Research Areas

Click on the name of the research area for a brief description of what's currently underway. Some areas will have expanded information at additional web URLs.

Green Roof Technology

"Green roofs" refer to specialized roofing systems that support vegetation growth on rooftops. This vegetative roof system provides many environmental and economic benefits characteristic of sustainable building principles. Green roofs help decrease the urban "heat island" effect, decrease energy use, and detain stormwater. With growing awareness of environmental preservation in the design and construction sector, and the Federal government's commitment to the Kyoto Accord and addressing climate change, a green roof industry is emerging in Canada. The interest in green roof technology is particularly strong in British Columbia due to its favourable climate and regional government environmental commitments.

In 2003, the Centre for the Advancement of Green Roof Technology (CAGRT), now renamed the Centre for Architectural Ecology, was established at BCIT. The Centre's principal functions are to develop the regional infrastructure network; to inventory performance of green roofs; develop a system performance evaluation module; provide a testing and verification facility for the local green roof industry; and improve public awareness of the technology through education and demonstration. website. [top]

Building Science

In the 1990's, thousands of British Columbians awoke to the reality of a billion dollars in damage to their newly constructed homes. Damage was caused by rainwater that had penetrated the building envelope, leading to increased health risks, energy use, and a waste of unrecyclable building materials. The Building Science Centre of Excellence (BSCE) at BCIT has been established to build a regional research facility in the area of building performance. A regional interest in rain penetration has combined with national and international partnerships to focus the initial infrastructure development and research activities on themes related to building envelopes and rain control. For information, contact Dr. Fitsum Tariku. [top]

Factor Four

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development has identified that a factor four to factor ten reduction in energy and materials throughput in the global economy is needed. This represents a 75 to 90% reduction from business as usual. The built environment accounts for 30% of global energy consumption and 40% of materials. How we design, build, and maintain our cities will have a profound effect on global sustainability.

The School of Construction and the Environment is leading the Factor Four Initiative in the buildings it occupies at BCIT’s Burnaby campus (NE1 – NE8). The purpose is to explore whether a factor four reduction in energy and materials consumption can be achieved without compromising service levels. Our aim is to adaptively restructure the built environment to create an ecocity [top]

Fish, Wildlife & Recreation

The Fish, Wildlife & Recreation (FWR) Program assists in profiling many of the "leading edge" environmental initiatives at BCIT, mainly related to the management, protection and/or restoration of rivers and streams, both at the national and global level. A major initiative over the past decade has been the Burnaby Lake System Project, which has included an array of studies ranging from the monitoring of Still Creek to the assessment of various stream enhancement strategies. Another exciting research initiative currently underway relates to the monitoring of the recently decommissioned Coursier Dam near Revelstoke in an effort to determine how the ecosystem is responding to the return of natural flow regimes. This is one of the most innovative projects of its kind and is being undertaken in conjunction with BC Hydro. The FWR program has also been involved in a number of international river conservation and dam-related studies. website. [top]

Housing and Construction

The BCIT Canadian Housing & Construction Centre works in cooperation with government and industry partners to assist in the development and demonstration of new technologies and/or the adaptation of existing technologies, and to provide support for the transfer of these technologies, expertise and capability both locally and internationally. As an example, AFRESH Home is a housing demonstration project located on BCIT's Burnaby Campus that showcases some of the most innovative yet practical ideas in sustainable housing, including energy conservation, environmental impact management, occupant health, comfort and productivity, functionality, longevity and ability, quality assurance and commissioning, and life cycle analysis. website. [top]

Centre for Energy Systems Applications

The Centre for Energy Systems Applications (CESA) at BCIT has a mandate to develop, coordinate and support polytechnic training and education in integrated energy systems applications. This includes demand side management and renewable energy technologies. CESA will conduct applied research to transfer emerging technology in an integrated system approach and will consider conservation techniques, renewable (photovoltaics, micro-hydro, biomass, etc.), alternative and emerging energy systems (hydrogen, geoexchange, etc.) as they relate to integrated building design and construction, waste management, climate change, and overall global energy sustainability. Applied research at CESA will focus on applications to the built and natural environments, standards and best practices, efficiencies and conservation.

CESA’s interest and emerging areas of curriculum development and applied research is in energy systems that minimize impacts on the natural environment and consumption of non-renewable resources. Examples include demand side management, wind, micro-hydro, PV, passive solar, biomass, geo-exchange, waste-to-energy and alternative fuels such as hydrogen. website [top]


Applied research in the area of Geographic Information System Technology (GIS) is focused on the development of Open GIS solutions. Current work concentrates on Indoor GIS location and routing problems. Another initiative will examine a GIS 'wiki-web' concept that allows GIS data updates by the general internet community. One of the ongoing projects is developing a prototype wireless GIS service named GeoRanger that delivers location-based information to cell-phone or PDA mobile users whose exact indoor location is obtained using RFID. [top]

Civil Engineering

Current applied research areas include structural and earthquake engineering, with a particular focus on the seismic performance of woodframe, concrete, and masonry structures, performance-based seismic design, and passive seismic control devices. An ongoing applied research project involves the investigation of the structural performance of concrete block masonry beams subjected to static loads — the project has a major experimental component that includes testing of nine large-scale masonry beams. Industry sponsorship of this project is with the Masonry Institute of BC. Additionally, there is a collaborative project with the University of BC, involving procedures to qualify new constructions and species of glulam beams. Funding for this work is through Natural Resources Canada's (NRCAN) Value to Wood Program. For information, contact Dr. Svetlana Brzev. [top]

Construction Management

Applied research in the area of construction management is focused around the Master of Science program in Construction Management at BCIT designed at the University of Bath, UK. Ongoing research projects are related to one of the modules of the program including: Management in Construction, Economics in Construction, Construction Law, Managing Human Resources, Pre-Contract Management, Strategy in Construction, Quantitative Decision-making, Property development Appraisal, Project Management Techniques, and Design Management. For information, contact Arezou Pouria. [top]

Infrastructure Management

The BCIT Centre for Infrastructure Management (CIM) aims to promote, integrate, and support the efforts of those involved in improving infrastructure management through professional development and training opportunities. Through strategic partnerships, the CIM intends to support and enhance the efforts of existing organizations, including the provisions of education related to maintaining professional registration. The mission of the CIM is to enable improved infrastructure management by providing access to relevant, current, and practitioner-focused education, training, and tools. website [top]