AMS members told us loud and clear that having a sustainable student building was important to them, so we made it our priority to build a LEED Platinum certified building. This, rather ennobling certificate, is an international stamp of excellence in energy and resource-efficient buildings, putting The Nest high up in the ranks of green buildings in North America. Designing the building to have minimal impact on the environment became the solid foundation for us to run a green society and advocate for a greener campus community. From our food and beverage operations to all the initiatives, projects and funds initiated and administered by the AMS Sustainability office, we are always striving to make measurable reductions in our environmental footprint. That’s why we implemented a waste recycling program, introduced the Sustainability Projects Fund (SPF), purchase eco-friendly products, use local suppliers where possible, eliminated plastic straws in many of our food outlets, and continue to looks for ways to reduce the use of individual-use containers, even recyclable ones.

Sustainability Features

Ever since UBC students decided to build a new student union building, sustainability has been a core part of the Nest’s identity. This new building has a LEED+ Platinum certification, which is the highest sustainable building status in North America.

  • There is no mechanical air conditioning: Instead, fresh air is pumped through the floors, and hot air you have breathed out rises to the top and is displaced out of the building. This is called passive air conditioning.
  • Greywater is used to flush our toilets: Nothing new here, just makes sense to use the water we washed our hands with to take away our waste.
  • We use rainwater as well: This waters some non-edible landscaping and also gets put into our cooling system.
  • Our building envelope is pretty thick, which keeps it warm when it should be and cold when it should be: Just like a big thermos.

Beyond achieving LEED+ Platinum, there are many sustainability features in the Nest that are a result of student-led initiatives and projects:

Revolving Gardens

Student-led university collaboration with the SEEDS Sustainability Program and AMS Sustainability that is located outside the Great Hall on the Second Floor of the Nest. It was entirely designed, built, and installed by UBC mechanical engineering students in their final year. Much like the Earth, the Revolving Gardens mirror our dependency on both rotation and sunlight to sustain life.  Solar energy provides the power required to rotate the pods, as well as providing a direct energy source for the plants themselves. By rotating when exposed to light, each plant receives an equal amount of direct sunlight. The entire system is drip irrigated and requires minimal maintenance thanks to the modular design of the plant compartments.


Roots on the Roof


Panoramic views and lush greenery await your guests atop the Nest. The Rooftop Garden Patio is one of the most innovative green spaces at UBC and a prime location to host a variety of events. Popular celebrations here include family-style weddings, engagements, and barbeques. The space also acts as a natural break-out area for conference-goers, allowing a leg-stretch between plenary sessions in the fresh air. A wooden rooftop cover offers ample shade on sun-drenched days and shelter on rainy days, making the space suitable most months of the year.