Shift workshops use the principles of community-based social marketing to make it as easy as possible for the public to engage in behaviours such as saving energy, conserving water, using alternative transportation and reducing waste. Scroll down to find more information about the workshops we’ve held over the last few years.



Southern Alberta has some of the best potential for solar energy production in Canada. In 2018-2019, the Biosphere Institute organized three solar open houses in Canmore and Banff, allowing about 200 interested community members to get the facts from solar industry experts, municipal and provincial government representatives, and peers who have already installed rooftop solar panels.

Town of Canmore Solar Incentive

Energy Efficiency Alberta Residential and Commercial Solar Program

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Electric-assist bicycles provide a great transportation alternative for folks who want to reduce their dependency on personal vehicles, but who are looking for a little extra push up those big hills. During two e-bike workshops in Canmore and Banff in the spring of 2018, the Biosphere Institute, local bicycle retailers and other community groups taught 188 community members about the opportunities to purchase and use e-bikes to get around in the Bow Valley.

This 2018 article addresses some of the benefits to e-bikes in the Bow Valley and legalese about their use. For more info on bikes to purchase, check out these 2019 Editor’s Choice for Best Electric Bikes from Electric Bike Review.


rain barrels

Rain barrels are a great way to actively conserve water and make use of the rain. Collecting rainwater reduces storm water erosion and is an easy way to trim your water bill in the summer.

The Biosphere Institute collects used barrels from the Rocky Mountain Soap Company to convert into rain barrels. At our rain barrel workshops, participants assemble and paint their own barrels. We wash, drill and prime the barrels ahead of time and provide all the parts.

Between 2017 and 2019, workshop participants took home 168 rain barrels, cumulatively saving nearly 600,000 litres of water per year.


worm composting

Outdoor food composting is prohibited in Canmore and Banff because it is a wildlife attractant. Indoor worm composting is a great way to turn your discarded fruit and vegetable waste into high quality compost, reducing what goes to the landfill.

Since 2010, hundreds of Bow Valley residents have attended worm composting workshops at the Biosphere Institute and have built worm composters to use in their homes. Taken together, each year these indoor composters divert approximately 12,500 kg of waste and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 276 tonnes. A number of classrooms in Bow Valley schools have also built classroom composters.