Sandra Dedesk

MASc, P.Eng, WELL Advisor, WELL Faculty, WELL AP
PhD Student and Researcher

Sandra specializes in high-performance buildings that promote occupant health and environmental sustainability. She is a PhD student and researcher in the Healthy Buildings group at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health where she combines her building design and engineering background with expertise in environmental health and exposure assessment. She has international research and consulting experience in this area and has authored multiple peer-reviewed publications on this topic. Sandra is passionate about translating scientific findings to practical applications and is involved with developing and delivering education through the University of Toronto, the Canada Green Building Council, and the International Well Building Institute.


Climate change has brought more varied climatic conditions and extreme weather events that pose new challenges to the built environment. While growing attention is being put towards designing for enhanced resilience and physical durability, there has been less consideration of the impacts on indoor environmental quality. The average North American spends over 90% of their time indoors where they are exposed to numerous dynamic environmental conditions. Accordingly, time spent in buildings has a prominent impact on human health and wellbeing. While the COVID-19 pandemic has garnered more widespread appreciation for this, there are additional climate change considerations beyond infectious disease control that must be considered to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes resulting from time spent in buildings in the years to come. . These considerations will be explored by examining specific climate change-driven events and the resulting impacts on the indoor environment, including: The influence of flooding on the indoor microbiome; The impacts of wildfires on indoor air quality; and The effects of heatwaves on indoor thermal conditions and occupant perceptions. Each scenario will be presented to answer two main discussion questions: What are the impacts on indoor environmental quality? What does this mean for occupant health and wellbeing? This session will provide an overview of indoor environmental quality and highlight design considerations of increasing importance in our ever-changing climate reality.

Natalia Ortiz Moreno

Natalia Ortiz, student of Project Management Environmental (PME) program in Seneca Polytechnic, has an Environmental Engineering background completed at Universidad El Bosque in Colombia. She has always been involved in sustainability roles and projects that included Environmental Management Systems implementation, Water Treatment Systems’ design and operation, Hazardous and Conventional Waste management and minimization practices, as well as Ecosystem’s Conservation and Energy
Efficiency programs.

For the PME – Applied Project Management Course, Natalia developed a Green Roof Assessment Tool for Seneca Polytechnic’s Office of Sustainability, with the aim to provide green roof technology recommendations best suited to a particular scenario, taking into consideration multiple aspects of green roofs and buildings; infrastructure, design, materials, environmental factors, and costs, as well as the Toronto Municipal Code – Green Roof bylaw. Natalia also has a scientific journal publication as the main author of the project “Selection and sizing of industrial wastewater treatment units required at the
new maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) aircraft facility owned by Avianca S.A. in Rionegro Antioquia” in the El Bosque University Journal of Technology.

Natalia strongly believes there are several research topics left to be developed, and the importance of
working towards Sustainability from different backgrounds, knowledge, and cultures to build strong, productive, and resilient communities.
With the vision of growing cities and infrastructure along with nature, always preserving and respecting the ecosystems’ attributes and services, Natalia would like to keep researching and acquiring more experience in Sustainability roles.

Emily Smit

Emily is a second-year PhD student in Geography at the University of Toronto, and a co-operator of a small home renovation company, Magnus Home Improvements. Her research seeks to determine how single-family homes can quickly and best be retrofit to achieve Toronto’s emissions reductions targets – including net-zero by 2040 – as part of the TransformTO climate action plan. Specifically, she will assess the impact of municipal home energy reporting and disclosure programs, as well as produce recommendations for growing the retrofit labour force in ways that attend to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Further, her research seeks to understand how home retrofit activities can be regenerative and produce net-positive impacts for humans and the environment towards transformative, place-based sustainability. When not at her computer, Emily can be found cycling with her kids to and from school or making funky sounds on her analog synthesizer.

Bofa Udisi

Bofa is a sustainability professional with over seven years in the energy and environment industry. He has a Bachelor of Science in Energy and Petroleum Studies from Novena University in Nigeria and graduate certificates in Energy Management and Environmental Project Management from Seneca College in Toronto. In 2020, he graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Master of Environment and Business degree. He is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Building Science program at Toronto Metropolitan University, researching whole-life carbon reduction in new construction and building renovations.

Bofa‘s work experience is primarily in the built environment, working in the private and public sectors in roles that involve structural and environmental assessment of building structures, HVAC engineering design and sales, and facilities management. Bofa is a member of several industry associations, such as the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), the American Society for Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and the Project Management Institute (PMI). SBC’s bursary will go a long way in supporting Bofa‘s research and his desire to learn.