Concordia University

Andreas K Athienitis, Eng., PhD, FCAE

Professor, Building, Civil, and Environmental Engineering

Director, Concordia Centre for Zero Energy Building Studies (EV 15.101)

Office: S-EV 6159 
Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex,
1515 St. Catherine W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 8791
Website(s): Solar Buildings

Dr. Andreas K. Athienitis is a Professor of Building Engineering at Concordia University.  He is the Scientific Director of the NSERC Smart Net-zero Energy Buildings Strategic Research Network (SNEBRN: 2011-2016) and the founding Director of the NSERC Solar Buildings Research Network (SBRN: 2005-2010). He holds a Senior NSERC/Hydro Quebec Industrial Research Chair and a Concordia University Research Chair, Tier I. He obtained a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering (1981) from the University of New Brunswick and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo (1985). He was profiled as one of 25 top innovators in Quebec by Actualité Magazine (Sep. 15, 2009) and is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. He was named Concordia University Research Fellow (Senior) in 2010.


His research expertise is in solar energy engineering, energy efficiency, optimization and control of building thermal systems, building‑integrated photovoltaics and daylighting. He is the author of more than 200 refereed papers, the Mathcad electronic book "Building Thermal Analysis" and the graduate level book "Thermal Analysis and Design of Passive Solar Buildings".  He is a recipient of several best paper awards, including ASHRAE Willis H. Carrier award. He has served as Associate Editor of the ISES Journal "Solar Energy" and in ASHRAE Technical Committees. He has received numerous awards, including an NSERC-ADRIQ (Association pour le développement de la recherche et de l'innovation du Québec) Celebrate Partnerships Award. His international activities include subtask leader for IEA SHC/ECBCS Task 40/Annex 52 focused on net-zero energy solar buildings, and contributing author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for Direct Solar Energy.

He has received more than $20 M of research grants as P.I., including approximately $14 M for the SBRN and SNEBRN research programs (2005-2016). In 2011 he led the development of the $4.6M Solar Simulator and Environmental Chamber (SSEC) laboratory at Concordia funded by the KIP program. He has supervised over 70 students at all levels, several of whom have become professors in Canada, the US and overseas. He has served both as Graduate Program Director and Undergraduate Program Director in the Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is currently the Director of the Concordia Centre for Zero Energy Building Studies.


  • Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, May 1985, University of Waterloo, Waterloo Canada
  • B.Sc. Mechanical Engineering, May 1981, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton Canada

Honours and awards

  • Fellow, Canadian Academy of Engineering
  • Concordia University Research Award (Technology, Industry and Environment - Established Category) 2010.
  • Concordia University Research Chair Tier I  (Jan. 2006 – present) – Integration of Solar Energy Systems into Buildings.
  • Willis H. Carrier Best Paper Award from American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (1991).
  • Izaak Walton Killam Post Doctoral Scholarship (University of Alberta, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, 1985-87).
  • Commonwealth Scholarship (University of New Brunswick: 1978-81).

Scholarly and professional activities

  • Appointed to Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) (2009).

  • Member of NSERC Selection Panel for Discovery Grants in Mechanical Engineering, 2009-2012.

  • Member of Canadian Delegation in US-Canada Clean Energy Roundtable Dialogue, Washington, June 2009.

  • Subtask B (Design tools) co-leader, IEA SHC Task 40 / ECBCS Annex 52 “Towards Net-zero Energy Solar Buildings”  (2008 – present)

  • Member of NSERC Selection Panel 2 for Strategic Grants (Energy),  2007 – 2008.

  • Associate Editor, Journal of the Intern. Solar Energy Society "Solar Energy", 1997-2004.

  • Member of the Building Operation Dynamics Technical Committee, and of the Radiant and in-space Convective Heating and Cooling Technical Committee of ASHRAE (2004-2006).

Professional society memberships

  • Member, Order of Engineers of Quebec

  • Member, Canadian Society of Mechanical Engineers

  • Member, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

  • Member, International Solar Energy Society (ISES).

Research interests and activities

Research activities are focused on development and integration of solar energy systems into buildings to generate electricity, useful heat and for daylighting. My long term vision is the realization of solar buildings operating in Canada as integrated advanced technological systems that generate in an average year as much energy as they consume.

A key element of our approach is that solar technologies are integrated in an optimal manner with energy efficiency measures, with the building envelope and with HVAC systems, so the potential energy savings are even higher than separately applying the two approaches and reductions in total cost may be realized.

