Brookfield Sustainability Institute Newsletter

Moving towards a smart and sustainable future


Official Launch: BSI Global Mass Timber Database

Spring 2024

The BSI Global Mass Timber Database is set to officially launch in Spring 2024. Created in response to the rapid adoption and commercialization of mass timber. construction, the database will be the largest and most comprehensive repository for mass timber structures worldwide with two navigation methods, advanced filtering options, and a building submission form. The database aims to raise awareness, share knowledge, and inspire the creation of mass timber buildings around the globe.

Click here to learn more.

BSI International Charrette 2024

February 22-26, 2024

The Brookfield Sustainability Institute will be hosting its 21st International Charrette on the theme of sustainable places to live and grow in our cities. The charrette challenges will revolve around the design of affordable and sustainable housing units that follow the simple living philosophy that embraces a low carbon footprint lifestyle. In addition to this, the challenge of the various scales of local growing for food security in the urban context will be explored ranging from personal growing to public growing of food in the city.

Click here to learn more.

The Brookfield Sustainability Institute Digifest Dialogues

May 2024

The BSI ‘Digifest Dialogues’ aims to develop forward-thinking solutions around Smart Sustainability based on societal and planetary challenges. The subject matter themes for the summit are Learning, Work & Governance – Ways of Sharing; Health & Wellness – Ways of Caring and Housing & Infrastructure – Ways of Living.

Click here to learn more.

Interdisciplinary Design Strategy Winter Cohort

January 2024

The BSI will welcome its second cohort to the IDS program in January. Our major project for the next Cohort of the IDSP is “Mobile Sustainable Medical Clinics”. The students will explore alternatives to create a mobile healthcare system that services the needs of GBC’s student body and the local community.

Click here to enroll now.

Our Journey So Far

Major Events

ICF Global Summit 2023

October 25-26, 2023

The Brookfield Sustainability Institute (BSI) participated in the Intelligent Community Forum’s (ICF) Global Summit 2023, held in New York City on October 25 and 26, 2023. The BSI co-organized and facilitated a design charrette titled “From Cultural Revival to Economic Opportunity: Broadband for the Eskasoni Nation”. Participants in the charrette from all over the world collaborated on new solutions for expanding economic opportunity, creating employment and new enterprises, and supporting a better and more connected life for the Eskasoni people.

Click here to learn more.

FOR TOMORROW Fashion Collection Launch

September 2023

The FOR TOMORROW circular economy fashion line, developed by GBC students and the BSI, is supporting systematic shifts in the fashion industry by designing innovative garments that contribute to a more sustainable process. The FOR TOMORROW fashion brand will be available for the GBC community, including college swag, uniforms, and specialized PPE, by working with our own Fashion Exchange production facility and industry partners. BSI is partnering with SIXR who is developing an apparel stewardship app to enable circularity in fashion.  

Order your hoodie now to get a 50% special discount.

Mass Timber Seminar Canada

September 6-8, 2023

The Mass Timber Seminar Canada Conference, co-organized by Rothoblaas and the BSI, and sponsored by Element5 and ULI Toronto, explored mass timber design, construction methods, and recent developments, featuring insights from over 22 guest speakers, including renowned architect of mass timber housing, Jose Toral, a League of Innovators member from Spain. Attendees had the opportunity to connect with fellow professionals and delve into cutting-edge sustainable building innovations.

Click here to learn more.

Brookfield Sustainability Institute (BSI) Launch

May 18, 2023

George Brown College and RBC's Climate Action Institute partnered to host the launch event for the BSI on May 18, 2023, featuring the release of a joint research report. Following video remarks from PM Justin Trudeau, a panel discussion with RBC CEO Dave McKay, EllisDon President and CEO Geoffrey Smith, and Mattamy Asset Management Incorporated Chairman and CEO Peter Gilgan, explored key pathways for decarbonization in the building sector.

Click here to learn more.

Global Solutions Studio


October 19-23, 2023

This October, the BSI hosted its second FIT Charrette. A multidisciplinary team worked towards creating more garments for the FOR TOMORROW brand. The teams designed a rugby shirt, chef's jacket, and chef's apron. The designs embraced FOR TOMORROW’s 6 core sustainable fashion design principles. The charrette featured the power of creativity, empathy, and interdisciplinary collaboration to unlock breakthrough solutions.

Click here to learn more.

BSI Summer International Charrette

June 19-23, 2023

Brookfield Sustainability Institute hosted a charrette to explore three different design challenges - Rethinking the Sustainable ‘Design’ Goals, Tackling the Sargassum Issue, and EcoVisions. Each of these projects focused on design thinking, innovation, exploration, global collaboration, as well as sustainability and resilience. The three participating teams developed potential solutions for a sustainable future for their respective projects.

Click here to learn more.


The BSI assisted Hydrocool with research and created identity and marketing materials, and assessed AI potential for their upcoming project. Hydrocool is a clean-tech start-up company that is de-carbonizing the cold transportation industry through hydrogen-powered cooling technology. This is a multidisciplinary project that includes collaborations with GBC's engineering and artificial intelligence departments.  

Future of Work Charrette

April 24-28, 2023

The BSI, in collaboration with No Fixed Address and industry partners Egan and Exact Furniture, explored innovative solutions for imagining the future of work for creative workers. Their efforts led to the creation of a work connectivity tool and modular furniture line to optimize office space use and flexibility.

Click here to learn more.

RBC Net Zero Building Forum

March 15, 2023

On March 15th, the BSI partnered with the RBC Climate Action Institute for a collaborative session focused on the Decarbonization of the Built Environment. The session, involving industry leaders, resulted in the release of a joint report with the RBC Climate Action Institute.

