Energy and the enviroment

Explore 50 years of Expertise


Safe, Clean, Secure Energy for the World

By 2035, the world will require energy at a level 1.5 times greater than in 2010. As a global energy hub, Calgary can lead with innovative research to allow future generations  to enjoy sustained prosperity with minimal environmental impact, including dramatically reduced carbon emissions.

Stewarding our Shared Environment

From assessing the impact of climate change on parasites in Arctic wildlife and delivering green chemistry breakthroughs to leading in environmental design and incentivizing clean transport and healthy cities, the University of Calgary is proactively caring for this planet we all call home.

1956

ENGINEERING PROGRAM ANNOUNCED

Engineering Faculty Council's recommendations for an Engineering program in Calgary are adopted. The program is to begin with 60 students in September 1957.


1957

ENGINEERING, IN THE NICK OF TIME

Classes begin in September for first-year Bachelor of Science (Engineering) courses. Classes take place in a wartime wooden barrack. A week later, the space age begins with the launch of Sputnik I. Second-year courses are added in 1958.


1963

LAND TRANSFER APPROVED

City of Calgary approves transferring 15 acres north of campus for the Geological Survey of Canada building. Calgary Mayor Grant MacEwan regards this as an advancement in “consolidat[ing] Calgary as the oil capital of Canada.”

DEPARTMENT OF GEOLOGY FORMED

A vibrant cornerstone of the University of Calgary, the Department of Geology has grown and undergone name changes with the further growth of disciplines, particularly in hydrology and environmental geology. As of 2007, the department has been known as the Department of Geoscience.


1964

ALBERTA SULPHUR RESEARCH LTD. INCORPORATES

A consortium of companies in petroleum or allied fields, involved with the production or use of elemental sulphur. The Gazette characterizes its role as “[building] 'bridges of understanding’ between industrial and scholarly endeavours.” Its Fundamental Research Group is housed at UC’s Chemistry Department with J.B. Hyne, former Chemistry Department head, heading the research operation.


1965

ENGINEERING BECOMES A FACULTY

The Faculty of Engineering opened its doors to its first students in the fall of 1965 with 59 students and two faculty members.

1968

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES CENTRE OPENS IN KANANASKIS

Established in 1966 by faculty from Biology, Geology, Chemistry and Geography, projects include decomposer systems, environmental chemistry, environmental physiology, ecosystem production, aquatic biology, land management and geomorphology.


1971

FACULTY OF ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN ESTABLISHED

Program includes architecture, environmental science and urbanism. This sparks a dispute with the University of Alberta, which was trying to establish a School of Architecture at the time.

BUILDING ACADEMIC CAPACITY IN THE ENERGY FIELD

Fred Carrothers, UCalgary president, and Jack Austin, provincial minister of mines, energy and resources, begin a dialogue about the creation of an interdisciplinary energy policy institute. Ultimately, this becomes the Canadian Energy Research Institute.


1976

THE ARCTIC INSTITUTE OF NORTH AMERICA MOVES TO UCALGARY

Originally created by an Act of Parliament in 1945, as a nonprofit tax-exempt research and educational organization, and based at McGill University in Montreal. The institute moved to the University of Calgary in 1976 and in 1979 the Institute became part of the University of Calgary as a university research institute.


1977

COMPUTER MODELING GROUP ESTABLISHED

CMG, the first of its kind in the world, is mandated to develop or purchase computer programs for petroleum and oil sands research simulations.


1979

CANADIAN INSTITUTE OF RESOURCES LAW FOUNDED

Grows into the leading national centre of expertise on legal and policy issues relating to Canada's natural resources.

1980

EYES IN THE SKY

Shell Canada Resources Ltd. donates 234,750 aerial photographs to UCalgary. This donation, along with 175,000 aerial photographs from SAIT, makes the university's collection one of the largest in Canada.


1982

"ALTERNATIVE FUELS IN CANADA" PUBLISHED

The first book the University of Calgary Press publishes is regarding alternative fuels and is titled, “Alternative Fuels in Canada,” by Charles Slagorsky of the Canadian Energy Research Institute.


1985

SAGD EVOLVES AT UCALGARY

Roger Butler, holder of the Chair in Petroleum Engineering, develops steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), assisting oil sands extraction outputs. This system is widely used today throughout the world.


1996

CONTRACT SIGNED TO UPGRADE ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT ON CAMPUS

Since the 1970s, Physical Plant staff and management have worked to reduce the amount of, or make more efficient use of, the energy consumed on campus. An innovative contract was inked with Landis and Staefa Ltd. to upgrade the campus with more efficient electrical equipment and light fixtures, ultimately helping reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and UCalgary's utility bill.

2004

ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY ASPHALT CREATED

Engineering professor Ludo Zanzotto develops new environmentally-friendly and durable asphalt made partially from recycled plastics and rubber tires. Today the City of Calgary Roads Construction Division work with Zanzotto’s researchers to find innovative materials and road construction methods.


2007

OILSANDS UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

Environmental Science students head to Fort McMurray to study impacts of industry on the land. Students visit oilsands operations near Fort McMurray and meet with local environmental and First Nations groups as part of the senior-level class on managing ecosystems disturbed by human activity.


2008

CLIMATE CHANGE STATEMENT ACTION SIGNED

As a signatory to the University and College Presidents’ Climate Change Statement of Action for Canada, the university has committed to leadership in addressing the climate change challenge. UCalgary is one of 25 Canadian post-secondary institutional signatories.

TEACH-IN ON GLOBAL WARMING ORGANIZED ON CAMPUS

Mishka Lysack, assistant professor in the Faculty of Social Work, organizes the first Teach-In on Global Warming and Climate Change at the University of Calgary.


2009

UNIVERSITY EMBRACES SUSTAINABILITY POLICY

In an effort to confirm the university’s commitment to advancing the pursuit of sustainability in teaching, research, community service and operations, a sustainability policy is created. Today the university is engaged in a pan-university approach including curriculum, research, campus operations and community engagement.

2011

GLOBAL ENERGY EXECUTIVE MBA PROGRAM INTRODUCED

A one-of-a-kind, energy-based graduate business degree designed to help transform the global energy industry by preparing the next generation of leaders for its complex and evolving challenges.


2013

ENERGY RESEARCH STRATEGY LAUNCHED

Research underway to deploy solutions in the areas of energy supply and demand disparity, safe and reliable energy sources, responsible stewardship of resources, protecting the environment and people from harm.

UCALGARY RECEIVES GOLD RATING IN SUSTAINABILITY

First Alberta institution to achieve a STARS Gold rating. STARS is the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System measuring sustainability is included in all aspects of higher education.


2014

GLOBAL RESEARCH INITIATIVE LAUNCHED IN CHINA

UCalgary takes a leadership role in driving innovative research in unconventional oil and gas in China and around the world.

EXPERT IN NANOPARTICLES RESEARCH WELCOMED

Steven Bryant is welcomed as Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Materials Engineering for Unconventional Oil Reservoirs.

UCALGARY GREEN ROOF

The rooftop of the Earth Sciences building is living lab. Researchers seek to answer the long-term environmental affects of expanding a green-roof strategy to an entire campus or city.