Building Ecology, Science and Technology Lecture Series

The Building Ecology, Science and Technology Lecture Series at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design will focus on specialized topics of interest to design practitioners and offer a wide array of contemporary topics. The lecture series is intended to stimulate discussion by inviting leading researchers and practitioners to share their perspectives on the emerging intersection between ecology, science and technology in the built environment.


Thursday, January 14, 2010, 6:00pm – 8:30pm


Dr. Christoph Reinhart

Enhancing Daylighting Design Practice – Reconciling Rules of Thumb and Simulations aka Let There Be Daylight


Christoph Reinhart is the coordinator of the Harvard GSD’s Sustainable Design concentration area and head of the GSD-Squared research initiative. Before joining Harvard in June 2008, Christoph worked for over a decade as a staff scientist at the National Research Council of Canada and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in Germany. He holds a doctorate degree in Architecture from the Technical University of Karlsruhe and master degrees in Physics from Albert Ludwigs Universität, Germany, and Simon Fraser University, Canada. Dr. Reinhart’s research expertise is in daylighting, passive climatization and the influence of occupant behaviour on building energy use. He has authored and co-authored numerous scientific articles and books, and has served on a wide variety of committees and advisory groups related to green building performance.


His presentation will be of interest to all practitioners who wish to improve the quality and effectiveness of daylighting in their building designs. It begins with a survey on daylighting design practice that reinforces the importance of linking rules of thumb and advanced simulation techniques. It then presents the latest rules of thumb-based daylighting design that have been derived from advanced daylighting simulation techniques. The lecture will showcase the latest simulation techniques that Dr. Reinhart has developed with the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany that evaluate the performance of buildings based on a combination of daylight availability, visual comfort, occupant behaviour and energy use. The lecture will conclude with a demonstration of the new Radiance plug-in for Rhino/Grasshopper that Dr. Reinhart’s research group at Harvard has recently developed.


Thursday, February 11, 2010, 6:00pm – 8:30pm


Sevag Pogharian

Net Zero Energy Lifestyle in Canada aka Life After Tim Horton’s


Sevag Pogharian is principal and founder of Sevag Pogharian Design (SPD), a Montreal-based architectural and general contracting firm specializing in housing. SPD has evolved, since its inception in 1990, from solely an architectural firm to a design-build firm bridging the domains of architecture and construction with the belief that being a builder makes for a better architect and vice versa. Furthermore, the nature of SPD’s projects – complex, custom residences – made it apparent that in order for the firm to be more relevant in the residential sector and in order to better deliver its own projects, it must expand into construction.


SPD is leader of team Montréal ZERO, one of 12 winners of CMHC’s nationwide EQuilibrium initiative. SPD is playing the roles of developer, architect, and general contractor in the effort to make the Alstonvale Net Zero House a reality. Pogharian completed his undergraduate studies in architecture at McGill University and his graduate studies at MIT, where he concentrated on housing policy and finance.


The Montreal architect is pushing the borders of net zero buildings by creating the Alstonvale Net Zero House, one of the winning projects in Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s EQuilibrium Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative. The Alstonvale Home strives to: generate all the energy required for the household’s domestic needs; generate all the energy required for the household’s local transportation needs; and integrate home-scale agriculture in order to displace the industrial food system and enhance a household’s food energy balance.


“If designed intelligently, a house can be the enabling backbone that supports a household’s needs for shelter, mobility, and food solely through a reliance on solar energy and without any associated GHG emissions.” This lecture will highlight the leading applied research from Canada’s Solar Building Research Network that can be cost effectively applied to small buildings today.


Thursday, March 4, 2010, 6:00pm – 8:30pm


John F. Straube Ph.D., P.Eng.

Building Systems Integration aka Why Architects Need to Understand Building Science


John F. Straube, Ph.D., P.Eng., is a principal of Building Science Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts and a professor of building science in the Civil Engineering Department and School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo, Canada. Dr. Straube has acted as an educator, researcher, consultant and expert witness on energy efficiency, durability and IAQ. Current interests include the optimal system design of buildings, sustainable buildings, and moisture problem avoidance. He has broad experience in the building industry, having been involved in the design, construction, repair and restoration of buildings in Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia, New Zealand, and the Caribbean. Considered an international expert in moisture-related building problems, his building science expertise has been applied to moldy roofs, failed masonry, leaky EIFS cladding, insulating Mongolian yurts, wet basements, rotting crawlspaces and attics, historically sensitive retrofits, and litigation support for buildings as diverse as commercial office towers, manufactured housing, and sustainable strawbale homes.


His presentation will look at the need for building systems integration and how to incorporate current building science understanding into effective building envelope and mechanical systems strategies that achieve high-performance buildings. From basic building physics to moisture problems, and then on to the life cycle economics of energy efficiency, Dr. Straube will bring together his vast consulting experience and latest research findings to provide a simple roadmap to better buildings. If you want to know today’s best answers to questions about air/vapour barriers, optimal levels of insulation and appropriate window to wall ratios, this lecture is a one-stop building science smart centre.


Sponsored by Tremco, these lectures are held in room 103, 230 College Street. Each lecture is $75, including snacks and refreshments, or $200 for all 3 lectures.


Seating is reserved and limited. Register at U of T Tix online at or by phone at 416.978.8849. Each lecture is worth two OAA learning hours.