Making buildings clean & smart; Concordia’s new NSERC Industrial Research Chair
September 3, 2013 - From office towers and shopping malls to educational institutions, Concordia University says Canadian buildings account for roughly half of all electricity consumed the country. Thanks to new research funding, however, buildings may soon become less of a power drain.
By Anthony Capkun
More than $2 million in funding—made possible by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Hydro-Quebec, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and Régulvar—will create the new senior NSERC Industrial Research Chair in “Optimized Operation and Energy Efficiency: toward High-Performance Buildings” at Concordia. The goal of this research endeavour is to make buildings cleaner and smarter.
“This support is visionary because it aims to transform the built environment for generations to come,” said Concordia president Alan Shepard. “The research program will test the latest technologies and teach graduates how to apply sustainable practices in buildings across Canada and around the world.”
The funding for this research chair will go toward a research and training program focused primarily on commercial and institutional buildings. One of the key areas of study will be the development of new techniques to reduce buildings’ electricity consumption during peak demand periods.
“We’re going to be working on developing and testing smart features, such as computerized technology that can predict energy demand, integrated systems like solar panels, and heat-storage technologies,” explained Andreas Athienitis, the inaugural chairholder.
Athienitis and his graduate students will carry out case studies on existing buildings in which, through retrofits, they will attempt to prove the validity of techniques they have developed through their research.