Better Buildings Boot Camp

 “This program is a unique opportunity for this next generation of students to experience the integrated design and delivery process on a real project building, together for one week, and to learn from each other as well as from professionals and faculty”

-Bettina Hoar, SBC Board Member and Boot Camp Project Director

Apply now!

Monday is about setting GOALS.  Today you will…

  • learn about the goals of the boot camp
  • meet the team from York University
  • meet your TEAM!
  • learn about goal setting in the built environment from a variety of perspectives

In the afternoon, you'll have your choice of attending a spotlight seminar to learn how to make buildings better.  Sessions will include fenestration (windows), opaque assemblies (walls, roofs, etc.), and mechanical systems (heating, cooling, ventilation) including a live Q&A with a professional expert in the field.

Tuesday is about TOOLS OF THE TRADE.  Today, you will:

  • learn about tools and frameworks used to make decisions about buildings (i.e. energy & parametric modelling, Integrated Project Design & Delivery, embodied carbon and Life Cycle Analysis)
  • have time to meet with your TEAM to discuss your presentation on Friday (Day 5)
  • share what tools, vocabulary, frameworks you use in your field of study

In the afternoon, you'll have your choice of attending a spotlight seminar to learn how to make buildings better. Sessions will include fenestration (windows), opaque assemblies (walls, roofs, etc.), and mechanical systems (heating, cooling, ventilation) as well as renewables (i.e. solar), including a live Q&A with a professional expert in the field.

Wednesday is about HUMANS IN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT.  Today, you will:

  • hear an approach to decolonization, inclusion, equity and diversion in the built environment
  • meet a panel discussing accessibility in the built environment
  • learn about indoor environmental quality
  • have time to meet with your TEAM

In the afternoon, you'll have your choice of attending a spotlight seminars to learn how to make buildings better. Sessions will include fenestration (windows), opaque assemblies (walls, roofs, etc.), and mechanical systems (heating, cooling, ventilation) as well as lighting, including a live Q&A with a professional expert in the field.

Thursday you are invited to virtually observe the actual professional design workshop where professional experts and the STLC team will discuss setting design parameters for the project.


  • you’ll learn what some of the more common obstacles are
  • you’ll learn about solutions to those obstacles
  • each TEAM will present their recommendations for design parameters to the York U team
  • Shift & Share: volunteer students will share what their area of interest/study/work/research is and how it might be relevant to making better buildings.
  • Closing remarks and thanks.

For the detailed schedule, click here
To see expectations for student presentations, click here.


Who can attend?
The Boot Camp is open to graduate, certificate or diploma students from Canadian universities and colleges. We encourage students from any and all disciplines to apply! 

What are the dates & times of the program?
The Boot Camp will run throughout the week of June 19-23 Each day begins at 8:30 AM and ends at 3:30 PM. There may be additional time requirements for Team activities. It is important that everyone attend the full week and are able to participate fully in each day's activities including presentations, workshops, and group activities. Please ensure you are able to commit to the full boot camp before you sign up.

What does it cost?
The BBBC is provided FREE by Sustainable Buildings Canada.

Do I have to attend all sessions?
In order to receive a Certificate of Completion you must attend the full conference. Please only sign up if you are able to commit to the full week of August 22 - 26, from 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. EDT.  

What if I cannot attend one (or more) session(s) due to unforeseen circumstances?
We understand, of course, that sometimes emergencies happen. We ask that you contact us ASAP so we can advise your Team members of your absence and determine if you will still be eligible for the Certificate of Completion.

Why was the BBBC created?

The BBBC was created by Sustainable Buildings Canada in 2019 to fill gaps we identified as existing barriers to implementation of best practice for designing, building, and operating better buildings:
1) a paucity of opportunities for cross-institutional academic collaboration. To overcome this barrier, our academic advisory committee that helped to create, and continues to advise us, includes academics from Carleton University, George Brown College, Seneca College, University of Toronto, Toronto Metropolitan University and York University, 
2) a lack of multi-disciplinary collaboration amongst students from different fields of study and different institutions. In our case, the program is open to and has been attended so far by students from 10 colleges and universities across Canada, from traditional building fields such as architecture, building science, engineering as well as non-building fields of study including strategic innovation and foresight, environmental science, anthropology and forestry, etc; and 

3) a void between academic research and innovation and professional practice. Our program was also developed with input from SBC's broad base of subject matter experts in sustainable building. A variety of academics and professionals participate in the camp.

