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Canada launches network to investigate solar energy for buildings

Concordia University in Montreal is to be the headquarters for a new Canadian research network to study and develop...


Concordia University in Montreal is to be the headquarters for a new Canadian research network to study and develop solar energy for buildings. The network’s goal is to adopt new solar technologies for buildings to the Canadian climate and market.
The Solar Buildings Research Network as a whole involves 24 researchers from 10 Canadian universities: University of Calgary, Concordia University, Dalhousie University, McMaster University, University of New Brunswick, cole Polytechnique de Montral, Queen’s University, Ryerson University, University of Toronto, and University of Waterloo.
The research will focus on four themes: integration of solar energy systems into buildings, led by Dr. Athienitis of Concordia; use of solar thermal systems for heating and cooling led by Dr. Stephen Harrison of Queen’s University; solar electricity generation in buildings led by Dr. Liuchen Chang of the University of New Brunswick; and simulation tools for solar building design led by Dr. Ian Beausoleil-Morrison of Natural Resources Canada.
“This is the first time that Canada has undertaken such a concerted effort to develop and integrate solar technologies into buildings,” said Dr. Athienitis of Concordia. “This unique effort will place Canada among the world leaders in the development of cost-effective, solar-optimized buildings, with net-zero annual energy consumption, and improve the competitiveness of our industry in the growing sustainable products sector.”
The federal government is supplying $5.4 million funding, which will be provided over five years. The funds will be directed through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s (NSERC) Strategic Network Grants program ($4.7 million), Natural Resources Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. In addition, Hydro-Qubec is promising to invest $75,000 and there are more than 20 other Canadian industry partners.
More than 100 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and undergraduate students will be involved in the research.