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Celebrating a Successful Partnership for Energy Solutions

Twenty-six researchers, 11 universities, 114 undergraduate and graduate students and postgraduate fellows... all add up to one very big reason to celebrate. On May 17, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)-funded Solar Buildings Research Network (SBRN), led by Dr. Andreas Athienitis of the Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, was recognized as a model for collaborative research between academia and industry.

On behalf of the nationwide SBRN, Athienitis, Hydro-Québec, Natural Resources Canada, Régulvar and Murs EcoTerra Walls were honoured by the Association pour le développement de la recherche et de l'innovation du Québec (ADRIQ) and NSERC. The SBRN was one of eight university-industry partnerships celebrated at a ceremony held at Marché Bonsecours in Montreal.

"I am delighted this progressive partnership his received such positive attention," says Dr. Athienitis. "Our efforts to build a greener Canada - and world - are the result of a collective investment of time, money and talent."

ADRIQ2 Marc Dugré, Régulvar; Gilles Jean, NRCan; Radu Zmeureanu, Concordia, accepting award on behalf of Dr. Andreas Athienitis; Jocelyn Millette, Hydro-Québec; and Jean-Louis Legault, President, ADRIQ

Established in 2005, the SBRN was then the largest Canadian research effort focused on solar energy and buildings.  Due to the fragmented nature of the building process, the research undertaken by the SBRN could only have been conducted through a network partnership approach - collaboration between university research groups with industry and government partners.

Building on the success of the SBRN, Dr. Athienitis was recently awarded a second prestigious NSERC strategic network in this field. The Smart Net Zero Energy Buildings Strategic Research Network (SNEBRN) boasts a 40% increase in industrial participation over SBRN. Funding received from the federal and provincial governments under the Knowledge Infrastructure Program enabled the establishment at Concordia of the Solar Simulator/Environmental Chamber, the only facility of its kind worldwide.  This-state-of-the-art facility will allow the SNEBRN partners to continue and expand upon the excellent work conducted under the SBRN.

A complete list of SBRN partners is presented below.

Universities: Concordia University (host institution), Queen's University, University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, University of Calgary, University of New Brunswick, Ryerson University, Dalhousie University, McMaster University, École Polytechnique de Montréal, Carleton University, University of Western Ontario, Saint Lawrence College.

Industry: Hydro-Québec, Murs EcoTerra Walls (formerly Les Maisons Alouette), Regulvar Inc., EnerWorks Inc., ARISE Technologies, SOMFY Canada, Thermotech Windows, Ltd., Phillips/Canlyte Inc., Advanced Glazings, Unicel, Sevag Pogharian Design, Aeroports de Montréal, Matrix Energy, Agence de l'efficacité énergetique, EPOPD Solar, Conserval Engineering, Day4Energy, Xantrex Corporation.

Federal: NSERC, Natural Resources Canada, and Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

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