Sustainability Enhancement Fund, from $2,000 to $50,000 per project.

Sustainability Enhancement Fund (SEF)

Note: The Sustainability Enhancement Fund is not currently accepting applications. We encourage you to please contact if you are interested in applying when the fund re-opens.


The Sustainability Enhancement Fund (SEF) is administered by the Office of Sustainability. The fund is is made possible because of savings generated through Envision, UAlberta's energy management program.

The SEF supports collaborative projects that improve the university's operational performance, foster campus engagement, and demonstrate the viability of best practices and technologies. Awards range from $2,000 up to $50,000 per project. Projects requiring more than $50,000 may be considered where there is a tangible payback to our institution. Applicants with project ideas valuing less than $2,000 should apply for a Green Grant.

Letters of Interest

Interested applicants are invited to submit a Letter of Interest (no more than four pages long). There is no standard format but the following information should be included in a letter or email:

a) Name of organization/team and complete contact information
b) How your proposal links to the university’s strategic priorities (e.g., For The Public Good, Sustainability Commitment & Guiding Principles, Sustainability Plan, Academic Companion Document to the Sustainability Plan, Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, Green Labs Initiative)
c) Project rationale, objectives, potential impacts and general approach
d) Budget and other secured funding sources
e) Grant dollars required
f) Experience and capability of the organization/team delivering the project 
g) Key individuals involved/engaged. Please indicate if any team members are current or past ecoREPs or recent participants in the Green Spaces Certification Program.

The projects proposed in your Letter of Interest should support sustainability objectives in one or more of the following outcome areas: 

  • Outreach & Engagement
    Sharing knowledge, expertise, best practices and lessons learned so all members of the University and the local and global community has the knowledge and tools needed to promote a culture of sustainability.
  • Teaching
    Building opportunities for engaging and educating students, faculty and staff so that everyone has the opportunity to participate in formal learning about sustainability. 
  • Research
    Supporting innovative research and inquiry that improves understanding related to sustainability, leading to real-world solutions and problem-solving. 
  • Facilities & Operations
    Developing strategies and objectives that conserve resources, decrease the production of waste, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, minimize ecological footprints, and build sustainable supply chains. We are especially interested in lab-based initiatives.


Letters of Interest are accepted from students, faculty and staff are accepted year-round on the first Monday of every month unless otherwise noted. 


Any recognized University of Alberta student, student group or club, staff member, association, department, faculty, or central unit is eligible to apply. All undergraduate or graduate student proposals must include a Faculty mentor. Preferential consideration may be given to projects that: 

  • Involve first-time applicants
  • Come with matching funding
  • Demonstrate strong collaboration between students, faculty and staff
  • Involve participants from the Office of Sustainability’s ecoREPs or Green Spaces Certification programs
  • Demonstrate a connection to the Green Labs initiative including: Green Spaces Certification for Labs, Shut the Sash and the Leaders Network
  • Generate financial savings for the university
  • Address the topics of energy efficiency, waste reduction and water conservation

How to Apply

1. Carefully read the Sustainability Enhancement Fund Guidelines

2. Prepare a Letter of Interest

3. Email your submission to


The Chief Sustainability Officer may share your Letter of Interest with others to assess your proposal’s strategic fit with the university’s sustainability priorities. If your letter is deemed to be a good fit you may be invited to prepare a full proposal for further consideration. You may be required to consult, engage or include other members of the campus community in your full proposal and obtain letters of support from key stakeholders. Proposals will be funded on a first-come first-served basis. It may take up to 4 weeks to evaluate a Letter of Interest. 

Past Projects

2017-18 Projects

Support provided for 2 proposal valuing $35,363

"Building Mental Health Resiliency for a Sustainable Campus Community" - Lars Hallstrom (faculty), Augustana Campus. This is a pilot project that is the first step to systematically understanding and supporting the mental health and wellness of students attending the University of Alberta, Augustana Campus. The long-term goal of this project is find innovative ways to decrease the prevalence of stress, anxiety and depression in undergraduate students.

"Strategies for Sustainable Business Case Writing Project" - Joel Gehman (faculty), Faculty of Business. This project supports the publication of case studies about the challenges of and solutions for addressing sustainability considerations in managerial and organizational contexts. These case studies will be utilized by business school faculty around the world in teaching the next generation of business leaders.

