Program Goals

The DesignLIFES program will train students in LI research with the following goals:

  1. Advancing the fundamental understanding of hydrological and ecological functions of LI in cold climates.
  2. Developing smart sensor systems and optimizing LI for multi-functional design applications.
  3. Developing innovative approaches to address scaling from micro-to-full size infrastructure.

Training Elements

Element 1: Interdisciplinary training

1.1 Webcast University courses – fundamentals of environmental engineering and science, and LI technologies.

1.2 Technical short courses – During the summer each year of the program:

  • LI – green roofs and beyond @Daniels School, GRITlab. Support from BioRoof and Gro-Bark: modular green roof design and installation, bioswales, constructed wetlands, soil cells, and urban forestry installation, site visits.
  • Sensor systems for LI. Host @Ryerson. Support from OptiRTC: sensor design principles and implementation; hands-on exercise: construction of a simple logging sensor unit
  •  Ecological principles for urban LI @UTSC with City of Toronto: LI policy and management frameworks, quantitative tools and data management, hands-on data analysis; site visits
  • Design principles for LI @Daniels School, GRITlab: design and construction details, LEED and Sustainable SITES, and environmental legislation, hydrology and planting for biodiversity, best practices and case study
  • Soil science for LI @UofT Faculty of Forestry. Support from Titan Bioenergy, BioForest Technologies, Inc.: recent advances in “technosols”, site visits – biochar, soil and biochar trials, hands-on exercises for biochar production, characterization, and testing
  •  Scaling and Modelling approaches for LI @UofT Engineering. Support from STEP: modeling approaches and scaling effects, climate change considerations for LI, hands-on computer design and modeling software

1.3 Professional development short courses – workshops and short courses with government and industry partners, focused on practical aspects of the industry such as site planning, environmental legislation and incentive programs, design and construction processes, material sourcing and manufacturing, maintenance and management, best practices, intellectual property, entrepreneurship, and business development.

Element 2: Immersive Lab and Field Research

2.1. Large-scale experiments will be designed to incorporate hands-on skills development in hydrology, micrometeorology, water quality, soil processes, vegetation dynamics, biodiversity, and model development

2.2. Safety Training for field-based research, industry site visits and workshops

Element 3: Professional development

3.1. Exchanges – Inter-provincial and international at Stevens Institute of Technology (USA), University of Haifa (Israel), University of Melbourne (Australia), Chiba University (Japan), University of Lorraine, and INSA-Lyon (France)

3.2. Annual DesignLIFES symposium and short courses – 01 week long during the summer: first day oral presentations and poster sessions; short courses will follow up on the next 4 days

3.3. Professional Skills – Communication and Leadership training – workshops and training in project management, communications, negotiations, and leadership – offered by external experts

STEP’s Annual TRIECA conference annually – trainees will be encouraged to attend and participate and present research progress and network with industry.