I am looking for new graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with strong backgrounds in building engineering or civil/mechanical engineering and related fields (applied physics, architectural engineering etc) to work in exciting projects using a new state-of-the-art solar simulator and environmental chamber – an internationally unique laboratory.

Dr. Athienitis with the JMSB solar façade system in the background.

Teaching activities


Design principles of solar buildings, including direct gain, indirect gain and solaria. Analytical and computer models of passive systems. Performance of glazing systems, transparent insulation, and airflow windows. Building-integrated photovoltaic systems. Thermal storage sizing for solar energy
storage; phase-change thermal storage. Thermosyphon collectors. Prevention of overheating, shading systems and natural ventilation.

Depletion of conventional energy sources and emission of greenhouse gases. Principles of renewable energy systems; production of electrical and thermal energy, photovoltaic systems, wind power, fuel cells, hybrid systems. Reduction in carbon dioxide and other emissions. Hydrogen and other forms of energy storage for renewable power production. Integrated energy systems for buildings and automobiles. Small-scale renewable energy systems for buildings; independent versus grid-connected systems.

Production, measurement and control of light. Photometric quantities, visual perception and colour theory. Daylight and artificial illumination systems. Radiative transfer, fixture and lamp characteristics, control devices and energy conservation techniques. Design of lighting systems. Solar energy utilization and daylighting. Integration of lighting systems with mechanical systems for energy conservation and sustainable development. Students will complete a design or research project.

Modelling of building envelope thermal performance. Thermal bridges and stresses. Moisture transfer and accumulation. Thermal storage systems integrated in the building envelope. Advanced glazings and evaluation of window performance. Experimental techniques for performance evaluation of the building envelope; infrared thermography, guarded hot box and calibrated hot box tests.

Student supervision

I am currently supervising 6 Ph.D and 4 M.A.Sc. students, as well as two researchers. Employers of graduated students include Purdue University, Carleton University, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, SNC- Lavalin, Natural Resources Canada – CANMET, Hong Kong Polytechnic and several large engineering design and consulting firms.

Students interested in my projects may contact the Project Administrative Coordinator Lyne Dee or myself.

Research activities

Current projects

Funded by NSERC, NRCan, CMHC, Hydro Quebec and other industries in the SNEBRN Network:

  • Development of innovative photovoltaic-thermal systems and their integration into the building envelope and with HVAC systems;
  • Solar design, modeling and daylight control of perimeter zones in office buildings;
  • Integrated modelling, design and control of direct gain systems with floor heating;
  • Load and demand management in solar-optimized buildings;
  • Modelling and design of net-zero energy solar buildings;
  • Test of novel concepts in a large scale solar simulator – environmental chamber laboratory; this unique laboratory enables testing of solar systems and advanced building envelope components under simulated sunlight and exterior temperatures in the range -40 C to 60 C. This internationally unique lab includes a large scale solar simulator.

Research facilities

Major research facilities of my team are the Solar-Daylighting lab on the 16th floor of the EV building and the newly built Solar simulator – Environmental Chamber Laboratory. The Solar-Daylighting lab and its adjacent atrium as well as the roof of EV and BE will be used for many unique projects of the Network. A variety of equipment has been acquired, including solar instruments, infrared camera, particle image velocimetry system and heat flow meters. Our lab also includes an artificial sky (3 x 3 x 3 m) facility.

The large scale solar simulator shown in the figure below (left) integrated with a two-storey high environmental chamber (right) is a unique facility that will allow the testing and development of building-integrated solar systems and advanced envelope assemblies under a broad range of simulated outdoor temperatures and solar radiation levels.

Demonstration projects

Dr. Athienitis and his students played a key role in the design of the EcoTerra - an innovative solar house built under the EQuilibrium housing demonstration program conducted by CMHC. The house includes roof building-integrated photovoltaic/thermal (BIPV/T) systems designed by Athienitis and his students. Simulation models for research, design and control, as well as innovative whole-house energy systems aimed at achieving net-zero annual energy consumption have been developed.  These systems integrate our BIPV/T designs with existing technologies such as passive solar and ground source heat pumps. A BIPV/T roof based on concepts and designs developed by our group was built as a complete prefabricated module in the factory of our partner Alouette Homes, who received the "Reconnaissance - Recherche et développement en habitation" award of the Quebec Construction Association in 2008 with special mention of our team’s role in the research. This is the first time that a complete roof section is built as a hybrid solar-thermal and electricity generating system (BIPV/T roof), complete with wiring, ducting and ready for assembly with other building modules.

