Canada pledges £3.5m to building energy performance research

Ottawa’s Carleton University will use money from two levels of government to research ways to reduce new and existing buildings’ greenhouse gas emissions.

The local post-secondary institution announced Friday it will receive $3.5 million (£2.2 million) from Natural Resources Canada and an additional $2.1 million (£1.3 million) from the Ontario Research Fund to study ways to combat heat loss in buildings through improved insulation.

Research projects will include exploring the effectiveness of new super-thin insulation products in new builds and the development of software to help building managers monitor and reduce energy use.

Rafik Goubran, vice-president (Research and International) believes Carleton continues to take the lead on advances in sustainable construction.

“The Carleton’s Centre for Advanced Building Envelope Research (CU-CABER) research program will foster clean energy innovation and play an important role in developing new solutions leading to more efficient, resilient buildings,” he said.

Carleton professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and director of CU-CABER Cynthia Cruickshank said in a release that addressing emissions from existing buildings through retrofits will also be key to effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. She said that of the more than 13 million homes already built in Canada, 62 per cent were constructed more than 20 years ago – before the National Building Code had requirements for energy efficiency.

“Solutions for existing buildings will play the biggest role in meeting Canada’s climate change goals,” added Cruickshank.

“Although Canada will construct nearly four million new homes before 2030, more than 13.7 million homes are already built, and 62 per cent of them were constructed more than 20 years ago, before the National Building Code prescribed requirements for energy efficiency.”

As part of the funding, Carleton will also collaborate with Algonquin College and the Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Alaska to develop new building envelope concepts.

Drawing upon advances in super-thin insulation materials, prefabricated construction and panelized retrofits, CU-CABER will develop new approaches to constructing building envelopes that are thinner, cheaper, and new methods for renovating existing buildings with less cost and less disruption.

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