ASCE has honored Gregory A. Kopp, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, with the 2021 Jack E. Cermak Medal for his many contributions in wind engineering through research and development of wind load standards of buildings and the NIST aerodynamic database.
Kopp has continued the research work on wind loads on low-rise buildings carried out by David Scurry at the University of Western Ontario. Kopp’s work is reflected in the wind loads given in ASCE 7 for low-slope roofs, which, in the opinion of some, now properly reflect the variation of the wind loads on components and cladding acting on the roofs of low-slope buildings with heights less than the least horizontal dimension. ASCE 7 is the only code in the world whose roof loads properly reflect the aerodynamics.
Kopp’s work on wind loads on solar panels has been incorporated into the ASCE 7 wind loading provisions, with ASCE 7 likely providing the most realistic loading provisions for solar panel arrays of any wind loading standard.
He is currently working on improving the wind load provisions in ASCE 7 for high-rise buildings as well as researching methods to remove the discontinuity on wind loads due to the erroneous 60-foot break point between the low-rise and high-rise wind loading provisions.
Kopp leads the Northern Tornadoes project, where he and his team are studying the tornado climatology in Northern Ontario as well as leading field work, collecting information on the performance of buildings subjected to tornado winds. Recent publications by Kopp have improved our understanding of the mechanisms by which wind loads due to tornadoes are different than those produced by straight line winds.
Kopp has been a keynote speaker at numerous wind engineering conferences and his work has been extensively published in the peer-reviewed literature. His understanding of the mechanisms and scaling parameters is second to none in the profession. It has led to an improved understanding of the wind loads on buildings in general. His work has and will continue to lead to improvements in the way in which codes and standards present wind loading requirements that better match the physical phenomena but are readily and easily implemented in codes or standards.
This medal was established by the Engineering Mechanics Division/SEI to recognize Dr. Jack E. Cermak’s lifetime achievements in the field of wind engineering and industrial aerodynamics.