In major urban areas, buildings represent approximately half of greenhouse gas emissions and, given the slow replacement rate, retrofitting existing buildings to reduce their climate impact is critical. It is also important to develop actionable knowledge for practitioners so that they can account for the impact of climate change in new designs. To develop different approaches for impact assessment and climate change mitigation and adaptation, we are working on related projects in CSE.
To develop specific engineering recommendations, climate model predictions must be brought down to scales and conditions relevant for urban micro-climates influenced by building form and density. Urban scale research within CSE addresses questions of relevance to municipal and sub-municipal (e.g., neighbourhood) areas. At the urban scale, we are working on several pilot projects related to water systems, co-benefits of GHG reduction policies, and civil infrastructure.
To investigate large-scale GHG mitigation goals, and their feedback to the overall climate system, research is needed to link building and urban scale research to broader regions, ranging from metropolitan areas to mega-regions and provinces. At this scale, CSE has several timely pilot projects relating to the interaction of GHG mitigation strategies and the regional climate system. Where necessary to constrain scope, these projects will initially focus on the Greater Toronto and Hamilton (GTHA) region and its integration within Ontario and Canada.
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