The most recent demonstration project involving a full scale facade-integrated BIPV/T system at the JMSB building of Concordia University received much international attention, including a special program on Discovery Channel. It is the world’s first fully functional architecturally integrated BIPV/T façade to use high efficiency distributed air inlet technology.

Concordia solar simulator testing BIPV/T air collector in horizontal position (can vary tilt angle from vertical to horizontal).
Concordia mobile solar simulator with two-storey high environmental chamber (custom design).
EcoTerra demonstration with BIPV/T system (top roof).


Selected recent refereed journal papers and books

(student names in boldface)

  • Yang, T. and Athienitis, A.K. (2016). “A Review of Research and Developments of Building-Integrated Photovoltaic/Thermal (BIPV/T) Systems”. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol. 66: 886-912.
  • Chen, Y., Galal, K. E. and Athienitis, A.K. (2016). “Integrating hollow-core masonry walls and precast concrete slabs into building space heating and cooling. Journal of Building Engineering, Vol. 5: 277-288.
  • Kapsis K. and Athienitis, A. K. (2015). “A study of the potential benefits of semi-transparent photovoltaics in commercial buildings”, Solar Energy, Vol. 115: 120-132.
  • Yang, T. and Athienitis, A.K. (2015). “Experimental investigation of a two-inlet air-based building integrated photovoltaic/thermal (BIPV/T) system”, Applied Energy, Vol. 159: 70-79.
  • Bastien, D. and Athienitis, A.K. (2015). “Methodology for selecting fenestration systems
  • in heating dominated climates”. Applied Energy, Vol. 154: 1004-1019.
  • Bastien, D., Dermardiros, V. and Athienitis, A.K. (2015). “Development of a new control strategy for improving the operation of multiple shades in a solarium”. Solar Energy, Vol. 122, 277-292.
  • Saberi A.D., Candanedo J.A., Chen Y., Dehkordi V.R. and Athienitis A.K. (2015). “Modelling approaches for the characterization of building thermal dynamics and model-based control: A case study”, Science and Technology for the Built Environment, Vol. 21(6): 824 – 836.
  • Candanedo, J.A., Dehkordi, V.R., Saberi A.D. and Athienitis, A.K. (2015). "Near-optimal transition between temperature setpoints for peak load reduction in small buildings", Energy and Buildings, Vol. 87: 123-133.
  • Yang, T. and Athienitis, A.K. (2014). "A study of design options for a building integrated photovoltaic/thermal (BIPV/T) system with glazed air collector and multiple inlets." Solar Energy, Vol. 104: 82-92.
  • Chen, Y., Galal, K. and Athienitis, A.K. (2014). "Design and operation methodology for active building-integrated thermal energy storage systems", Energy and Buildings, Vol. 84: 575-585.
  • Chen, Y., Athienitis A.K. and Galal K. (2014). "A charging control strategy for active building-integrated thermal energy storage systems using frequency domain modelling", Energy and Buildings, Vol. 84: 651-661.
  • Hachem C., Athienitis A.K and Fazio P. (2014).  “Energy performance enhancement in multistory residential buildings”. Journal of Applied Energy, Vol. 116, pp. 9-19.
  • O’Brien, W. Kesik, T., Athienitis, A. (2014). “Use of solar design days to support passive solar house design”. ASHRAE Trans., Vol. 120 (1), pp. 101-113.
  • Bucking, S., Athienitis, A.K. and Zmeureanu, R. (2014). “Multi-objective optimal design of a near net-zero energy solar house”. ASHRAE Trans., Vol. 120(1), pp. 224-235. (Best paper award).
  • Temby, O., Kapsis, K., Berton, H., Rosenbloom, D., Gibson, G., Athienitis, A., & Meadowcroft, J. (2014). “Building-integrated photovoltaics: distributed energy development for urban sustainability”. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 56(6), 4-17.
  • Bucking, S., Athienitis, A.K. and Zmeureanu, R. (2013). “An information driven hybrid evolutionary algorithm for optimal design of a Net Zero Energy House”. Solar Energy, Vol. 96, pp. 128-139.