2016-17 Projects

Support provided for 8 proposals valuing $215,591 

Cold Room Chiller Conversion - Gareth Lambkin (faculty), Faculty of Science. This project changes the chiller water source to a recycling water loop, which is part of the building's infrastructure. This recycles the water as opposed to using the water once and putting it in the waste stream. This will eliminate the waste of approximately 438,000 litres of water per year. 

Wind Resource Assessment for UAlberta Campus - Brian Fleck (faculty), Faculty of Engineering. This project will develop a quantitative and descriptive assessment of the wind resources and wind interactions on UAlberta’s North Campus. It will install a comprehensive wind measurement sensor network on campus to develop a unique database describing wind velocities and other meteorological data. It will also create a 3D virtual model of the North Campus and surroundings and use it to model wind flows around the buildings, using data from the sensor network to calibrate and adjust the system.

Green Chemistry - Hayley Wan (faculty), Department of Chemistry. Researchers will examine individual chemistry experiments to determine if the amount of chemical waste can be reduced, or recycled for use in other experiments, resulting in less environmental and financial costs.  Investigators will also determine if less toxic materials can be substituted in the experiments without changing the student learning experience, and if the amount of water required for the experiments can be reduced.

“Zero Waste and Hazardous Waste - Implementation and Outreach” - Ray Dumouchel & Shannon Leblanc (staff), Waste Diversion Working Group. Funds will support an outreach intern employee who will  work with the Waste Diversion / Recycling Coordinator to implement the new 4-stream waste collection system in campus buildings.  The new system will increase the amount of organic waste and recyclables, keeping these out of the landfill and increasing the university’s waste diversion rate. 

“Model Green Lab - Augustana Miquelon Lake Research Station” - Glen Hvenegaard (faculty), Augustana Campus. The grant will fund a part-time employee who will work to make the research station a Model Green Lab and demonstrate sustainability best practices to other faculty and students.  This will include having the research station quality for Green Spaces re-certification, hosting outreach events for local schools, and tracking sustainable changes as a result of making the lab Greener (i.e. how much compost is diverted from the landfill as a result of purchasing composting equipment). 

“Water Reduction in Large Scale Fluids Laboratory” - Amit Kumar (faculty), Faculty of Engineering. Funds granted would be used to purchase a new, refrigerant-based cooling system for mechanical engineering pipeline experiments.  The new system would eliminate the need for water to chill the pipeline contents, reducing water use, while resulting in more reliable and accurate experimental conditions.  The project would save both water and associated utility costs, estimated at 4,000 cubic meters of water and $9,000 annually.  

“Model Green Lab - Proposal for Dyck Laboratory” - Jamie Boisvenue (staff), Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. Funding will support the purchase and use of a new machine that uses nano-capillary electrophoresis which will eliminate the need for the traditional use of western blotting techniques.  This will dramatically reduce the use of hazardous chemicals and excess amounts of water, as well as reducing the amount of waste generated, in conventional research labs. 

“Model Green Lab - Campus St. Jean Chemistry” - Vima Babooram and Sara Pelletier (faculty), Campus St. Jean. Funding will be used to measure the impact of new, energy efficient chemistry equipment including the water recycling system; create Green Chemistry teaching resources including manuals and courses; and share this information with the CSJ and U of A communities during a Green Chemistry event in 2017.   

2015-16 Projects

Support provided for 1 proposal valuing $35,000.

Recycling Waste Acetone to Reduce the Need for Chemical Waste Disposal - Hayley Wan (faculty), Department of Chemistry. Funds used will purchase a solvent recycling unit for both the undergraduate teaching and research laboratories.  This will lead to an approximate recovery of 6,160L of acetone per year, keeping it away from chemical waste disposals and saving approximately $16,500 annually in disposal costs.  In addition, this raises awareness of chemical disposal processes and recycling in undergraduate education.

2014-15 Projects

Support provided for 3 proposals valuing $100,680.

“Development of Heritage Chicks Program” – Martin Zuidoff (faculty), Poultry Research Centre, Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences. Funding supports development of a market analysis for heritage chicks program intended to both raise revenue and to preserve the heritage of chicken lines, and creation of educational materials, workshops and videos to educate consumers on how to raise chickens. This project will be positioned as a loan if the market analysis suggests this program will create a viable business.

