Sustainable communities: people & places

Sustainable Buildings and Communities
Sustainable buildings and communities are a focus of IESVic.

Energy systems ultimately exist to support the wellbeing of people and communities. Communities have diverse energy profiles, capacities and needs.  Understanding community-level energy systems helps to ensure that technologies work in place and support community social and economic development and resilience. 

Individual Behaviours

Environmental psychology considers the relationship between the environment and human behaviour. Motivating individuals and organizations to act on climate change is a complex problem, but vital for a collective response. Research aimed at developing tools for objectively measuring individual differences is needed to understand and develop behavior-change strategies, as well as to inform technology and policy design and deployment.

Bridging Urban and Rural divides

Larger and smaller communities can have different energy assets and needs.  Urban populations frequently dominate the discussion on energy transitions, putting up barriers with rural populations who bear the brunt of large scale energy developments and perceive mandates forcing changes in lifestyle. Identifying approaches to bridge this urban-rural divide is an active area of research.

Remote and Indigenous Communities

The energy transition challenges of diesel-dependent communities are unique, in particular for Indigenous communities within an emerging context of reconciliation efforts. Energy systems represent in many cases both a colonial history as well as future potential opportunities. Ongoing projects work to support these communities in exploring the energy-related options available for achieving their aspirations towards community resurgence.


Unforeseen events such as extreme weather can stress infrastructure and lead to failure. The ability to adapt, respond and recover from shocks is a defining feature of resilience. Research on this important topic is connected to strategies for climate change adaptation.

Smart communities

Industrial ecology studies the flows of energy and materials throughout communities and Nations. The measurement and collection of data describing urban life is being used to increase efficiency and reduce the environmental impacts of communities. Energy use, transportation systems, and waste management are some of the areas where new, smarter communities can become more sustainable.