  • Chen, Y., Athienitis A.K and Galal K. (2013). “Frequency domain and finite difference Modelling of ventilated concrete slabs and comparison with field measurements: Part 1, Modelling methodology”. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 66, pp. 948-956.
  • Chen, Y., Athienitis A.K. and Galal K. (2013). “Frequency domain and finite difference Modelling of ventilated concrete slabs and comparison with field measurements: Part 2, application”. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 66, pp. 957-966.
  • Hachem, C., Fazio, P. and Athienitis (2013). “Solar Optimized Residential Neighborhoods: Evaluation and Design Methodology”, Solar Energy, Vol. 95, Sep., pp. 42–64.
  • O’Brien, W., Kapsis K and Athienitis, A.K. (2013). “Manually-operated window shade patterns in office buildings: A critical review”. Building and Environment, Vol. 60: p. 319–338. 
  • Hachem, C., Athienitis, A., Fazio, P. (2012). “Evaluation of energy supply and demand in solar neighbourhoods”, Energy and Buildings, Vol. 49, pp. 335-347.
  • Karava, P., Athienitis, A.K., Stathopoulos, T. and Mouriki, E. (2012). “Experimental Study of the Thermal Performance of a Large Institutional Building with Mixed-mode Cooling and Hybrid Ventilation”, Building and Environment, Vol. 57, Nov., pp. 313–326.
  • Chen, Y., A. K. Athienitis and K. Galal. (2012). “Thermal Performance and Charge Control Strategy of a Ventilated Concrete Slab (VCS) with Active Cooling Using Outdoor Air”. ASHRAE Trans., 118(2): 556-568.
  • Hachem C., Athienitis, A.K. and Fazio, P. (2012). “Design of roofs for increased solar potential of BIPV/T systems and their applications to housing units”, ASHRAE Trans., Vol. 118(2), pp. 660-676.
  • Hachem C., Athienitis, A.K and Fazio P. (2012). “Evaluation of energy supply and demand  in solar neighbourhood”, Energy and Buildings, Vol. 49, June, pp. 335–347.
  • Athienitis, A. K., Bambara, J., O'Neill, B. & Faille, J. (2011). “A prototype photovoltaic/thermal system integrated with transpired collector”. Solar Energy, 85(1), 139-153.
  • Candanedo, J.A. & Athienitis, A.K. (2011), Predictive control of radiant floor heating and solar-source heat pump operation in a solar house, HVAC & R Research 17(3), 235-256.
  • Hachem, C., Athienitis A.K. & Fazio P. (2011). “Parametric investigation of geometric form effects on solar potential of housing units”, Solar Energy, 85(9), 1864–1877.
  • Hachem, C., Athienitis A.K. & Fazio P. (2011). Investigation of solar potential of housing units in different neighborhood designs, Energy and Buildings, 43(9), 2262–2273.
  • Karava P., Stathopoulos T. & Athienitis A.K. (2011). “Airflow assessment in cross-ventilated buildings with operable façade elements”, Building and Environment, 46, 266-279.
  • Candanedo, L.M. & Athienitis A.K. (2011). “Convective heat transfer coefficients in a building-integrated photovoltaic/thermal system”, ASME Journal of Solar Energy Engineering, 133.
  • Candanedo, J.A., Allard, A. & Athienitis, A.K. (2011). Predictive control of radiant floor heating and transmitted irradiance in a room with high solar gains, ASHRAE Transactions, 117(1).
  • Pantic, S., Candanedo, L. M. & Athienitis, A. K. (2010). “Modeling of Energy Performance of a House with Three configurations of building-integrated photovoltaic/thermal systems. Energy and Buildings, 42(10), 1779-1789.
  • Chen, Y., Athienitis, A. K. & Galal, K. (2010). “Modeling, design and thermal performance of a BIPV/T system thermally coupled with a ventilated concrete slab in a low energy solar house: Part 1, BIPV/T system and house energy concept”, Solar Energy, 84(11), 1892-1907.
  • Chen, Y., Galal, K. & Athienitis, A. K. (2010). “Modeling, design and thermal performance of a BIPV/T system thermally coupled with a ventilated concrete slab in a low energy solar house: Part 2, ventilated concrete slab. Solar Energy, 84(11), 1908-1919.
