Sustainable, Resilient and Equitable Re-Start Seminar Series

Sustainable, Resilient and Equitable Re-Start

As we respond to the acute shocks and stresses of 2020, this PICS-supported bi-weekly, online seminar series will focus on this crucial question being asked across British Columbia and around the world:

How can the restart be more sustainable, resilient and equitable?

These interlinked shocks and stresses include 1) the pandemic and public health concerns; 2) climate change impacts including flooding and forest fires; and 3) public outcry against racism equity and social justice.

We will address technical, policy, and scientific approaches in both the built and natural environment with local, national, and international speakers from academic, government, industry, and non-governmental organizations. This seminar series is a partnership between the University of Victoria and the UBC Sustainability Initiative, supported by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.

Scheduled Seminars:


Diversity in Engineering: Synergies with Decarbonization and Building Science
December 1st, 2020, 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Speaker: Brittany Coughlin

Join Brittany Coughlin for her presentation highlighting synergistic strategies for advancing energy efficient, low carbon building designs, alongside ideas for advancing diversity in the workplace.

Mitigating climate change is critical to a sustainable future. As the need for decarbonization grows, it is important that we expand the workforce and apply the brightest minds to solving these complex problems in British Columbia. An engineering workforce that promotes equity, diversity, and inclusion is central to this.

Past Seminars:

Canada's Building Regulatory System: Transformative Drivers and Future Directions
September 8th, 2020, 12:30 - 1:30pm PDT

Speaker: Andrew Pape-Salmon, Executive Director of the BC Building and Safety Standards Branch, and Adjunct Professor with the Department of Civil Engineering at UVic.

This lecture serves as a primer on public policy for five levels of government (local, regional, Indigenous, provincial/territorial, federal), along with key drivers that contribute to government strategy, policy, legislation, regulations, programs and services.

Andrew Pape-Salmon will provide examples pertaining to the regulation of building construction and renewal, highlighting examples that support goals toward resilient, ultra-low energy buildings, decarbonization and the deep integration of renewables.

On Buildings, Energy, and Health in a Changing Climate
September 22, 2020, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM PDT

Speaker: Holly Samuelson, Assistant Professor of Architectural Technology at the Harvard Graduate School of Design

Join us as Dr. Holly Samuelson presents research using building performance simulation among other methods to improve energy and environmental performance and human health in buildings and cities.

This includes improving modeling methods for urban context, stormwater, occupant behaviour, and occupant views, as well as investigating heat vulnerability at the building and city scale and moisture and mold performance of buildings in future climates. 

COVID-19 Building Operations and Future Codes
October 6th, 2020, 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Speaker: Laurence Schoen

Join Lawrence Schoen as he presents on how modes of disease transmission might be affected by engineering interventions, typically related to dilution ventilation, mechanical filtration and de-activation by ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI). Two well-studied outbreaks will be used to illustrate the risk of aerosol transmission and how the risk of these unfortunate events can be reduced by compliance with current codes and standards.

Industrial Symbiosis – A Key Plank in a Circular Economy
October 20th, 2020, 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Speaker: Timo Makinen

In an effort to practice business more sustainably, many regions are working towards circular economies. These economies aim to decouple economic growth from resource consumption by designing out waste and pollution; keeping products and materials in use rather than disposing of them; and by developing regenerative, natural systems.

Industrial symbiosis is an important aspect of this activity. It is the process by which wastes or by-products of an industry or industrial process become the raw materials or inputs for another.

Join us as Timo Makinen presents on the NISP® model for delivering industrial symbiosis. Benefits achieved using the NISP® model include waste reduction, improved resource efficiency, less materials sent to the landfill, and fewer GHGs and air pollutants, among others.

Legacies of Struggle & Resistance in the Fight Against Environmental Racism in Canada
November 3rd, 2020, 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Speaker: Ingrid Waldron

Dr. Ingrid Waldron will discuss the legacy of struggle and resistance in the fight against environmental racism in Indigenous and Black communities in Canada. Using an anti-colonial feminist framework, she will highlight the specific ways in which Indigenous and Black women have been impacted by environmental racism, and share how they have been building grassroots environmental and social justice movements to challenge the legal, political, and corporate agendas that sanction and enable environmental racism and other forms of colonial gendered violence in their communities.

Dr. Waldron will conclude her presentation by providing an overview of how her Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities & Community Health Project (The ENRICH Project) has been addressing environmental racism through a multi-method, interdisciplinary, multi-sectoral and multi-media approach.

Infrastructure Resilience Under Climate Uncertainty
November 17th, 2020, 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Speaker: Constantine Samaras

Join Dr. Costa Samaras in a discussion about how infrastructure managers, engineers, researchers, and policymakers can manage uncertainty and ensure climate-safe infrastructure systems for the 21st century and beyond.

Characterizing infrastructure vulnerability to climate change is essential given the long asset lives, criticality of services delivered, and high costs of upgrading and maintaining these systems.

