The Wilden Living Lab (WLL) was recently awarded the 2021 EGBC Sustainability Award for its on-going success in empowering stakeholders to make climate-action decisions that achieve sustainable outcomes. The WLL, a pioneering research initiative, investigates sustainable homebuilding through support from NSERC and Mitacs.
The project led by Professor Shahria Alam, the Director of UBC’s Green Construction Research and Training Centre, in collaboration with Blenk Development Corp, FortisBC, AuthenTech Homes, and Okanagan College was launched in 2017. In 2021, it is expanding upon its original two home comparison to a third home. The Home of Today and Home of Tomorrow will be compared with a new Net-Zero Home that is currently under construction. The latter home is designed to adhere to BC Energy Step Code 5 and be net-zero.
The WLL collaboration continues to co-create technological ideas and validate them through experimentation in a real-life environment. It investigates how innovative materials and technologies can address energy-performance-based code requirements, such as the BC Energy Step Code, for new building construction.
The multi-faceted research initiative also provides training for students at both Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering related to energy consumption monitoring, alternative construction materials, state-of-the-art technologies, and best construction practices.
As a living lab, WLL is acquiring continuous data from its homes. Researchers are gathering, evaluating, and analyzing this data to include in their publicly accessible peer-reviewed research.
WLL UBC Okanagan researchers include Dr. Shahria Alam (Sustainable Construction), Dr. Kasun Hewage (Life Cycle Management), Dr. Rehan Sadiq (Life Cycle Management), and Dr. Mohammad Khalad Hassan (Machine Learning). Other collaborators include Karin Eger-Blenk (Blenk Development), Carol Suhan (FortisBC), Scott Tyerman (AuthenTech Homes), Trent Novakowski (Genesis Building Controls), Mo Bayat (City of Kelowna), and Angus Wood (Okanagan College). In addition, support in building systems and monitoring are provided by GeoTility, Genesis Control, Honeywell, Thermo Matrix and West Excel.
Currently in its second phase, WLL is developing a decision-making support framework and tools that integrate the requirements of the step code to assist builders and other stakeholders in constructing and maintaining economically feasible low-energy homes in the Okanagan and around the world.
The Engineers and Geoscientists BC (EGBC) Sustainability Award “recognizes the important contribution that engineering and geoscience professionals lead in greenhouse gas emission reductions, developing climate adaptation options and seeking to achieve both in realizing sustainable outcomes. It further seeks to recognize the positive role of human qualities such as ethics, imagination, reason and common sense in achieving this end.”
For more information about the 2021 EGBC awards visit https://www.egbc.ca/About/Programs-Initiatives/Awards-Recognition/2021-Award-Recipients