption are imperative to environmental stewardship, energy security, health, and economic and social development across Canada and the rest of the world.

In response to this dilemma and to advance the attainment of sustainable energy systems, Carleton University established the Carleton Sustainable Energy Research Centre (CSERC) in 2009. The research centre was just one initiative in a larger effort by the University to develop research and teaching programs in sustainable energy (see Academic Programs for more information). CSERC works to integrate work in sustainable energy done by the Faculty of Engineering and Design and the Faculty of Public Administration, together with other faculties in the sciences, social sciences, economics and business. The focus is on a cross-disciplinary approach to reduce energy consumption, research emerging renewable energy sources, and explore strategies for using traditional, non-renewable sources effectively and responsibly.

Through the research centre, Carleton University undertakes world-class research and offers students a choice of academic programs to prepare for their role as the next generation of professionals and leaders. Canada will need both innovative engineering and progressive policies in sustainable energy over the next decade to address and profit from tackling the emerging challenges. Neither technology nor policy in isolation will be sufficient.