Will participants receive a certificate?
Participants who complete the full week will receive a Certificate of Completion provided by Sustainable Buildings Canada.

What is the virtual platform?
Zoom will be used together to deliver presentations from subject matter experts and work together with fellow students. A free Zoom user account is required to ensure Boot Camp meetings are secure - please sign up prior to June 15. 

Where can I get more information?
Check back here as we update and expand information about this year's BBBC!

What is the format?
The Boot Camp is a week-long virtual course that consists of a combination of presentations, expert panel discussions, workshops, group discussions and projects. 

What will the presentations cover? 
Presentations will cover a broad range of building-related topics including building science, indoor environmental quality, energy generation, lighting design, heating/cooling/ventilation systems, sustainable design, windows and daylighting, energy modeling, community & placemaking, and more. 

Who are the presenters?
Presenters at the Better Buildings Boot Camp are subject matter experts from various disciplines within the building sector. 

What level of interaction will participants have with presenters?
Each presentation will be followed by a Q&A period for students to ask their questions directly to speakers.

Expectations of microphones/cameras virtual etiquette?
It is expected that participants will engage as fully as possible within the technical capacity of their technology/internet connection. For group activities it is preferable to have cameras on whenever possible and microphones off when not speaking to minimize background noise and distractions.

Can participants receive copies of presentations/video recordings after the Boot Camp?
All sessions except the professional workshop will be recorded and available on SBC's YouTube channel after the Boot Camp. When presenters agree to share their presentations, these will be shared with students.

What device/browser should I use?
Zoom can be accessed on most devices but participants will likely have the best experience if joining on a PC/Mac or full-function tablet (e.g. Apple iPad or Microsoft Surface Pro). Ad blockers may cause issues when connecting, if you experience any problems when joining the Boot Camp, try disabling any browser extensions and refreshing the page.

What is the preferred display name for participants?
First, Last, (pronouns)

Who can I reach out to if I'm having technical problems?
Prior to launch, please contact for any support. During the Boot Camp, a contact will be provided for technical support and organizers can be reached through the platform-based chat.

The program will be held virtually online using Zoom. Session and activities will be held from Monday - Friday, June 19th - 23rd, 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. 

The Boot Camp will consist of live webinar plenary sessions facilitated by professional and/or academic experts on topics relevant to the week's project: a deep energy retrofit of an existing student dormitory at York University.  The sessions will contain a variety of individual and panel style discussions and will be interactive through the use of surveys, polls, chat, and contain links to additional information. 

Students will be divided into cross-institutional and multi-disciplinary groups, and participate daily in on-line collaborative group discussions and activities, allowing students to engage directly with each other to determine their group's recommendations for the project building. On Thursday, June 22nd, students will observe the actual professional workshop with the building project team, and students will present their own recommendations and ideas to the project team on Friday, June 23rd.  

Students will receive an invitation to attend directly on Zoom. Once students sign in, the platform allows them to set up a profile, interact with other students and presenters, view the schedule, and attend all sessions.  

Have any questions? 
Feel free to reach out!



“The value of the Better Buildings Boot Camp is that it begins to articulate the requirements for the next generation of high-performance buildings at U of T. Collaboration between sustainability experts and students from a diverse range of backgrounds has produced recommendations that will influence the design of this and other buildings at U of T.”

– David SasakiManaging Director, Campus Planning, University Planning, Design, and Construction, U of T


Students share what aspects of the program they find most valuable

“Being able to work with people from various career backgrounds”

“Networking with professionals, their presentations covering all aspects for retrofitting the building in question and their general experience.”

“Getting to talk with students and experts from different educational backgrounds”

“Getting different perspectives of sustainable building”