Applied Research

Applied Research and Innovation Services is a research-based department. We offer students hands-on, experiential learning opportunities and provide industry partners with access to our facilities, equipment, expertise, funding and resources.

Taking an idea and making it a reality is integral to our work.

Our researchers come from industry and academia alike, and work with SAIT faculty, industry partners and students to guide them through the research and development process. Areas of expertise range from radio frequency identification and produced water remediation to sports and wellness engineering and renewable energy technologies.

Green Building TechnologiesSAIT's Green Building Technologies teams' Discovery 5 home

  • Solar Photovoltaic and Thermal Heating Technologies
  • Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse
  • Net-Zero Energy Home Building
  • Building Envelope Optimization

The Green Building Technologies (GBT) research initiative got its start within SAIT's Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) department in 2008. ARIS, SAIT's gateway for applied research, has brought SAIT and GBT researchers together with industry partners to identify and develop environmentally friendly products, programs, systems and services that will fundamentally change the way we build, educate and develop skilled labour.

GBT's three main goals involve:

  • Leading industry in implementing green building technologies
    Providing training for students in green building technologies
    Enhancing the commercialization of green technologies within Canadian industry

SAIT conducts research on a variety of GBT projects at any given time, often initiated through a specific partnership or funding grant.


Applied research in GBT focuses on four main themes:

  • Net-Zero Energy Home (NZEH) construction and systems monitoring
  • Architectural ecology
  • Building-integrated renewable energy and alternative energy
  • Education and industry transformation


GBT researchers work collaboratively, with the expertise of each individual playing a critical role in the formation of projects. Collectively, the GBT team has the following knowledge-base:

  • Architecture and architectural engineering technology
  • Building design and construction; trades and building codes
  • Electronics, automation and wireless communication systems
  • NZEH customization
  • Conservation of water and the environment; energy modeling
  • Water filtration and rainwater harvesting systems; green roofs and living walls
  • Advanced wall assemblies; advanced component assemblies; industrial design, building and fabrication
  • Solar thermal and photovoltaic systems; renewable-energy generation, collection, storage, design, installation and operation

In addition, members of the team have significantly contributed to curriculum development at SAIT.


  • Net-Zero Energy Home and Passive House design and construction
  • Energy and resource management, monitoring and automation
  • Material and advanced component assembly, testing and fabrication, including structural and envelope component prototype development and testing, comparative reports and hygrothermal analysis
  • Building-related product design, prototype development and fabrication
  • Automated construction-process improvements, including building-information modeling, integrated design processes and automated manufacturing of assemblies
  • Architectural ecology, including waste conservation, reuse and repurposing, as well as building-integrated water-filtration technologies such as green roofs, living walls and rainwater harvesting and reuse system testing, policy development and education
  • Building-integrated solar thermal heating, testing, design, prototype development and fabrication of new components
  • Advanced, integrated mechanical-system design and process testing
  • Building-integrated, photovoltaic, electrical-system design, racking design and testing, grid tie-in, remote, off-grid battery systems, and trades and installation training

Read about our GBT projects on our industry collaborations page.

Renewable FuelsSAIT's biodiesel project began in 2008 as a technology-based solution to a waste-management problem.

  • Biofuels

The biodiesel project began in 2008 as a technology-based solution to a waste-management problem.

SAIT's School of Hospitality and Tourism generates waste cooking oil. And, Applied Research and Innovation Services diverts the cooking oil from the waste-disposal system and converts it into biodiesel. Today, this affordable, sustainable and environmentally friendly biodiesel is used to fuel SAIT's Jeep, and heat the Bubble Greenhouse on campus, built to house plants year-round in the School of Hospitality and Tourism's culinary garden.

Not only was the possibility of automating the biodiesel reactor system explored, it was also evaluated in conjunction with an industry partner around any necessary modifications that would maximize its commercial benefit to industry. In addition, applied research is undertaken to improve our understanding of biodiesel as an alternative fuel source. For example, testing it in various blends with conventional petro-diesel, to evaluate its seasonal performance in a real-world environment.

Read about our Biodiesel project on our industry collaborations page.

Environmental TechnologiesSAIT Polytechnic collaborated with the University of Calgary and industry to develop a safer, cheaper way to clean up hazardous PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) in soil using ultraviolet light.

