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Building the green way

Pierre Blanchet is studying the building industry from every angle. By using naturally sourced materials like wood and hemp, he hopes to reduce the construction industry’s ecological footprint.

Project architects

Pierre Blanchet, For. Eng., Ph. D.

Full Professor, Faculty of Forestry, Geography and Geomatics
NSERC Industrial Research Chair on Eco-responsible Wood Construction (CIRCERB)
Member of Centre de recherche sur les matériaux renouvelables de l’Université Laval (CRMR-UL)
Member of Institut Hydro-Québec en environnement, développement et société (Institut EDS)
Member of Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche en opérationnalisation du développement durable (CIRROD)


Chair coordination: Pierre Gagné, Myriam Drouin, Jenny McKenzie

Collaborating professors

André Potvin, Ben Amor, Christian Dagenais, Conrad Boton (ETS), Etienne Marceau, Jean Proulx (UdeS), Jean-François Lalonde, Louis Gosselin, Luca Sorelli, Marc Oudjene, Nadia Lehoux, Sylvain Ménard (UQAC), Véronic Landry, Xiadong Wang, Yan Cimon

Student and postdoctoral fellow members

Postdoctoral fellows: Audrey Tanguy, Atif Hussain, Franz Segovia, Diane Schorr

Design component: Kristina Kincelova, Sébastien Royal, Xavier Tanguay, Zahra Hosseini, Charles Breton, Rizal Taufiq-Fauzi, Philippe Charest, Sylvain Cordier, Gabriel Jobidon, Jon Lefaivre

Construction component: Étienne Gauthier-Turcotte, Alexandre Morin-Bernard, Alexis Caron-Rousseau, Simon Veilleux, Nicolas Labrecque, Félix Bouffard, Catherine Joly-Lapalice,  Marzieh Ghiyasinasab, Baptiste Giorgio, Simon Pépin, Clément Fleury, Truong-Thanh Nguyen, Cassandra Lafond, Minh Van Thai, Qian Cheng, Doan Trang Hoang, Viet Anh Vu

Operation component: Mathieu Létourneau-Gagnon, Juan Camilo Castaneda Munera, Moslem Sharifishourabi, Nataliia Gerzhova, Qiwei Qin, Xavier Tanguay, Rizal Taufiq-Fauzi, Truong-Thanh Nguyen, Simon Pépin, Alexandre Morin-Bernard, Qian Cheng, Minh Van Thai, Clément Fleury, Simon Veilleux

Prefab initiative: Basma Ben Mahmoud, Matheus Roberto Cabral, Allan CID, Kikki Lambrecht Ipsen, Ahmed Khouja, Roxanne Lessard, Axel Lorenzetti, Laurence Picard, Axel Zimmermann, Clément Blanquet du Chayla


Industry partners

Provencher_Roy, Coarchitecture, CIMA+, Sotramont, Société Laurentide, APCHQ, UL CLEB, Kruger, Maibec, Corruven, Art Massif, Les Chantiers Chibougamau, Vertima, Cecobois, FPInnovations, Profab, Maison Laprise, Ultratec, Soprema, Resolu, Oikos Concept

Government partners

Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP), Québec Energy Transition, Société québécoise des infrastructures, Société d’habitation du Québec 

Designing sustainable buildings

Whether built to last 25 years or 100 years, buildings have a long-term impact on the environment. Pierre Blanchet is trying to reduce the harmful environmental effects by focusing on natural, sustainable materials that also require less energy to manufacture. He is convinced that using more wood would reduce the carbon footprint of Québec’s construction industry. Professor Blanchet is testing his theory in different labs so he can convince decisionmakers to update construction standards.

Developing efficient materials

Another aspect of his work consists of developing new construction materials to replace less sustainable ones like concrete and polymers. Right now he is creating insulation from bio-based materials (wood) and agricultural fibres (hemp). He is also testing bioactive treatments with properties that protect surfaces and increase the longevity of the structures they protect. Professor Blanchet then checks the energy efficiency of these materials by using them on real buildings.

Analyzing occupant behaviour

One variable remains: human behaviour. You can create the most efficient materials possible, but you still have to consider the impact occupants will have on a building’s energy balance. This theory was put to the test at the Cité Verte construction site in Québec City. One apartment building, Habitations Trentino, was outfitted with sensors transmitting over 350 datasets/minute. Researchers were surprised to discover that 30 of the 40 units were using more energy than expected!

Sensors installed in the Habitations Trentino apartments in Cité Verte collected data on energy used by heating, hot water, ventilation, and other systems.

Damien Mathis tests the thermal properties of his natural solar batteries in tiny houses on campus.

In Canada, the National Building Code governs every aspect of building construction, from materials to techniques.

Pierre Blanchet tests the performance of a protective treatment on a wood sidewalk in Forêt Montmorency.

What’s next

As part of his second mandate as Chair, Pierre Blanchet is continuing his work on design and materials, with a particular focus on technology. At the same time, he is interested in the societal benefits of green building. What effects do materials have on occupants’ health, wellness, and comfort? How can we incorporate economic and social factors in building design? Professor Blanchet will try to answer these questions in the coming years.

NSERC Industrial Research Chair on Eco-responsible Wood Construction (CIRCERB)

Learn more about the Chair’s work.


Industrialized construction initiative

Read about this unusual partnership.


Wood Science studies

Explore our programs.


More to explore

Find out what other Université Laval professors are up to!