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Irene Yang BEng Mgt '01 & Andrew Biksa, MASc ’10

Electrical Engineering & Management, Mechanical Engineering | Building a Green Future

Government policy can provide a vision for a greener future, but when it comes to sustainable construction, the real building blocks need to come from industry.

That’s the philosophy behind an industry partnership working to design, build and measure the next generation of sustainable commercial buildings – with the ultimate aim of achieving net-zero energy construction.

McMaster grad Andrew Biksa (M.A.Sc.’10, Mech. Eng.) is providing expertise in how building materials like sustainable concrete, spray foam, and coatings can help achieve that goal.

Working in business development with BASF Canada, Biksa is taking part in the Carbon Impact Initiative being led by construction giant EllisDon.

“This has been an incredible experience,” says Biksa. ”It’s not just a philosophy or nice idea, we are building the next generation of net-zero energy sustainable buildings right now.

“We are leading by example and aiming to change the way we do construction in Canada -- and hopefully one day the entire world.”

After studying chemical engineering as an undergrad, Biksa came to the McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute to earn a master’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2010.

He now works under fellow Mac engineering grad Irene Yang (nee Hwang, BEng Mgt ’01) at BASF Canada.

Along with searching out new business opportunities for the company’s coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers, concrete, and spray foam products, Biksa works with industry associations and universities to promote collaboration and innovation.

“Having studied both chemical and mechanical engineering, I thought I would be doing 100 percent technical design work,” he says. “But once I got a flavour of the business side, I became hooked immediately.

“I love the blend of using engineering technical knowledge to scout and validate ideas and then developing a ‘go-to market’ approach from the business side.”