Click here to learn more.

AlumaPower BSI Charrette

March 8, 2023

The BSI partnered with Canadian clean-tech startup AlumaPower to conduct market intelligence and exploration for the Aluminum-Air Galvanic Generator. This partnership resulted in identifying target market segments and creating innovative clean energy solutions.

Click here to learn more.

BSI Smart Sustainability Charrette

February 23-27, 2023

In February this year, students from KEA Copenhagen School of Design and Technology, Politecnico di Milano, Università Commerciale L. Bocconi, University of Toronto, and George Brown College collaborated to address significant climate challenges across various subjects. The topics ranged from city planning, architecture and interior design, urban agriculture, and heritage conservation

Click here to learn more.

FIT Charrette

October 24-28, 2022

George Brown College students specializing in fashion, marketing, and design were challenged to counter the fashion industry's wasteful model by integrating circular design, technology, and student needs.  The participating teams successfully created three sustainable garments that approached the design challenge in unique ways. This led to the creation of George Brown College's first circular clothing brand, FOR TOMORROW.

Click here to learn more.

Education Programs

Field trip to the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood

November 1, 2023

As a part of the Environment Course at the Interdisciplinary Design Strategy Program (IDS), the students collected GIS-based real-time data through a field trip to the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood. They analyzed opportunities and barriers in urban food insecurity through a sustainable lens.

Life-Centred Design Workshop

September 29 – October 1, 2023

Organized at George Brown College’s Brookfield Sustainability Institute, this two-day immersive weekend workshop explored life-centered design as a methodology that applies to the urban setting and in ways that it can positively affect large liveable cities.

Click here to learn more.

Interdisciplinary Design Strategy Program at BSI

September 2023

The BSI welcomed the fall 2023 Interdisciplinary Design Strategy (IDS) student cohort. The IDS (Postgraduate) program is based on the BSI’s integrated learning model, which combines theory with a full range of creative work required for interdisciplinary design strategy.

Click here to learn more.

ESG Immersive Learning Series with Toronto Region Board of Trade Series

May 18, 24, & 31, 2023

Empowering business professionals with real world tools, this three-session course facilitated by George Brown College and the BSI taught participants how to unite cross-functional teams to face sustainability challenges and to generate solutions.

Click here to learn more.

Observatory & Research

BSI Global Mass Timber Database Prototype Launch

September 8, 2023

The BSI announced the launch of the BSI Global Mass Timber Database prototype at the Mass Timber Seminar Canada Conference. Following remarks from Brookfield Sustainability Institute  Chair and CEO Luigi Ferrara, GBC students Isabel Mactal & Sarah Park presented an introduction to database features and a live demonstration of the prototype. The prototype was a success and generated interest from conference attendees.  

Click here to view the prototype.

High Rise Low Carbon: Canada’s $40 billion Net Zero building challenge

May 17, 2023

Canada is facing a pressing need for sustainable housing solutions as it anticipates accommodating a significant influx of new Canadians. To address this challenge, the RBC Climate Action Institute and George Brown College's Brookfield Sustainability Institute have launched the paper “High Rise Low Carbon: Canada’s $40 billion Net Zero building challenge”, which aims to inform Canadians about the critical importance and economic prospect of sustainable construction.

Click here to read the full report.

Breaking Binaries- The Brookfield Sustainability Institute: Positioning Polytechnics as a Thought Leadership Strategic Bureau

November 2023

Published in the Journal of Innovation in Polytechnic Education (JIPE) by Humber Press , the article mentions distinctive differentiators for polytechnic educational institutions, key to which is the formation of thought leadership entities. With the creation of the Brookfield Sustainability Institute at George Brown College, we have successfully created a centre of excellence for thought leadership that transcends the local market and allows the college to interact globally.

Click here to read the full article.

A Journey to Smart Sustainability: First of Three Papers on the Phygital

Published by the diid journal, the article gives an account of the major projects that were undertaken at the Institute without Boundaries (IwB), the key to which was how digital transformation could accelerate and support changes in behaviour that have a tremendous impact on carbon reduction. It also mentions the initial BSI projects that will start solving industry challenges in an effort to close the gap and make a difference to the climate crisis, through smart sustainability solutions.

Click here to read the full article.

Housing Innovation and the Toronto Model for Urbanism

Published in Techne, the article covers the development of an innovative local model for housing, neighbourhood design and urban redevelopment that can be described as the Toronto model for development, which has paved the way for a new sustainable urban design.

Click here to read the full article.

Building Limberlost Place

This iconic book captures, in pictures and words, the story of the early stages of Limberlost Place, from initial discussions, through the studies and competition, up to and including the ceremonial groundbreaking held on December 14, 2021.

Click here to read the book.

Inspiration From Across The Globe

Nike + ISPA  

NIKE's ISPA initiative is revolutionizing footwear by creating shoes from recycled and repurposed materials. Adhering to the ISPA ethos, these shoes are designed to be taken apart, pieced together into new looks, and repurposed. Algae inks and dyes that have been sourced locally or made from repurposed food waste, are used to customize the patterns.  

Read more


Turbine Turnstiles

Weber Shandwick partnered with Iberdrola, , to launch a campaign that replaced turnstiles in the Parisian subway system with kinetic energy-generating wind turbines. Six prototypes produced over 0.2 watts of renewable energy per person, potentially generating more than 900K watts of clean energy daily, enough to power an entire subway line and reduce carbon emissions by 30K tons annually.

Read more

A Day At The BSI

The Brookfield Sustainability Institute team