By: Alysha A. Cunningham

Elie Azar is the new Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Buildings and Communities at Carleton University.

The Tier II Canada Research Chair (CRC) recognition is awarded by the Government of Canada to exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field.

Man standing in front of equipment in engineering lab

Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Buildings and Communities Elie Azar (Photo: Lindsay Ralph)

The focus of Azar’s CRC research is to develop new knowledge, research methods, and concrete pathways to guide the next generation of sustainable, resilient, and people-centric buildings and communities.

“The building sector is vital for creating low-carbon, resilient urban communities. However, evolving factors such as urban form, occupants’ needs and behaviours, and climate conditions complicate the understanding of building performance,” says Azar. “Current research often relies on knowledge and methods drawn from single or narrow domains, limiting holistic solutions for buildings and urban areas.”

Over his five-year CRC appointment, Azar’s objective is to bridge the gap between different building-related disciplines, fostering the integration of knowledge and research methods. Examples of these disciplines include building energy modelling and design, occupant behavior and comfort, microclimate modelling, and urban energy planning. This will be achieved by leveraging novel data-driven and physics-based methods to capture the multidisciplinary mechanisms affecting building performance, propose and test sustainable building solutions under uncertainty, and guide urban-policy efforts.

“People spend the majority of their life in enclosed environments and are constantly exposed to their indoor environmental conditions, which could affect their comfort, health, and wellbeing,” says Azar. “In parallel, a primary function of buildings is to shelter occupants from the external environment, which is expected to become more extreme due to climate change.

This research program will develop the needed tools and expertise to tackle the challenges ahead and promote a built environment that is more efficient, climate resilient, and better adapted to people.”

Azar joined Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design in July 2022 as an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He currently teaches courses on research methods and green building design.

The CRC program is designed to attract the best talent from Canada and around the world, helping universities achieve research excellence in a wide variety of fields.

“This appointment is an incredible honor and recognition that empower me to delve into groundbreaking research and collaborations that I hope will shape the future of my discipline,” says Azar. “It is also a testimony to the established expertise and leadership in building engineering at Carleton, providing students with a unique learning environment and career opportunities in the field.”

Chairholders improve Canadians’ depth of knowledge and quality of life, strengthen the country’s international competitiveness, and help train the next generation of highly skilled people. See Carleton’s full listing of Canada Research Chairs.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2024 in
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