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Professor Berardi Named Canada Research Chair

July 05, 2021
Umberto Berardi

Professor Berardi has been named the Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Building Science for developing and testing new, state-of-the art construction materials for more sustainable and resilient buildings.

Being named one of Canada’s Research Chairs, what do you hope to accomplish over the next 5 years with this funding? Or, perhaps, can you talk about major aims or areas of research, or upcoming projects?

It's an honour and a great responsibility. This CRC research program aims to develop and test advanced responsive building façade systems that integrate nanotechnologies to reduce the energy demand of buildings drastically and to increase the resiliency of buildings against climate change, and heat waves likes the one this summer. The performance of new advanced building façade systems incorporating phase change materials, aerogel and solar-reflecting coatings, will be investigated for Canadian climatic conditions using our new state-of-the-art facilities.

We'll be able to hire new students who will be tasked with studying the aging and weathering performance of new building façade systems within the urban built context. Finally, the program will train some HQPs on urban energy modeling focusing on ways to design zero-energy and climate-proof communities incorporating advanced approaches such as community thermal energy storage and sharing.

How do you think students in the building science program here will benefit from this expanded funding?

There will be many opportunities - many scholarships are available and the program will also allow inviting speeches, visiting researchers  and expand the visibility of the work we do.

What do you see as the future of BeTOP Lab with this additional funding?

It will push the boundaries of our research towards daily application, making it stronger. This would unlock other funding and provide stronger and lasting motivation and contributions. We need to help Toronto and as well as communities across the country become more sustainable!

Buildings are major consumers of resources. Typically, 40 per cent of the energy globally is consumed by buildings,” said professor Berardi. “Recognizing the need to fight against climate change, emissions from Canadian buildings must be reduced by nearly half in the next 10 years. The CRC will enable us to conduct applied research with the building sector that will drastically reduce the energy demand of buildings and increase the resiliency of buildings against climate change.

How would you want the technologies you’re working on to be applied to the building sector and the built environment as a whole? What would the city of the future look like to you, if it were up to you?

Greener, with a different and deepened sense of democracy. We need to promote flexibility, share our experiences, and promote access to natural resources. I want to be able to buy renewable energy, I want to be able to store energy in order to find ways to produce or share it with others. As we do for bike and car sharing today, we need to open the model towards a different sense of ownership.