Carleton is a leader in finding solutions to the emerging climate change challenges of our time, from our world-class researchers and teachers to providing experiential learning opportunities for our students so they can take on the challenge of making the planet a better place. Our community is charging ahead with many exciting research projects, awards and collaborations, and we have many success stories to celebrate.

Partnerships and Collaborations on Campus

  • Carleton is home to some of the great environmental and climate change thinkers such as the Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Climate Change Impacts/Adaptation in Northern Canada and scientists leading the next IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC).
  • Other partnerships and collaborations: Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR), Natural Resources Canada, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Environment Canada, Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada (PTAC), and United Nations Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC).

Sustainability Research on Campus

  • The Energy and Emissions Research Laboratory conducts internationally renowned, highly-cited interdisciplinary research designed to understand, quantify, model, and mitigate airborne pollutant emissions associated with global upstream energy production.
  • The Carleton Research and Innovation in Sustainable Energy (C-RISE) house uses solar thermal energy and seasonal thermal storage to serve as a test bed for various innovative concepts aimed at reducing overall energy demands.
  • The Carleton Building Performance Research Centre advances state-of-the-art building and community design and operations while improving comfort and usability. The Centre has over 40 graduate students and community/industry partners.
  • The Human-Building Interaction Laboratory (HBIL): Led by Prof. Liam O’Brien, HBIL strives to understand two-way interaction between buildings and their occupants to maximize comfort while minimizing environmental impacts using a multidisciplinary approach.
  • The Northern Nomad Tiny House is a net zero and a water-autonomous tiny house built through the collaborative efforts of Carleton architecture and engineering students.
  • The Advanced Research and Innovation in Smart Environments (ARISE) building is intended to be a living laboratory and brings together professors and students from all faculties to collaborate on research and training in clean technology, health technology, information and communication technology, and accessibility. 
  • Construction of the $25-million Co-Generation Facility, $5 million of which was funded through an Ottawa Hydro incentive program, better equips Carleton for the building growth on campus that has resulted in increased burdens on the existing steam plant and electrical service capacities of the heating plant. This project expands the heating plant to accommodate the installation of a combined heat and power (co-generation) system to support increasing needs in the most sustainable and economical manner.
  • In 2023, Carleton opened the Centre for Advanced Building Envelope Research (CABER) at the CanmetENERGY campus in Ottawa’s Bells Corners. The state-of-the-art facility will be used to investigate innovative materials and design strategies for completing retrofits and building new homes in ways that prioritize energy conservation and affordability.

Sustainability Highlights


  • In 2013, Carleton Engineering students placed first in the international Solar Decathlon for Team Ontario.
  • In 2022, Carleton ranked 2nd in Canada and 49th overall among over 900 universities globally in the UI Green Metrics rankings.
  • In 2022, Carleton also achieved a Gold rating in AASHE’s STARS (Sustainability Tracking and Ranking System) program and was recognized as a Sustainable Campus Index Top Performer.
  • Since 2005, Carleton has reduced greenhouse gas carbon emissions intensity by 40% and energy use intensity by 15%.
  • Carleton has reduced water use by 27% since 2013.
  • To date, 11 buildings have been Green Globe certified, an assessment protocol that Carleton leverages to assist in sustainable building design.

Plans and Policies

  • The long-term campus master plan includes shifting cars and parking structures to the campus perimeter to reduce the risk to cyclists and pedestrians and limit vehicular traffic in the heart of the university. The plan aims to link bike and pedestrian pathways to city bike paths and on-campus bus stops to promote multiple modes of transportation to and from campus.
  • There has also been the creation of the Outdoor Space Master Plan, along with recent updates to the Campus Master Plan, Energy Master Plan, and Comprehensive Sustainability Plan.

Waste Reduction

  • The Caf and Food Court were certified zero waste in 2018, meaning they divert 90% of waste from landfills.
  • Carleton’s wider waste programs are progressing with the introduction of four-stream recycling bins on campus and increased construction waste diverted from landfill.
  • In the Nideyinan Food Court, all packaging is recyclable or compostable and plastic straws on campus are banned.

Sustainable Food and Dining

  • Carleton became a certified Fair Trade Campus in 2016
  • The university’s food service provider, Aramark Dining Services, purchases 25% of its food supplies from local and humane food sources.

Community Engagement

  • Some Carleton buildings are now being used as living labs to measure certain sustainability initiatives. 
  • To promote greater Ottawa community engagement towards sustainability on campus, the university joined the Ottawa Green Business to create climate change awareness and reduce collective greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Carleton’s Ideas@Carleton web portal fosters community engagement by welcoming new ideas to promote sustainability.
  • Campus workshops have generated over 500 suggestions for inclusion in the university’s new environmental strategy.
  • Carleton has electric charging stations to allow community members to charge their cars while on campus.