“Sustainability Protocols for the Augustana Miquelon Lake Research Station” – Glenn Hvenegaard (faculty), Augustana Campus. Funding supports development of a sustainability plan for the station's activities, a sustainability curriculum to be included in university courses and a sustainability outreach plan that includes community service-learning opportunities with community partners. 

“Upgrading Solvent Stills to Solvent Purification Systems for Water Economy and Lab Safety” – Dennis Hall (faculty), Faculty of Science. Funding supports new solvent purification systems that will save water, increase lab safety and support the campus-wide green labs initiative.

2013-14 Projects

Program not offered.

2012-13 Projects

Support provided for 2 proposals valuing $10,670.

“Campus Food Bank” – Joseph Hobbs (undergraduate student), Campus Food Bank. Funding supports purchase of tools to help staff and volunteers better promote services and pursue sustainability efforts, with an emphasis on waste management, reducing energy use and paper consumption.

“Farmers' Market” – Stephy Sylvestre (staff, Students' Union). Funding supports coordinated delivery of the Students' Union's Farmers' Market and the creation of an operational plan that describes how the market will be integrated into the Students' Union operations after May 2014. business plan to embed the Farmers' Marketing into the fabr. purchase of tools to help staff and volunteers better promote services and pursue sustainability efforts, with an emphasis on waste management, reducing energy use and paper consumption.

2011-2012 Projects

Support provided for 4 proposals valuing $107,579.

“Chemical and Materials Engineering Building Energy Visualization and Dashboard” – Phillip Haswell (staff), Office of the Dean, Faculty of Engineering. Funding supports the establishment virtual dashboards that will provide real-time, easily accessible immediate feedback on energy and water use in laboratories. In addition to influencing lab practices related to fumehoods, experimental apparatus and water use at the lab level, an interactive building entrance kiosk will serve as an informational outreach and education portal regarding the Unviersity of Alberta's sustainability initiatives.

“EcoCar Team Sustainable Vehicle Design, Build and Competition" – Matthew Sponiar (undergraduate student), Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering. The EcoCar Team brings students together from different disciplines, to work on the design and build of a cutting-edge, zero-emission, and sustainability-focused vehicle. The team competes at the Shell EcoMarathon in Houston Texas in March 2012. After the competition, the team will use the car to promote environmental awareness and sustainability across Alberta.  

“Miquelon Lake Sustainability Centre (MLSC)” – Lars Hallstrom (faculty), Department of Social Science, Augustana Campus. Funding provide to support the creation of the MLSC which will explore how environmental, social, health and agricultural domains affect each other in increasingly industrialized, urbanized and ecologically sensitive landscapes. Established in collaboration with a range of partners, the MLSC will provide researchers and educators with computer technology and infrastructure for biological, social, policy and applied health science research and teaching, with a broad focus on environmental sustainability.

“Residence Saint-Jean Green Living Support Program” – Mathieu Trepanier (staff), Sustainability Committee, Campus Saint-Jean. Campus Saint-Jean is supporting its residents to live green by integrating power strips and drying racks into every room of Residence Saint-Jean. The initiative will expose residents to more environmentally friendly ways of living while limiting electricity use. The project will assess residents' attitudes and behaviours both before and after the new tools are installed. 

2010-2011 Projects

Support provided for 4 proposals valuing $118,600.

“Augustana In-Vessel Composting Initiative” – Roger Epp (faculty), Augustana Campus. Installation of an in-vessel composter and related outreach programs that provide leadership in Camrose to show how an institution can deal with its organic waste on site.

“Deliberative Engagement and the Sustainable Campus” – David Kahane (staff), Faculty of Arts. The work will yield an accessible toolkit for deliberative engagement on sustainability that will offer practical, step‐by‐step guidance to University groups and units wishing to collaborate with the university community using best‐in‐field tools. It will also deliver a learning event on deliberative engagement.

“Oil Sands Student Delegation” – Andrew Fehr (undergraduate student). Supported field trip to Fort McMurray where students can tour development facilities, assess environmental impacts and expose themselves to the perspectives of various stakeholders. Results are shared at campus information sessions, forums and events.

“Spaces to grow, Spaces to share, Spaces to learn” – Elaine Kolind (staff), Faculty of Education. Rehabilitation of two secure outdoor spaces and installation of raised beds for growing plants significant to Aboriginal cultures and to help the Child Study centre help model how growing projects can be developed in schools. Spaces would also be used as learning spaces to provide information on gardening with low water, native plants, and composting.  


Further Information


Reference Materials