Andrew Pape-Salmon
Andrew Pape-Salmon

Andrew Pape-Salmon is the Executive Director of the BC Building and Safety Standards Branch, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The Branch is responsible for the Building Act and building regulations such as the BC Building, Plumbing, Fire Codes and voluntary opt-in regulations for local authorities such as the Energy Step Code and 12-storey encapsulated mass-timber construction. The Branch is also responsible for the Homeowner Protection Act and Safety Standards Act.

Over the past 20 years Andrew has worked as a professional engineer on topics of clean energy policy and economics, resilient communities, super-efficient building construction, deep-energy retrofits of existing buildings, and renewable energy resources.

Andrew has degrees from University of Waterloo Systems Design Engineering and SFU Natural Resource and Environmental Management. He is also an Adjunct Professor with the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Victoria and the instigator for the formation of a the UVic EERI student chapter.

Dr. Holly Samuelson
Dr. Holly Samuelson

Dr. Holly Samuelson is an Assistant Professor of Architectural Technology at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and co-head of the Master of Design in Energy and Environment program.  Her research and teaching focuses on energy performance, occupant behavior, and health in buildings in a changing climate. Among her authored and coauthored papers, she has contributed articles to Applied Energy, Journal of Environmental Management, Building and Environment, Energy and Buildings, and the Journal of Building Performance Simulation.

Prior to joining Harvard, Samuelson practiced full-time as an architect (2000-2007) and sustainable design consultant (2007-2008), and she prioritizes forging links between academia and the building industry. She earned a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon as well as a Master of Design and Doctorate from Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Laurence Schoen

Larry Schoen is Principal Engineer for Schoen Engineering Inc., Columbia, Maryland, which was founded in 1995.  He is a licensed Professional Engineer in 8 states and the District of Columbia. The firm does analysis and design of mechanical and electrical systems in commercial, industrial, institutional and residential facilities and has engineered all manner of HVAC, plumbing, electrical and elevator systems. The mission of the firm is to create and maintain high quality indoor environments, which promote health, comfort and productivity, while using energy and other resources efficiently.

Timo Makinen
Timo Makinen

Timo has over 30 years of experience dealing with a variety of energy and environmental issues with a number of firms including Shell Canada, Shell International, BC Hydro, BC Gas (now Fortis BC), and BC Research Inc.. His career experience includes energy project design and planning; energy economics and forecasting; integrated resource planning and DSM; GHG strategy development and implementation; and carbon offset origination and verification. Timo holds a chemical engineering degree from the University of Toronto, and MBA and MRM degrees from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. He is a registered professional engineer in B.C., and Past Chair and a member of the board of the national not-for-profit, “Tree Canada”.

Timo is currently the Director of Operations for NISP® Canada, a circular economy-based initiative aimed at re-purposing wastes, increasing resource efficiency, reducing environmental impacts, and delivering other such triple bottom line benefits. NISP® Canada is a program run by Vancouver-based Light House (Formerly operating as the Light House Sustainable Building Centre).

Ingrid Waldron
Ingrid Waldron

Dr. Ingrid Waldron is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie University and the Director of the Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities & Community Health Project (The ENRICH Project). Her research, teaching, and community leadership and advocacy work in Nova Scotia are examining and addressing the health and mental health impacts of structural inequalities within health and mental health care, child welfare, and the environment in Indigenous, Black, immigrant, and refugee communities.

As the Director of the ENRICH Project over the last 8 years, Dr. Waldron has been investigating the socio-economic, political, and health effects of environmental racism in Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian communities. The ENRICH Project formed the basis to Dr. Waldron’s first book There’s Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous and Black Communities. The Netflix documentary There’s Something in the Water is based on Dr. Waldron’s book and was co-produced by Waldron, actress Ellen Page, Ian Daniel, and Julia Sanderson, and co-directed by Page and Daniel.

Constantine Samaras
Constantine Samaras

Costa Samaras is an Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Samaras’s research spans energy, climate change, automation, and defense analysis, and he directs the Center for Engineering and Resilience for Climate Adaptation. He assesses how technology, policy, and infrastructure system designs affect energy use, system resilience to climate change impacts, economic and equity outcomes, and life cycle environmental emissions and other externalities under uncertainty. He currently serves as the Chair of the ASCE Committee on Adaptation to a Changing Climate. Dr. Samaras is also an adjunct senior researcher at the RAND Corporation. From 2009 to 2014, he was a researcher at the RAND Corporation, and from 1999-2004 was a megaprojects engineer in New York. Dr. Samaras received a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering and engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University and an MPA in public policy from New York University.

Brittany Coughlin
Brittany Coughlin

Brittany is a professional engineer with over 10 years’ experience in low carbon, energy efficient, and sustainable buildings. Her work comprises a wide range of projects including Passive House, low-energy and low-carbon new and existing buildings, and research, policy and program consulting. Brittany is an ASHRAE Building Energy Modelling Professional (BEMP), a Passive House Certifier, and a LEED Accredited Professional (BD+C). She has presented at conferences across North America on a variety of topics related to high performance buildings.