  • Frac- and Produced-Water-Treatment Technologies
  • Desalination Prototype Development and Demonstration
  • Clean-Energy Technology Development in Air, Water and Soil Clean-up
  • Carbon Capture and Storage and other Greenhouse-Gas-Emission-Prevention Strategies

The Environmental Technologies research group was launched within SAIT's Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) department in 2007. ARIS, SAIT's gateway for industry-based, applied-research initiatives, unites researchers focused on clean energy technologies with students and industry partners. Together, they are working to develop real-world solutions that address today's energy and environmental challenges. With a focus on clean-technology solutions that reduce impacts to air, soil and water, Environmental Technologies will play a pivotal role in facilitating Western Canada's transition to environmentally responsible energy production and transportation.

The overall goals driving Environmental Technologies' research are:

  • Leading Canadian applied research to demonstrate global leadership in sustainable, clean technologies impacting air, water and soil.
  • Implementing application-based, innovative solutions that reduce emissions and soil and water degredation, and increase process and energy efficiency, as well as water recovery and recycling.
  • Collaborating with industry, academia, not-for-profit groups, non-governmental organizations and First Nation Stakeholders to develop proactive strategies to prevent pollution, practical high-performance technologies, and alternatives to accelerate clean-up.


Environmental Technologies' research includes prototype development and testing, design optimization, equipment piloting, system integration and validation, and education and industry transformation. The main themes guiding innovation and research in clean energy technologies at SAIT are:

  • AIR: Air quality monitoring; greenhouse gas emissions prevention and sequestration.
  • SOIL: Soil quality monitoring and remediation technologies; soil salinity reduction.
  • WATER: Frac- and produced-water treatment, wastewater remediation; water de-oiling and desalination using membrane and thermal technologies.


The Environmental Technologies research team has a solid knowledge-base built on clean-technologies experience in the conventional and unconventional oil and gas sectors as well as transportation and mining. Collectively, the team's capabilities include:

  • Technology feasibility assessment, verification and transfer to commercialization; prototype development.
  • Frac- and produced-water treatment for reuse in mining, in-situ thermal recovery and shale development.
  • Reclamation and remediation of the decommissioned facilities, disturbed lands, contaminated soils and wastewater.
  • Chemical-process technologies; in-house chemical and analytical quality control and assurance for water and biodiesel.
  • Automated systems engineering technology, logic controller programming, and data-collection and measuring instrument calibration.

In addition, the group contributes to new curriculum development and instruction at SAIT in the areas of environmental and chemical engineering technology, process operations, and environmental management and auditing.


  • Prototype development and demonstration activities.
  • System integration and automation.
  • Mobile saline and produced water pre-treatment and desalination technology verification.
  • Ceramic membrane technology for de-oiling produced water.
  • Ultrafiltration (UF), Nanofiltration (NF), Reverse Osmosis (RO), Electrodialysis (ED), High-Efficiency Electro-Pressure Membrane (HEEPM) and hybrid membrane desalination technologies
    Carbon capture and storage strategies; independent assessments and audits.
  • Greenhouse gas emission prevention strategies.
  • Air, land and water quality monitoring and environmental remediation strategies.

Read about our Environmental Technologies projects on our industry collaborations page.

Information and Communications TechnologiesRFID Asset Tracking and Real Time Animal Management is one focus area in ARIS' Information and Communications Technologies team.

  • RFID Asset Tracking and Real Time Animal Management
  • Taser Technology
  • Quantum Key Distribution

Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) established its RFID Application Development Lab (RADLab) in 2007. The RADLab is home to SAIT's Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) research and other electronics and information-technology projects.

RFID is a wireless communications technology with multiple applications. It facilitates tracking and tracing activities in supply-chain and work-in-progress (WIP) manufacturing, real-time location-based services, and inventory management.

The RADLab is focused on introducing innovative products and applications into an emerging market, working closely with students and industry partners. It is uniquely positioned to provide organizations (e.g., emergency services, livestock, oil and gas, and manufacturing) with the resources needed to improve processes and track assets with accuracy, speed and reliability.

RADLab goals include:

  • Providing a vendor-neutral facility where industry can test new RFID technology and applications.
  • Promoting global competitiveness through RFID adoption by industry.
  • Leading local and regional industry partners to new business opportunities.
  • Supporting a skilled work force by integrating RFID technology into SAIT's curriculum and students' applied-research projects.

