Carleton Researchers Receive NSERC Strategic Partnerships Grant to Assist Sustainable Building Designs

Carleton University researchers have received a $617,000 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Strategic Partnership Grant to investigate technologies assisting in the design of sustainable buildings.

Photo Courtesy of carleton.ca/hr.

“Carleton continues to take the lead working with industry partners on issues related to sustainability,” said Rafik Goubran, Research and International vice-president. “This collaborative project will play an important role in developing sustainable buildings and greener communities.”

Led by Gabriel Wainer, a professor in the department of Systems and Computer Engineering, along with Stephen Fai, Liam O’Brien, and industry partner Autodesk, the team guides interdisciplinary researchers combining the disciplines of systems engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering and architecture.

“Modern building automation systems collect and store vast amounts of data in temporal scales ranging from seconds, to multiple years, and spatial scales ranging from rooms to communities,” said Wainer. “But the tools that facilitate management and visualization of these data are in their infancy. The whole point of our project is greater building sustainability. How can we build or retrofit buildings to reduce emissions and improve sustainability?”

When architects design a building they use a set of tools developed for a process called Building Information Modelling (BIM).

This procedure involves the integration of architectural geometry with information related to the materials and methods of the construction process. Autodesk, is a leading provider of BIM software and will use the research to further improve their tools.

“Autodesk has a unique and exciting opportunity to extend our existing relationship with Carleton with a diverse set of students, and academic professionals across a variety of disciplines in generative design, building science and system simulation,” said Azam Khan, director, Complex Systems Group, Autodesk Research.

BIM systems assist the architect in creating an ecologically responsible design by keeping track of every element of a building. The same system can be used for new construction and older buildings that are being retrofitted.

“With Autodesk Research situated in Toronto, our local collaboration on this multi-faceted project will help accelerate research and our collective knowledge base from designing at the building scale to designing at the campus scale,” said Khan.

In addition to refining existing BIM tools and practices, the project considers a new approach that uses simulations to provide the architect with options during the design process called generative design.

The goal of NSERC’s Strategic Partnership Grant is to increase research and training in targeted areas that could enhance Canada’s economy, society and/or environment within the next 10 years.

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