IDEASS: Integrative Data-Enabled Approaches to Sustainability across Scales

Research project funded by the NSERC Strategic Project Grants Program

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Many Canadian communities have set aggressive economic, environmental and social sustainability targets. Meeting these ambitious targets requires better, faster and less expensive ways of evaluating different design options and tradeoffs against the most important performance measures (e.g., cost, energy consumption, quality of life). The problem is that the data and evidence needed to support this evaluation originates from many different sources, scales, and formats. This diversity of data makes it challenging for decision-makers to access the information they need, in the right format and at the right time in the collaborative decision-making process. Our long-term goal is to help organizations make better sustainability decisions. We will develop new techniques and tools that will help decision makers to evaluate alternative designs and explore the performance attributes, costs and benefits more efficiently. Using case studies within UBC (the University of British Columbia) and collaborating with other partners in the greater Vancouver area, we are developing and testing prototypes that will integrate the diverse sources of data, and allow diverse stakeholder groups to interact with the information as part of a collaborative decision-making process. The results of this research will help organizations to make more effective and better-informed decisions, leading to more sustainable and cost-effective solutions. This will help to accelerate the rate at which sustainable, carbon-neutral buildings and communities become a norm, rather than an exception.

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