Campus Sustainability Grants program 2020

Engineering, urban planning, education, business, medicine and dentistry—the grants program over 2020-21 featured diverse projects from faculty and students across disciplines.

Energy Management and Sustainable Operations - 24 March 2021

Each year, the Campus Sustainability Grants program brings research and new ideas to life by funding sustainable projects created by University of Alberta students, faculty and staff.

With up to $150,000 available to applicants each year, these grants fund projects that:

  • Improve sustainability operations and practices on University of Alberta campuses
  • Advance the stewardship of our natural environment
  • Conduct collaborative research in sustainability
  • Encourage integrated and collaborative solutions to sustainability problems
  • Advance a culture of sustainability on our campuses

The Campus Sustainability Grants program strives to continuously improve campus operations and support teaching and research by enabling the use of our campuses as living labs.

Last year’s funded projects

Engineering, urban planning, education, business, medicine and dentistry—the grants program over 2020-21 featured diverse projects from faculty and students across disciplines.

Design competition leading to a working prototype
The Renewable Energy Design student group, led by Larry Zhong and with faculty advisor Brian Fleck, professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, hosted a virtual Wind Turbine Design Competition in spring 2020 where 18 students competed before an expert panel of judges from the wind energy industry.

Although the competition has closed, the experiential learning experience is far from over and planning continues to bring a working prototype of the winning design—Feuerstrom, which means current of fire in German—to life later this year.

Leading the way with U of A sustainability challenge case studies
How businesses and organizations have dealt with key sustainability challenges was the question Dr. Gehman, professor at the Alberta School of Business and Alberta School of Business Chair in Free Enterprise, sought to answer. With grant funding, Dr. Gehman is engaging MBA student teams to research, write and ultimately publish several teaching case studies on the topic with some focusing on the University of Alberta.

Following revision and publication, these teaching case studies will be integrated into applicable coursework in the U of A MBA program. They will also be made available to outside institutions and publications with an aim of providing the business leaders of tomorrow with the tools to deal with future sustainability challenges.

From a survey to sustainable travel recommendations
This summer, Dr. Grisé, assistant professor at the School of Urban and Regional Planning, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, will kick off a multi-year project to develop a university-wide travel survey.

Analyzing how people travel to and from our campuses can generate detailed GHG emission estimates. Dr. Grisé and her team will also develop a toolkit comprising policy recommendations, incentives and strategies—as well as performance indicators to assess progress—aimed at increasing the use of sustainable transportation among University of Alberta faculty, students and staff.

Solar-powered greenhouse coming to life on campus
The Campus Community Garden Solar Greenhouse project will bring a complete and operational solar greenhouse laboratory to North Campus at the Campus Community Garden.

This greenhouse will serve as a platform for training and research and will give two co-op students the opportunity to complete initial commissioning, experimental set-up and monitoring of the greenhouse operations. Carlos Lange, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is bringing together a diverse group of students and faculty from various disciplines to bring this greenhouse to life. Learn more about this project in our recent post, Solar power: Coming to a greenhouse near you.

Creating Cree language kits for libraries
Envisioned by undergraduate Elementary Education student Maxine Desjarlais, the Indigenous Language Revitalization in Schools (Cree) project involves creating and promoting Cree language kits in U of A libraries and making them accessible to Education students and other campus community members.

The project aims to increase awareness, access and knowledge of the Cree language and culture among Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and staff, build Education students’ skills and knowledge around teaching Cree to their own students and contribute to enriching social and cultural understanding and sustainability at the university.

To learn about other funded projects, visit our project summary.

If you have an idea for a grant, reach out to us at The next major grant deadline is May 15, 2021.

EMSO, the team behind the grants program

Energy Management and Sustainable Operations (EMSO) is responsible for the stewardship and administration of the Campus Sustainability Grants program with input from an adjudication committee including U of A student, staff and faculty members and the Sustainability Council.

EMSO manages the Energy Management Program, which funds the Campus Sustainability Grants program. EMSO also works more broadly to minimize the University of Alberta’s impact on the environment on behalf of all members of the university community.


Help make our campuses more sustainable and make your ideas come to life with Campus Sustainability Grants program funding.

Next deadline

The next major grant deadline is May 15, 2021.