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Andreas K Athienitis, Eng., PhD, FCAE, FASHRAE, FIBPSA

Professor, Building, Civil, and Environmental Engineering

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



Biography

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).


Education

  • 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
  • Fellow, ASHRAE
  • Fellow, IBPSA
  • 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

  • Associate Editor, Journal of Building Performance Simulation
  • 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 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.

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

Teaching activities

Courses

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.

Student supervision

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 lynedee@solarbuildings.ca or myself.


Research activities

Current projects

Funded by NSERC, NRCan, Hydro-Québec and other industries:

  • Integrated modelling, design and predictive control of thermal zones with different types of heating and cooling systems;
  • Load and demand management in solar-optimized buildings;
  • 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;
  • 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 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.

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.

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.


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).
Varennes Net-zero Energy Library

Publications

Selected recent refereed journal papers and books

Recent Refereed Journal Papers 
1.Rounis, E.D., Ioannidis, Z., Sigounis A., Athienitis, A.K. and Stathopoulos, T. (2021). “A novel approach for the modelling of convective phenomena for building integrated photovoltaic thermal (BIPV/T) systems”, Solar Energy, Vol. 232, pp. 328-343, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.solener.2021.12.058.
2.Abtahi, M., Athienitis, A.K. and Delcroix B. (2021). “Control-Oriented Thermal Network Models for Predictive Load Management in Canadian Houses with On-Site Solar Electricity Generation: Application to a Research House”, Journal of Building Performance Simulation.  https://doi.org/10.1080/19401493.2021.1998223
3.Saberi Derakhtenjani, A. and Athienitis, A.K. (2021). “Model predictive control strategies to activate the energy flexibility for zones with hydronic radiant systems”. Energies, 14, 1195. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14041195
4.Saberi Derakhtenjani, A. and Athienitis, A.K. (2021). “A numerical and experimental study of hydronic heating for road de-icing and its energy flexibility”. Science and Technology for the Built Environment. https://doi.org/10.1080/23744731.2021.1993687
5.Bambara, J., Athienitis, A. K. and Eicker, U. (2021). “Residential densification for positive energy districts”. Frontiers in Sustainable Cities. 3. https://doi.org/10.3389/frsc.2021.630973
6.Dumoulin, R., Rounis, E. D. and Athienitis, A.K. (2021). “Operation and grid interaction modelling of a house with a building integrated photovoltaic thermal (BIPV/T) system coupled to an air-source heat pump”. Science and Technology for the Built Environment, https://doi.org/10.1080/23744731.2021.1941247
7.Maturo, A., Petrucci, A., Forzano, C., Giuzio, G. F., Buonomano, A. and Athienitis, A.K. (2021). “Design and environmental sustainability assessment of energy-independent communities: The case study of a livestock farm in the North of Italy”. Energy Reports. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.egyr.2021.05.080
8.Rounis, E.D., Athienitis, A.K. and Stathopoulos, T. (2021). “BIPV/T curtain wall systems: design, development and testing”. Journal of Building Engineering, 42, 103019. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.solener.2016.09.023
9.Date J., Candanedo J.A., Athienitis, K. (2021). A methodology for the enhancement of the energy flexibility and contingency response of a building through predictive control of passive and active storage. Energies, 14(5), 1387; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14051387.
10.Yip, S., Athienitis, A., Lee, B., (2021). “Early stage Design for an institutional net-zero energy archetype building, Part 1: Methodology, form and sensitivity analysis”. Solar Energy, Volume 224, pp. 516-530. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.solener.2021.05.091
11.Rounis E., Athienitis A.K. and Stathopoulos T. (2020). “Review of air-based PV/T and BIPV/T systems - performance and modelling”, Renewable Energy, Volume 163, pp. 1729-1753, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2020.10.085.
12.Saberi Derakhtenjani A. and Athienitis A.K. (2020). “A frequency domain transfer function methodology for thermal characterization and design for energy flexibility of zones with radiant systems”. Renewable Energy, Vol. 163, pp. 1033-1045. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2020.06.131
13.Ioannidis Z., Rounis E., Athienitis A.K. and Stathopoulos T. (2020). “Double skin façade integrating semi-transparent photovoltaics: Experimental study on forced convection and heat recovery”. Applied Energy, Volume 278, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2020.115647.
14.Date J., Candanedo J. A., Athienitis A.K. and Lavigne K. (2020). “Development of reduced order thermal dynamic models for building load flexibility of an electrically-heated high temperature thermal storage device”. Science and Technology for the Built Environment. https://doi.org/10.1080/23744731.2020.1735260
15.Vallianos C., Athienitis A.K. and Rao J. (2019). “Hybrid ventilation in an institutional building: Modeling and predictive control”. Building and Environment, Vol 166. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2019.106405.
16.Sun D., Athienitis A.K. and D'Avignon K. (2019). “Application of semitransparent photovoltaics in transportation infrastructure for energy savings and solar electricity production: Toward novel net‐zero energy tunnel design”. Prog Photovolt Res Appl. 2019;1–11. https://doi.org/10.1002/pip.3182.
17.Morovat N., Athienitis A.K., Candanedo J. and Dermardiros V. (2019). “Simulation and Performance Analysis of Active PCM-air Heat Exchanger to Optimize Building Operation”, Energy and Buildings, Volume 199, pp. 47-61. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2019.06.022.
