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Sustainability-in-Action Facility

New facility gets hands-on with sustainability technologies

April 1, 2021 — 

The Department of Biosystems Engineering, University of Manitoba is pleased to announce the establishment of the Sustainability-in-Action Facility (SiAF) on the west edge of the Fort Garry campus.

Our vision is that SiAF will be available to the University of Manitoba community for experiential learning and demonstration opportunities that relate to sustainability. Some examples include renewable energy, sustainable food production for remote communities, sustainable building practices, and utilization of waste biomass.

An invitation

We invite you to learn more about SiAF. Imagine how SiAF might be relevant to you – and then reach out to us!

  • Do you teach a course that could benefit from this site to provide an experiential learning opportunity for your students?
  • Do you have an idea for engagement with the public?
  • Does your company have innovative technology that could be incorporated into our site?
  • Do you have a research problem that requires some research expertise?
  • Are you a student looking for opportunities to learn more about sustainability?

Goal 1

Enhance sustainability content in undergraduate and graduate courses through access to experiential learning activities in the areas of renewable energy (solar, biomass, wind), innovative food production systems within controlled environments, sustainable building practices, and utilization of waste biomass for production of value-added materials. We hope to be able to provide space for design projects, thesis projects and extracurricular design teams working in relevant areas.

Goal 2

Enable the University of Manitoba to engage in public education and outreach in the areas of sustainability, renewable energy, northern/urban food production, and utilization of waste biomass through open houses, workshops, and media events. Once public health orders allow, we hope to begin allowing visitors to SiAF to see our current facilities.

Goal 3

Initiate short-term demonstration projects with industry to showcase emerging sustainability technologies. Do you have a technology that should be featured at SiAF? Please contact us to determine how we might work with you to give exposure to your innovative technology.

Goal 4

Support innovative research activities in the areas of sustainability, renewable energy, northern/urban food production, and utilization of waste biomass. Researchers in the Department of Biosystems Engineering are open to new research collaborations – whether they have shortterm or long-term objectives.

Our partners

There have been substantial costs associated with transformation of the site. We are pleased to recognize financial support received from the NSERC Chair in Design Engineering in the Price Faculty of Engineering, the University of Manitoba Office of Sustainability (through the Green Fund), the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Endowment Fund, and BioTalent Canada Student Work Placement Program.

On-going improvements

We currently have two engineering co-op students and a research associate working at the SiAF site. They are working to make improvements to several renewable (solar) energy systems that are present on site. The goal is to be able to log real-time performance data for each of the renewable energy systems to facilitate experiential learning activities in various engineering classes. In time, such information should be available through a website.

Upcoming opportunities

Details are being finalized for a Site Plan Design Competition to be organized by the Department of Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Architecture. The competition will seek student ideas of how the open space surrounding the existing buildings can be developed to promote concepts of both environmental and social sustainability. Stay tuned for the official announcement of the competition from the Faculty of Architecture.

Contact Information
Dr. Joe Ackerman
SiAF Research Associate & Manager
Department of Biosystems Engineering
Phone: (204) 261-0930
E-mail: Joe [dot] Ackerman [at] umanitoba [dot] ca

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