Innovation at SAIT takes place in a variety of information and communications technology research areas. Projects are usually initiated by an industry partner, and are supported by private funding and provincial and federal grants.


RADLab research themes include:

  • Asset management process and technology improvement.
  • Software development to support RFID technologies.
  • Hardware integration to support expanded RFID capabilities in existing systems.
  • Vendor-neutral software and hardware integration.
  • Distributed wireless sensor networks that facilitate automated inventory reading, processes or systems.


The RADLab team works collaboratively in an ever-evolving, open workspace with floor-to-ceiling whiteboard walls that facilitate ongoing brainstorming. Collectively, the group has a wide range of expertise, including:

  • Software and hardware development.
  • Wireless communications network design and implementation.
  • Electrical and computer engineering.
  • Electrical system design and installation.
  • Electronics.

Equipment and Capabilities

  • Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) label printers.
  • Enterprise-grade, fixed, UHF RFID scanners.
  • Enterprise-grade, mobile, UHF RFID scanners.
  • Directional UHF RFID antennae systems.
  • Cisco wireless domain services (WDS) system.
  • Aeroscout Real-Time Location System (RTLS).
  • National Instruments PXI (PCI Extensions for Instrumentation), UHF RFID development unit.
  • Fixed, modular UHF RFID gateway.
  • Enterprise level HP servers and Cisco switching equipment.
  • Electronics development and testing tools.
  • Rugged HD video and photo capture equipment.
  • Field-programmable gate array (FPGA) development kits.
  • Embedded ARM development kits, microcontroller development boards and various sensor modules.
  • Mobile field-testing trailer.

Read about our RFID projects on our industry collaborations page.

Sports and Wellness Engineering TechnologiesSAIT Polytechnic is the first manufacturer of Olympic-quality skeleton sleds in Canada.

  • Skeleton and Bobsled Prototype
  • Luge Sled Components
  • Adaptive Para-Bobsleigh
  • Wheelchair Front-End Accessory
  • Bi-directional Pedaling System
  • Ski Base Development
  • Safety Audit and Trajectory Study of Whistler Sliding Centre Track

Sports and Wellness Engineering Technologies at SAIT has an exceptional track record. Literally. This area of SAIT's Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) department has gained recognition producing skeleton sleds for Canadian athletes to compete on sliding tracks around the world.

Started in 2005, sports and wellness research at SAIT was originally aligned with the needs of the National Sports Organizations (NSOs) to create made-in-Canada technologies and equipment for Canadian athletes that will give them a competitive advantage. By 2009, the research group expanded its scope beyond sports and recreation to include health and wellness; specifically, adaptive aids and wheelchairs. In 2012, the Sports and Wellness Engineering Technology Institute (SWETI) was established at SAIT.

SWETI goals include:

  • Undertake applied research activities — whether collaborative, contract or exploratory — in sports and wellness engineering.
  • Facilitate industry collaboration with sports-related entities (NSOs, Winsport Canada, Canadian Sports Centre Calgary and the University of Calgary's Sport Technology Research Lab)
  • Provide access to facilities and equipment that support the creation and sustainability of companies in sports, recreation and wellness equipment manufacturingApplied research projects are usually initiated by an industry partner, and are supported by private funding and provincial and federal grants.


SWETI research themes include:

  • Design and fabrication of sliding sports equipment.
  • Reverse engineering of sports equipment prototypes.
  • Design and fabrication of athlete training accessories.
  • Studies and R&D with major North American sliding centres.
  • Design and fabrication of wheelchair accessory.
  • Design and fabrication of medical accessories.


The SWETI team does its work through the Enerplus Centre for Innovation and ARIS's Technology Mall — both of which are in Aldred Centre on SAIT's main campus. Collectively, the group has a wide range of expertise in:

  • Engineering, design and analysis
  • Computational fluid dynamics for aerodynamic assessment
  • Materials selection and testing
  • Prototype fabrication using a variety of materials
  • Rapid prototyping (3D printing)
  • Independent product testing
  • Market assessment
  • IP management

Read about our Sports and Wellness Engineering projects on our industry collaborations page.