Carleton University is expanding its research in modern sustainable residential design. The Carleton Research and Innovation in Sustainable Energy (C-RISE) house will make use of solar thermal energy, seasonal thermal storage, and provide a test bed for various innovative concepts with the aim of reducing the overall energy demands. Single-family detached is the dominant form of housing in the residential sector which contributes to 17% of Canada’s total energy end use. As such, the research conducted on C-RISE will be invaluable in finding ways to reduce energy consumption in the residential sector.

The C-RISE project is largely funded by grants from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, having received $582,242 in 2011. Urbandale construction and Panasonic are valuable industry partners. Urbandale Construction is a local Ottawa home builder who is donating the house itself. The C-RISE house will be a full-scale, single-family detached house built on campus by Urbandale Construction to meet the 2012 R2000 standard.  Urbandale views this facility as a research project to explore innovative concepts before introducing them to market, and have stated in a letter of support that topics explored in C-RISE “may influence the way we construct our buildings in the future”.  Panasonic will contribute both expertise and materials to incorporate high-performance vacuum insulation panels (VIP) into C- RISE. They see this proposed facility as an opportunity to learn methods to employ VIPs and to assess their long-term performance through research. In both examples, a long-term collaborative research relationship will be established, leading to mutual benefit and significant technology transfer. Similar partnerships will be built with additional industry partners over the lifetime of C-RISE.

C-RISE will attract high-calibre graduate students to Carleton’s Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc.) in Sustainable Energy Engineering and Master of Architecture (M.Arch) programmes, as well as its Ph.D. programmes in engineering and architecture. It will also recruit top students graduating from its Sustainable and Renewable Energy Engineering Bachelor of Engineering and Conservation and Sustainability Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Applied Science programmes into graduate studies. The infrastructure will provide vital training for these graduate students in the design and execution of experiments related to solar thermal systems, solar energy utilization in buildings, thermal storage, thermally activated thermodynamic cycles, and building envelopes. Graduate students will develop research skills by working directly in C-RISE on an ongoing basis. A unique advantage of the proposed approach is that graduate students will be exposed to the benefits of multi-disciplinary methods involving architecture, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, and home building. This innovative multi-disciplinary approach is not only unique, but also critically important to achieve transitional changes in the way houses are designed and built.

Results of this work will lead to increased energy efficient and sustainable design in the Canadian residential sector.  Having a real house to evaluate sustainable energy concepts can reduce the energy impact of the residential sector both annually and during high usage (peak) hours of the day. Reduced impact on energy production requirements results in lower greenhouse gas production and reduced environmental impact.

Source for Canada’s energy use:

Written by
Andrea Pietila, M.A.Sc Carleton University
Briana Paige Kemery, M.A.Sc. candidate Carleton University