Professor, Building, Civil, and Environmental Engineering
Director, Concordia Centre for Zero Energy Building Studies (EV 15.101)
Dr. Andreas K. Athienitis is a Professor of Building Engineering at Concordia University. He obtained a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering (1981) from the University of New Brunswick and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo (1985). He is the founder and Scientific Director of the NSERC Smart Net-zero Energy Buildings Strategic Research Network (SNEBRN: 2011-2017) and the founding Director of the NSERC Solar Buildings Research Network (SBRN: 2005-2011). He holds a Senior NSERC/Hydro Quebec Industrial Research Chair and a Concordia University Research Chair, Tier I. He was profiled as one of 25 top innovators in Quebec by Actualité Magazine (Sep. 15, 2009). He is a Fellow is of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (2011), a Fellow of ASHRAE (2017) and a Fellow of IBPSA (2017). 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/co-author of more than 300 refereed papers, three books on building thermal and solar modelling and design, and more recently an advanced book on modelling and design of net-zero energy buildings. He is a recipient of eight 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 several awards, including an NSERC-ADRIQ (Association pour le développement de la recherche et de l'innovation du Québec) Celebrate Partnerships Award in 2012. 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 led several innovative projects demonstrating building-integrated photovoltaic/thermal systems such as the John Molson School of Business building at Concordia and the energy design of the first near net-zero energy demonstration house in Canada, the EcoTerra. He played a key role in the conception and development of Canada’s first net-zero energy institutional building – the Varennes Library (2016). He is co-chair of the Canadian Academy of Engineering Roadmap to Resilient, Ultra-Low Energy Built Environment with Deep Integration of Renewables in 2050.
He has received more than $30 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. He has supervised over 100 students at all levels, 15 of whom have become professors in Canada, the US and overseas. He has served both as Graduate Program Director and Undergraduate Program Director of Building Engineering, a unique academic program at Concordia. He is the founding Director of the Concordia Centre for Zero Energy Building Studies (2012).
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).
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 activities are focused on energy design and optimal control of high performance buildings, optimization of building-grid interaction, 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-optimized 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, and a suite of our custom-developed building software tools.
BLDG 6951 SOLAR BUILDING MODELLING AND DESIGN
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.
ENGR 681 ENERGY RESOURCES: CONVENTIONAL AND RENEWABLE
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.
BLDG 6731 BUILDING ILLUMINATION AND DAYLIGHTING
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.
BLDG 6661 HYGROTHERMAL PERFORMANCE OF THE BUILDING ENVELOPE
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.
I am currently supervising 10 Ph.D and 4 M.A.Sc. students, as well as two researchers. Employers of graduated students include Purdue University, Carleton University, Hydro-Québec, BrainBox AI, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or myself.
Funded by NSERC, NRCan, Hydro-Québec and other industries:
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 is used for many unique projects. A variety of equipment has been acquired, including solar instruments, infrared camera, particle image velocimetry system and heat flow meters.
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 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.
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.
Another recent demonstration project of our team involves a full scale facade-integrated BIPV/T system at the JMSB building of Concordia University, which received much national and international attention, including a special program on Discovery Channel.
Finally, our team played a key role in the conception and generation of the energy concept and form of the Varennes Library, Canada’s first institutional solar net-zero energy building (inaugurated May 2016). It has Quebec’s largest building-integrated solar system conceived to generate about as much energy as it consumes in an average year. The building operation and grid interaction is being optimized under a NSERC/Hydro Quebec Industrial Chair held by Athienitis.
Selected books and proceedings edited
Athienitis, A.K., ed. (2020). Roadmap to Resilient Ultra-Low Energy Built Environment with Deep Integration of Renewables in 2050: Proceedings, Montreal Symposium. Centre for Zero Energy Building Studies, Concordia University, and Canadian Academy of Engineering, Montréal, Canada. ISBN 978-0-9690101-1-1. https://spectrum.library.concordia.ca/id/eprint/987839/1/Roadmap%20Symposium%20Proceedings.pdf
Athienitis, A.K. and O'Brien, W. (Eds.). (2015). “Modelling, Design, and Optimization of Net-Zero Energy Buildings”. John Wiley & Sons. (396 pages).
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