Can smart cities help address urban growth and climate change?

In October, OSPE joined 630 members of the Hamilton-Halton engineering community for the Hamilton-Halton Engineering Week Luncheon, themed Engineering Smart Cities. Hosted by OSPE’s partner, the Hamilton-Halton Engineering Week Co-ordinating Committee, the luncheon always proves to be a motivating and informative opportunity to celebrate the many ways engineers improve quality of life for citizens in the Hamilton-Halton region.

Smart cities

Engineering Smart Cities was deemed a relevant topic given the unprecedented growth currently happening across the Halton region. During the luncheon greetings, Lisa De Angelis, Director, Infrastructure Planning & Policy at Halton Region Public Works Department, explained that Halton must accommodate an estimated one million people by 2041, making an innovative growth plan both a priority and a challenge.

Dan McKinnon, ‎General Manager of Public Works, City of Hamilton, noted that Hamilton has been working in support of a low carbon economy for the last 15 years. In 2016, Hamilton saw a 12 percent reduction from 2005 energy consumption levels thanks to the implementation of energy efficient initiatives such as streetlight retrofits and advanced traffic management systems. Proceeds from the luncheon have even gone towards sponsoring Hamilton’s environmentally conscious McMaster Engineering EcoCAR 3 Team (MEE3T).

Andrew Bowerbank, Global Director, Sustainable Building Services at EllisDon Corporation

Engineering Smart Cities – Keynote address

The luncheon’s keynote address was delivered by Andrew Bowerbank, Global Director, Sustainable Building Services at EllisDon Corporation. Bowerbank has launched a new strategic plan called the “Carbon Impact Initiative.”

Canada has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Bowerbank believes that by bridging opportunities across sectors, industry can attain efficiency and sustainability in our built environment and harness emerging technologies in a resource-responsible way. What technologies do we need to embrace to achieve this target? 

Bowerbank feels we need urban systems that are more naturally oriented. Buildings can no longer operate as self-sufficient structures. They need to interface with their surroundings via new interactive technologies that ensure all services and systems, from HVAC to electricity, are in full communication to maximize efficiency. Similarly, municipalities, engineers and developers need to track emissions through all stages of a building’s lifecycle, from the design and construction phases, through day-to-day operations to measure true GHG emissions.

Dr. David Wilkinson, P.Eng., 2017 HHEW Engineer of the Year (Photo credit Dean Ishwar Puri)

Innovation parks around the world are doing research on these infrastructural technologies. The EllisDon Centre for Construction Sciences and Technology will be Canada’s iteration. “Engineers are no longer just ‘builders’, anymore. Engineers must now become expert communicators, collaborators and innovators,” says Bowerbank.

The HHEW Committee honoured one such engineering communicator at the luncheon. Dr. David Wilkinson, P.Eng., Provost and Vice-President, McMaster University, received the 2017 Engineer of the Year Award.

Hamilton-Halton ‘Project of the Year’ Nominations are Now Open

In 2018, the Hamilton-Halton Engineering Week Committee will host its annual gala to honour up to three local engineering projects with a Project of the Year Award.

Nominees for “Project of the Year” can be from any recognized engineering discipline and of any size, scale and budget within the categories of private sector, public sector, large projects or small projects. Applications are judged based on a given project’s merits of engineering uniqueness, complexity, historical significance and/or contribution to the profession and community.

The application deadline for this year’s “Projects of the Year” awards is November 30, 2017.

Access the application form here.

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