New BCIT Research Chair in Advanced Building Technology aims to transform the residential construction industry

The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), in collaboration with BC Housing, is pleased to announce that Dr. Fitsum Tariku has been appointed Research Chair in Advanced Building Technology. This newly established Research Chair will focus on advancing education and research in housing, with particular emphasis on decarbonization of new and existing buildings, and development and integration of advanced building technologies.

Decarbonization with advanced building technologies

Buildings have a significant environmental footprint. Canadian buildings consume about 50% of extracted natural resources and produce 25% of solid landfill waste. They are also responsible for consuming about one-third of the national energy supply and releasing 28% of the total greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Natural Resources Canada data, 86% of the Canadian residential building stock is more than eight years old, and over 77% of the buildings are more than 15 years old. By focusing on retrofitting existing buildings research can help reduce buildings’ impact on the environment and mitigate climate change’s adverse effect on people’s health and comfort.

“This research will influence future residential construction industry standards across Canada and beyond. By advancing building technologies and focusing on decarbonization we can ensure homes in the province are resilient and innovative while reducing our impact on the environment,” said Denisa Ionescu, Senior Manager, Technical Research and Education.

Dr. Tariku brings extensive experience in building performance analysis, measurements, and numerical modeling. With a $200,000 investment from BC Housing, the Advanced Building Technology Research Program will support the federal and provincial governments’ efforts in meeting the net-zero carbon buildings target by 2050. The program will run until 2027 and findings, including the long-term performance, impact on occupant health, and life-cycle costs and benefits of integrating new technologies will be compiled as research reports available on the BC Housing website. It will also be shared with local building industry practitioners, engineers, architects, builders, product manufacturers, policy makers, researchers, and others in the field.

“The Research Chair in Advanced Building Technology is critical in helping Canada meet its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Wayne Hand, Dean, School of Construction and the Environment. “This role demonstrates the strength of post-secondary, industry, and government collaborating to drive innovation and advance sustainability across communities.”

Dr. Tariku is also the Director of BCIT Building Science Centre of Excellence, and the Founding Director of the BCIT Building Science Graduate program. He held two terms as an NSERC Canada Research Chair in Whole-Building Performance, and is currently an adjunct professor at Western Ontario University.

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About the British Columbia Institute of Technology

For nearly 60 years, the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) has been delivering flexible, relevant, and future-proof education that prepares learners to provide applied solutions to industry challenges. As one of BC’s largest post-secondary institutes with five campuses, 300+ programs, and over 45,000 students enrolled each year, BCIT connects education, industry, and government in building an agile workforce with sustained and meaningful impact. Learn more at www.bcit.ca.

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