As part of the new national Platform to Decarbonize the Construction Sector at Scale led by the Construction Research Centre, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) has developed the Low Carbon Built Environment Challenge program. This program aims to accelerate decarbonization across the entire Canadian construction industry.
Working with industry, academia, governments and other stakeholders, the NRC setup this program to support the development and use of low carbon materials and systems and improved approaches to operations and maintenance. The program will also support the development of carbon accounting and decision support methodologies that will minimize, and ultimately eliminate, the life-cycle carbon emissions of buildings and infrastructure. The results of the program will make it possible to design, procure, build, retrofit and operate built structures that contribute to achieving the Government of Canada's goals of 40% lower carbon emissions by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050 in the built environment.
About the program
Through the Low Carbon Built Environment Challenge program, the NRC will harness its R&D capacity and networks as well as its strengths in innovation to address the need for knowledge and data to identify and develop low carbon materials products, services, tools and practices in Canada's construction sector. The program includes:
- Supporting industry-developed carbon accounting tools for materials, components, assemblies and whole assets
- Supporting industry-developed low carbon and zero carbon structural and non-structural construction materials, including products made from cement, concrete, wood and steel as well as facade materials
- Establishing a national life-cycle inventory datasets repository for construction materials
- Supporting industry to enhance low carbon operation and maintenance of buildings and infrastructure
- Improving decision support tools for optimized low carbon building and infrastructure design, procurement, operation and end-of-life management that are economical and socially responsible
A newly developed Centre of Excellence in Construction Life Cycle Assessment (CECLA) at the NRC's Construction Research Centre will help guide this research, development and demonstration (RD&D) support for low carbon innovation in the construction industry.
Areas of focus
Working with Canadian and international partners from academia, industry and government as well as other interested stakeholders, the program focuses on 4 key areas in the construction sector:
- Low carbon materials, products and systems
- Low carbon operations and maintenance solutions
- Carbon accounting, life cycle assessment (LCA) and benchmarking tools
- Low carbon decision support tools
Collaborative projects will be defined under each key area as they are developed further.
Collaborate with us
If you're a professional from the academic, public, not-for-profit or private sector or from an Indigenous government or organization, we invite you to express your interest in working with us. We are seeking collaborators with RD&D expertise in building and infrastructure materials, technologies, products, systems and tools to accelerate uptake at scale through de‑risking, validation and valorization simulation as well as laboratory, field demonstration and knowledge mobilization activities.
There are a number of ways to collaborate, including:
- Eligible collaborators who offer complementary expertise: Grant and contribution funding may be made available through the NRC's National Program Office, which may include collaborative R&D funding or for equipment needed for research.
- Firms interested in business innovation and technology development: Collaborative one-on-one or multi-party agreements to facilitate targeted R&D activities designed to produce outputs to help firms increase competitiveness and commercialize IP.
- Firms and stakeholders interested in assessing and de-risking innovative technologies and construction methods: Validation testing and demonstration projects in laboratory and in situ settings to objectively support adoption of novel solutions by the construction sector.
The program team is working with stakeholders to refine the specific areas of focus. More information will be made available as this work progresses.
Beginning in the spring of 2023, we will be holding a number of workshops and other engagement activities to help identify research activities and define project plans. Further details will be posted once they are available.
If you're interested in collaborating, attending a workshop or participating in an engagement activity or if you would like more information, contact:
Director of Business Development, Construction Research Centre