People in developed countries spend up to 90 per cent of their time indoors. About 30-40 per cent of the energy used goes to heat and cool buildings.
A prototype of the new Venmar CES device was on display at an open house event Friday at the engineering lab where the research was done. The event is part of "Open Doors - Open Knowledge", a series of events promoted by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) at more than 30 universities across the country.
"Our long and successful research partnership with Venmar CES provides clear benefits for our researchers and students, as well as for the economy and the environment," said U of S Vice-President Research Karen Chad.
"This relationship is also an excellent example of how we excel in energy technologies for a sustainable environment - one of the integral themes within our signature areas of research."
Venmar CES Inc. has its roots in U of S research in the 1970s, with the first low-cost, plastic air-to-air heat exchanger for use in houses or livestock operations to increase energy efficiency. Developed by U of S engineering researcher Robert Besant, this technology was commercialized and led to a long history of research collaboration between the college and its industrial partners.
Today, Besant and fellow mechanical engineering professor Carey Simonson work together with Venmar CES on federal NSERC Collaborative Research and Development grants totaling $1.5 million to date. Two patents have been filed based on this collaborative research.
The partnership has led to plentiful opportunities for students to contribute to research into energy-efficiency technologies with real-world impact. To date, Venmar CES has helped fund 20 U of S master's and PhD student projects.
These students have gone on to form the core of the workforce of the Venmar CES Saskatoon operations (they have a sister facility at St-Léonard-d'Aston, Québec). More than a dozen U of S grads now work at the company, where they make up a good portion of the in-house R&D department. The firm plans to expand their R&D team as more opportunities arise from the core technology that has been developed.
Venmar CES products are being used to cool a significant number of high-rise office buildings in New York City, including the new World Trade buildings.
"We need to further develop these kinds of partnerships, both in number and scale, to achieve Canada's potential in innovation and productivity," says Christine Tausig Ford, vice president of AUCC.
A video on the U of S-Venmar partnership, produced by the U of S in partnership with NSERC, is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnvNGUq_qTw
For more information, contact:
University of Saskatchewan
Venmar CES Communications
(306) 242-3663 Ext. 4202