Culture of Sustainability

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

Beyond just being concerned with the building’s efficiency, the program was designed to foster a strong culture of sustainability among the citizens of evolv1, and to build a community that has sustainability embedded in its very identity.

The Background

GHG emissions from buildings are growing faster than from every other source except transportation, specifically in commercial and institutional buildings. A green building is essentially one that’s designed, constructed, and operated in a way that not only reduces or eliminates negative impacts on our climate and natural environment, but that can actually 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.

The Idea

The idea is simple—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 as a program and research implementation partner. All of the tenants of evolv1 are partners in this program as well. The COS program is also designed to be co-created with the evolv1 community.

COS uses programming to build community, encourage engagement between organizations, 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’s a unique working environment.

If you’d like to learn more about the program or connect with the COS program team, please reach out to and if you work at an evolv1 organization, reach out to make sure you’re on our mailing list!