As building codes evolve to make sustainability a standard rather than an option, there is an increasing need for easy-to-use resource that connects the dots. We spoke with Azam Khan, PhD, Co-Founder and CEO of Trax, to learn more about how the company is contributing to a successful transition for the building and construction sector.
Describe your core offering(s). How is your organization contributing to a cleaner, greener future?
Trax is a powerful search tool for building codes, with linking, annotation, and project management features. Since the building codes are mandatory and now include energy efficiency requirements and step codes working toward net-zero buildings, helping people understand the building codes will accelerate compliance toward a net-zero Canada.
Other than coffee, what gets you out of bed in the morning? How does this work connect with your core beliefs and values?
What if we had a circular economy, and we didn’t need to take more non-renewable resources from the environment? What if all buildings were net-zero, or even net-positive, generating energy instead of consuming it; and could even grow our food with vertical farming? What if people stopped eating animals and could just grow their own food?
These are the questions I’ve been asking myself and others since 1984. At that time, I saw a documentary series called “A Planet for the Taking” by David Suzuki on the CBC. It showed the unbelievable drive of people to consume everything, the horrific treatment of animals, and the unchecked spread of destruction without any ethical thought or consideration. It was – and is still – clear to me that this state of affairs is completely unnecessary and that we can fix this.
My co-founder Simon Breslav and I care about sustainability. Through Trax, we’re trying to make it easier for people to be sustainable. Buildings are a huge source of emissions globally, so there is a great potential for impact if we work toward net zero in this sector. Our tools help people better understand and apply the mandatory sustainability requirements in the building code. In the future, we hope to add the ability to recommend what changes to make to a building, or devices to use, to minimize energy consumption while also minimizing cost.
Tell us about a recent win (or wins) or your organization?
We were very happy to recently welcome the Building Department from the City of Peterborough as customers of the Trax platform. Also, we have partnered with the Ontario Building Officials Association (OBOA) to get Trax out to more of their members.
What’s next for your organization?
We would like to partner with the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) to reach out to their members as well. Since they will design all the buildings and retrofits to make Canada a net-zero country, we want to help architects to achieve compliance too before they even submit their designs to the building officials. Accelerating the design process for compliance with modern tools can make a big difference, right at the source.
Finally, what’s on your team’s wish list for Ontario’s cleantech sector?
Most funding programs are designed for physical devices or materials to improve sustainability. While this is incredibly important, there is a gap in grants and support for process and policy solutions like Trax that could affect the entire sustainability landscape and raise the bar.
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