18.Qi, D., Cheng J., Katal A., Wang L. and Athienitis A.K. (2019). “Multizone modeling of a hybrid ventilated high-rise building based on full-scale measurements for predictive control”. Indoor and Built Environment. Vol. 29(4), pp. 496-507, https://doi.org/10.1177/1420326X19856405.
19.Bambara, J., & Athienitis, A.K. (2019). ‘Energy and Economic Analysis for the Design of Greenhouses with Semi-Transparent Photovoltaic Cladding’. Journal of Renewable Energy, Vol. 131, 1274-1287.
20.Bambara, J., & Athienitis, A.K. (2018). ‘Energy and Economic Analysis for Greenhouse Envelope Design’. American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, 61(6), 1-16.
21.Bambara, J. & Athienitis, A.K. (2018). ‘Energy and economic analysis for greenhouses ground insulation design’. Energies, 11(11), 3218.
22.Papachristou A.C., Vallianos C., Dermardiros V., Athienitis A.K. and Candanedo J.A. (2018): ‘A numerical and experimental study of a simple model-based predictive control strategy in a perimeter zone with phase change material’. Science and Technology for the Built Environment, Volume 24:9, 933-944.
23.Bastien D. and Athienitis A.K. (2018). “Passive thermal energy storage, part 1: design concepts and metrics”. Renewable Energy, Vol. 115, pp. 1319 - 1327.
24.Yuan, S., Vallianos H., Athienitis A.K. and Rao J. (2018). “A study of hybrid ventilation in an institutional building for predictive control”, Building and Environment, Volume 128, pp. 1-11. 
25.Cotrufo N., Zmeureanu R. and Athienitis A.K. (2018). "Virtual measurements of the air properties in AHUs or virtual re-calibration of sensors."  Science and Technology for the Built Environment, DOI: 10.1080/23744731.2018.1493309.
26.Athienitis A.K., Barone G., Buonomano A. and Palombo A. (2017). "Assessing active and passive effects of façade building integrated photovoltaics/thermal systems: Dynamic modelling and simulation", Applied Energy, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.09.039.
27.Kapsis, K.  Athienitis,  A.K. and Harrison, S.  (2017). “Determination of solar heat gain coefficient for semi-transparent photovoltaic windows: an experimental study”. ASHRAE Transactions. Vol. 123(1): 83-94.
28.Ioannidis, Z., Buonomano, A., Athienitis, A.K. and Stathopoulos, T. (2017). “Modeling of Double Skin Façades Integrating Photovoltaic Panels and automated roller shades: Analysis of the Thermal and Electrical Performance”. Energy and Buildings, Volume 154: 618-632.
29.Bigaila, E. and Athienitis, A.K. (2017). “Modeling and simulation of a photovoltaic/thermal air collector assisting a façade integrated small scale heat pump with radiant PCM panel”. Energy and Buildings, Volume 149: 298-309.
30.Guarino, F., Athienitis, A.K., Cellura, M., Bastien, D. (2017). ‘PCM thermal storage design in buildings: Experimental studies and applications to solaria in cold climates’. Applied Energy, Volume 185, 95-106.
31.Bastien, D. and Athienitis, A.K. (2017). “Passive thermal energy storage, part II: design methodology for solaria and greenhouses”. Renewable Energy, 103: 537–560.
32.Kayello A., Ge H., Athienitis A.K. and Rao J. (2017). “Experimental study of thermal and airtightness performance of structural insulated panel joints in cold climates”. Building and Environment.  Volume 115 (Apr): 345-357.
33.Minea, V., Chen, Y., & Athienitis, A. K. (2016). “Canadian low-energy housing: National energy context, and a case study of a demonstration house with focus on its ground-source heat pump”. Science and Technology for the Built Environment, 1-18.
34.Rounis, E.D. Athienitis A.K. and Stathopoulos, T. (2016). “Multiple-inlet building integrated photovoltaic/thermal system modelling under varying wind and temperature conditions”. Solar Energy, Vol. 139: 157 – 170.
35.Yang, T. and Athienitis, A.K. (2016). “A Review of Research and Developments of Building-Integrated Photovoltaic/Thermal (BIPV/T) Systems”. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol. 66: 886-912.
36.Date, J. Athienitis, A.K. Chen, Y. and Fournier, M. (2016). “Impact of thermal model resolution on peak heating demand calculation under different set point profiles, ASHRAE Transactions, Vol. 122(1): 278-288.
37.Dermardiros, V., Chen, Y. Daoud, A. and Athienitis, A.K. (2016). “Development of reduced order thermal models of building integrated active PCM-TES”. ASHRAE Transactions, 122(1): 267-277.
38.Chen, Yuxiang, 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.
39.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.
40.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(12): 70-79.
41.Bastien, D. and Athienitis, A.K. (2015). “Methodology for selecting fenestration systems
in heating dominated climates”. Applied Energy, Vol. 154(9): 1004-1019.
42.Bastien, Dermardiros D., 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 (12), 277-292.
43.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.
44.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.
45.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.
46.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 (11): 575-585.
47.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 (11): 651-661.
48.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.
49.O’Brien, W.,  Kesik, T. Athienitis, A. (2014). “Use of solar design days to support passive solar house design”. ASHRAE Transactions,Vol. 120 (1), pp. 101-113.
50.Bucking, S., Athienitis, A.K. and Zmeureanu, R. (2014). “Multi-objective optimal design of a near net-zero energy solar house”. ASHRAE Transactions,Vol. 120(1), pp. 224-235. (Technical paper award).
51.Temby, O. Kapsis, K. Berton, H. Rosenbloom, D. Gibson, G. Athienitis, A. and Meadowcroft, J. (2014). “Building-integrated photovoltaics: distributed energy development for urban sustainability”. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 56(6), 4-17.
52.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(10), pp. 128-139.
53.O’Brien, W., Kapsis, K. and Athienitis, A.K. (2013). “Manually-operated window shade patterns in office buildings: a critical review”. Building and Environment, 60(2): 319-338.

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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