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Esri Canada congratulates GISquad, the 1st Runner-Up of the App Challenge 2019!

App: Sustainera

Hosted on GitHub:

Mission statement

In Canada, buildings account for almost a third of its’ annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As Canadian cities continue to grow, so does the demand for energy. Buildings have a substantial impact on the environment as they use resources, generate waste and are costly to maintain and operate. There is high potential to deliver significant cuts in emissions at very little costs, benefiting the environment, economy and society. With new constructions, renovations or retrofits, buildings in Toronto can achieve superior levels of energy efficiency by using fewer resources, reducing waste, improving air quality and eliminating negative environmental impacts.

Toronto’s population is projected to grow over 35% by 2050, which will further the expansion of residential and commercial infrastructure. In 2010, the City of Toronto implemented the Toronto Green Standard, which are sustainable design requirements for new private and city-owned developments. This includes a performance target for new buildings to approach zero emissions by 2030. Toronto’s Climate Action Strategy also has a city-wide goal of achieving an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050. These targets not only reduce carbon emissions but also make Toronto’s buildings more resilient, comfortable and affordable with lower energy costs.

Our app, Sustainera, aims to promote sustainable buildings using 2 strategies; reducing energy/water consumption and planting green rooftops. Choosing efficient insulation, lighting and appliances saves energy, lowers utility bills, increases indoor comfort and reduce impacts on the environment. Green roofs act as a rainwater buffer, reduce noise and air pollution, regulate indoor temperatures by providing extra insulation and absorb CO2, making urban areas less likely to become heat islands. Buildings that choose to be more sustainable will face higher initial costs, but the difference will be easily recovered over time through energy savings. Not only do green buildings benefit tenants and households with savings in utilities, but they also lower maintenance costs and increase property value for building developers.

Video Presentation


Team Members

Matthew Brown: Matt (left) is a second year Master of Science candidate at McMaster University in the Geography program. Matt has previously worked as a GIS research assistant in both the Transportation Research and CRUNCH labs at McMaster. Matt currently acts as a teaching assistant for courses related to both raster and vector GIS. Outside of academics, Matt can be found practicing music, playing video games, and learning new languages.

Michele Tsang: Michele (right) is a second year Master’s student in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences at McMaster University. Her research focuses on the accessibility of emergency services during historic and predicted flooding events. She has a strong background in spatial, statistical and network analyses. This is her second year being an ECCE Student Associate and third year competing in the App Challenge. Some of her hobbies include baking, hiking and traveling.

Anastassios Dardas: Tasos (centre) is in his final year of PhD in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences at McMaster University. He will be defending his dissertation, “Assessing Activity Travel Behaviour of Carer-Employees & Health Risk Areas in Hamilton”, this coming April. During his 3.5 years of PhD, Tasos has participated a total of 6 hackathons from blockchain energy design to hazard predictions to sustainability. Some of his hobbies include rowing, ultimate frisbee, and learning new development frameworks.