  • O'Brien, W., Kennedy, C., Athienitis, A.K., & Kesik, T. (2010). "The Relationship Between Net Energy Use and the Urban Density of Solar Buildings", Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 37(6) 1002-1021.
  • Bessoudo, M., Tzempelikos, A., Athienitis, A. K. & Zmeureanu, R. (2010). “Indoor thermal environmental conditions near glazed facades with shading devices - Part I: Experiments and building thermal model”, Building and Environment, 45 (11), 2506-2516.
  • Tzempelikos, A., Bessoudo, M., Athienitis, A. K. & Zmeureanu, R. (2010). “Indoor thermal environmental conditions near glazed facades with shading devices - Part II: Thermal comfort simulation and impact of glazing and shading properties. Building and Environment, 45 (11), 2517-2525.
  • Candanedo, J. & Athienitis, A.K. (2010). “A Simulation Study of Anticipatory Control Strategies in a Net Zero Energy Solar House”,  ASHRAE Trans., 116(1), 246-259.
  • Candanedo, L.M., Athienitis, A.K., Candanedo, J., O'Brien, W. & Chen, Y.X. (2010). “Transient and Steady State Models for Open-Loop Air-Based BIPV/T Systems", ASHRAE Trans., 116(1), 600-613.
  • Tzempelikos, A., Athienitis, A. K. & Nazos, A. (2010). “Integrated design of perimeter zones with glass facades”, ASHRAE Trans., 116(1), 461-478.
  • Nemati O., Collins M., Candanedo L.M. & Athienitis, A.K. (2010). “Experimental and Numerical Investigation of a Mechanically Ventilated, Double Glazing Facade with Between-the-Panes Venetian Blinds”,  ASHRAE Trans., Vol. 116, Pt. 1, 382-391.
  • Fang, X., Athienitis A.K. & Fazio P. (2009). “Methodologies for shortening test period of coupled heat-moisture transfer in building envelopes”, Applied Thermal Engineering, Vol. 29, pp. 787-792.
  • Tzempelikos, A., Karava, P., Candanedo, L.M., Bessoudo, M. & Athienitis, A.K. (2009). “Investigation of thermal and airflow conditions near glazed facades using particle image velocimetry and CFD simulation – eliminating the need for secondary perimeter heating systems”, ASHRAE Trans., 115(1), 523-537.
  • Liao L., Athienitis A.K., Candanedo L., Park K.W., Poissant Y. & Collins M. (2007). “Numerical and Experimental Study of Heat Transfer in a BIPV/thermal System”, ASME Journal of Solar Energy Engineering, Vol. 129, Nov., pp. 423-430.
  • Tzempelikos A., Athienitis A.K. & Karava P. (2007). “Simulation of façade and envelope design options for a new university building”, Solar Energy, 81, pp. 1088-1103.
  • Tzempelikos A. & Athienitis A.K. (2007). “The Impact of Shading Design and Control on Building Cooling and Lighting Demand”, Solar Energy, 81, pp. 369-382.
  • Karava P., Stathopoulos T. & Athienitis A.K. (2007). “Wind-driven Natural Ventilation Analysis”, Solar Energy, 81(1), pp. 20-30.
  • Karava P., Stathopoulos T. & Athienitis A.K. (2006). “Impact of internal pressure coefficients on wind driven ventilation analysis”, International Journal of Ventilation, 5(1), pp. 53-66.
  • Charron R. & Athienitis A.K. (2006). "Design and Optimization of Net Zero Energy Solar Homes", ASHRAE Transactions, Vol. 112, Pt. 2, pp. 285-295.
  • Charron R. & Athienitis A.K. (2006). “Optimization of the Performance of Double Façades with Integrated Photovoltaic Panels”, Solar Energy, 80(5), 482-491.
  • Charron R. & Athienitis A.K., 2006, “A Two Dimensional Model of a Double Façade with Integrated Photovoltaic Panels” ASME Journal of Solar Energy Engineering, 128, 160-167.
  • Pasini M. and Athienitis A.K., 2006, "Systems Design of the Canadian Solar Decathlon House", ASHRAE Trans., 112(2), 308-319.             
  • Park K-W. & Athienitis A.K., 2005, "Development and Testing of an Integrated Daylighting Control System", ASHRAE Trans., 111(1), 218-226.
  • Tzempelikos A. & Athienitis A.K. (2005). "Integrated Thermal and Daylighting Analysis and Design of Office Buildings", ASHRAE Trans., 111(1), 227-238.


·      Athienitis, A.K., & O'Brien, W. (Eds.).(2015). “Modelling, Design, and Optimization of Net-Zero Energy Buildings”.Wiley.



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