UNESCO Living Lab

Working in the lab
Image via Wikipedia

Congratulations! The UNESCO Living Lab at the Collège Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau is an Aviva Community Fund semi-finalist! Details about the project below from Aviva Canada Inc.

Cast your vote for this idea!

The school community, which includes students, school and divisional staff, parents and interested community citizens, proposes to build a free standing green lab. The materials utilized would be sustainable products and the energy would be renewable. The building/lab would be off the grid as much as possible to demonstrate to the students and community that it is possible to reduce our carbon footprint in a meaningful way.

The lab would be used by teachers and students to educate themselves and the community on the viability of alternative energy, promotion of sound ecological practices and passive housing construction, such as cob earth, bentwood and solar energy that utilizes sustainable products.

The building would be a living laboratory that would create opportunities for students to scientifically demonstrate the viability of ecological sustainable practices. All subject areas will be able to reinforce and demonstrate curriculum outcomes.


1. All students will acquire an understanding of alternative energy and alternative building construction.

2. All teachers will integrate various components of the project within their course programs and for enrichment for some students.

3. All students will be able to initiate projects linked to ecological practices or research on sustainability.

4. Students and school staff will be able to educate parents and the community on the viability of alternative building practices.

5. Partnerships have been formed with the Department of Education, River East Transcona School Division, University of Manitoba, University of Dalhousie, Manitoba Hydro, and other companies and institutions.

6. The living lab will be able to adapt to future developments in sustainable research or needs of the school community.

7. The University of Manitoba will utilizing the living lab as a research site for grad engineering students with the possibility of doing joint research.

8. The project will adhere as much as possible to the LEED criteria of sustainable construction.

9. The language of operation for the project will be French and English.

10. Research collected will be provided to the interested partners to encourage our schools to become environmentally responsible.

11. Research collected will be utilized for submission to various educational journals.

Phase 1 Conceptualization: Research, Site Location and Design:

1. All staff members will integrate the various research topics within their courses for the beginning of the second semester, February 2010.

2. The following will be researched and ‘what if list’ will be compiled by January 2010: Renewable energy:bio-fuels electricity, solar heating, wind, geo-thermal, Energy conservation/concepts:windows/lighting,heating/insulation, cellulose, sheep’s wool,expanded polystyrene, mineral wool,cork, U value, Light refraction Alternative construction:cob, hemp, straw bale, rammed earth/pisé, engineered timber, adobe, modular contained earth.

3. By the end of February 2010 River East Transcona School Division will provide the construction criteria which will be used in developing the overall design.

4. On April 29 and 30 all student will participate in a school wide sharing of research. Students will have hands on experience on the components of a sustainable building utilizing alternative material.

5. By the beginning of May, 2010, a model will be made and the students will prepare a presentation for the River East Transcona School Board based on the criteria.

6. Project cost will be approximately $200 per square foot. The lab design would be approximately 800 square feet. Projected cost is approxiamtely $160,000. All the Aviva funds would be utlized for the build. Research material has already been found.

Phase II – Construction – Fall 2010 Strategies

1. Eco construction consultant will be hired to oversee the project.

2. Our website will be used to communicate the process to the public.

Phase III – Course Integration and Sustainability

1. While construction is occurring teachers will integrate the project within their courses.

2. Other schools/universities/colleges will be invited to participate and do research.

3. Information nights will be offered on a regular basis with fund raising for the homeless.

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