evolvGREEN | Culture of Sustainability

The Culture of Sustainability is an evolvGREEN program that seeks to leverage the unique opportunity evolv1 provides and explore new ways of addressing the performance gap that can often be associated with green buildings, and ensure the design performance is realized.

Beyond just the building efficiency, the program was designed to also foster a strong culture of sustainability among the citizens of evolv1, to build a community that has sustainability embedded in its identity.

The Background

GHG emissions from buildings are growing faster than from every other source except transportation, specifically with commercial and institutional buildings seeing an increase. A green building is essentially a building that has been designed, constructed and operated in a way that not only reduces or eliminates negative impacts on our climate and natural environment, but can create positive impacts. However, green building performance can often fall short of the design and this is mainly associated with how the building is managed, commissioned and used by occupants.


of Ontario’s 2016 GHG emissions are from buildings

Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) in Ontario

The Idea

To work towards developing a Culture of Sustainability (COS) in evolv1! A COS is when organizational members hold shared assumptions and beliefs about the importance of integrating the social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainability.

COS is characterized by shared values, norms, language/symbols, and practices among members of an organizational unit (e.g., a building community) focused on making individual and societal choices that foster social, economic and environmental sustainability.

The Team

The COS Program is an evolvGREEN collaborative program that began as a research project with a team from the Laurier Viessmann Centre for Engagement and Research in Sustainability (VERiS), the University of Waterloo and York University working in collaboration with SWR. All of the tenants within evolv1 are partners in this program as well. The COS program is also designed to be co-created with the evolv1 community!

The Outcome

COS uses programming to build community, encourage cross organizational interaction and provide shared learning opportunities.

For building tenants this means an opportunity to be part of fun and interesting events, meet people with shared interests, discover new ways to act more sustainably, learn how they can support individual health and wellness, and understand more about the building, and why it is a unique working environment.

If you would like to learn more about the program, or connect with the COS program team, please reach out to cosmanager@sustainablewaterlooregion.ca and if you work at an evolv1 organization, reach out to make sure you are on our mailing list!

Follow COS on Social Media!