Donna Vakalis



I came here after doing a Masters of Architecture and working for 3 years on sustainable building projects. There I learned that the most compelling built environment solutions often require a smart mix of new and old. In our research group, we use vetted techniques (e.g.,building science knowledge) with new tools (e.g., environmental sensors) and nuanced reasoning to move the needle forward on occupant health and wellbeing.

Research Interests

In my PhD research and beyond I want to help the occupants of buildings have better health and learning outcomes. I am working with survey data from social housing occupants and conducting a review of the evidence basis for IEQ LEED credits in schools.


IEQ in Social Housing
IEQ and School Performance
IEQ and Cognitive Function


Vakalis D, Diaz Lozano Patiño E, Opher T, Touchie M, Burrows K, MacLean HL, Siegel JA. 2021. Quantifying thermal comfort and carbon savings from energy-retrofits in social housing. Energy & Buildings, 241, 110950. DOI: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2021.110950 | Summary | Building Energy

Vakalis D, Lepine C, MacLean HL, Siegel JA. 2021. Can green schools influence academic performance? Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, 51(13), 1354–1396. DOI: 10.1080/10643389.2020.1753631 | Summary | IEQ and School Performance

Vakalis D, Touchie M, Tzekova E, MacLean HL, Siegel JA. 2019. Indoor environmental quality perceptions of social housing residents. Building and Environment, 150, 135-143. DOI: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2018.12.062 | Summary | IEQ in Social Housing

Diaz Lozano Patiño E, Vakalis D, Touchie M, Tzekova E, Siegel JA. 2018. Thermal comfort in multi-unit social housing buildings. Building and Environment, 144, 230-237. DOI: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2018.08.024 | Summary | IEQ in Social Housing

Vakalis D, MacLean H, Siegel JA . (2018) Prevalence of building features with possible impacts on student outcomes in LEED-certified schools. Indoor Air 2018: Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Indoor Air and Climate, Paper 770.



  • ASHRAE Grant-in-aid

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