Engineer ing receives $4 million in funding to improve urban climates

A new Western-led project, developing new tools and technologies to improve accuracy of building energy and climate models, was awarded $4 million by the Canadian government as part of efforts to achieve the country’s net-zero emissions goal by 2050.

Kamran Siddiqui

“Fighting climate change and mitigating its catastrophic consequences require a collective approach involving conscientious actions from the household level to municipal and governmental levels,” said project lead and mechanical engineering professor Kamran Siddiqui.

The project is focused on improving energy and climate models for better assessing the main contributors of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in buildings and their overall impact on the urban climate.

“We want to find better ways to support various stakeholders, from individuals and businesses to communities and cities, in developing short-term and long-term mitigation and adaptation strategies and actions,” said Siddiqui. “An important component of this project is knowledge mobilization as this research will not make a meaningful impact if we can’t effectively share it with stakeholders or motivate Canadians to make real change in their lives.”

The project, improved multi-scale GHG emissions modeling from urban environments to enhance mitigation strategies, will also promote new policy tools to lower financial barriers for the implementation of these proposed actions to assist the Canadian government in achieving the targets outlined in the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, 2021.

Siddiqui, an expert in thermal sciences and fluid mechanics, said the project will also incorporate two-way interaction between building energy and climate models to better understand how building energy usage (constituting over 40% of GHG emissions in Canada) influences the urban environment, which will help to improve future climatic predictions and GHG mitigation strategies.

This five-year project was announced by Environment and Climate Change Canada on Nov. 23. It has a budget of $5.56 million, with $4.04 million contribution from the federal government including $3.78 million from Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.

“Scientific research underpins everything we do to fight climate change. This funding provides critical support, allowing government and academia to work together in exploring practical and achievable climate change solutions. By leveraging our unique expertise, we can foster collaboration across disciplines, sectors, communities, and research bodies,” said Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change at the official announcement in Ottawa.

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