Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Energizing Sustainable Cities: Slouching Towards Net Zero in Two Degree C Hotter World

Here are my rough notes (slightly polished) from three recent events I attended at Tufts, MIT, and online

Energizing Sustainable Cities: Findings from the Global Energy Assessment
with Arnulf Grubler, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and Yale University

Thursday, October 24, 2013
12:30-1:45 PM
(a light lunch will be served – no RSVP, first-come first-served)
Tufts, Cabot 703, The Fletcher School, 160 Packard Avenue, Medford, MA

Energizing Sustainable Cities:  Assessing Urban Energy
Arnulf Grubler

Book of the same title as the talk, Energizing Sustainable Cities
New report includes a chapter on urban energy assessments, chapter 18 (  No business as usual scenario.
3/4 of all final energy is urban
World rural population likely to peak at 3.5 billion and decline after 2020
Cities are 0.2- 2.7% of world landmass
96% Internet routers are urban
Small cities, less than 100,000 population, are where most people live and are not studied enough (neighborhood and village scale)
City dwellers have lower energy and carbon footprints
Lack urban energy and carbon accounting for embodied energy, import/export balance
Annex 1 [industrialized] cities are generally lower than average per capita energy use but cities in Annex 2 countries approach Annex 1 levels of consumption while paying a higher relative price.
Most of the urban energy flow is in embodied energy, goods and services
City density enables demand/supply management and calls for low waste/zero impact systems - density demands zero emissions or zero impact - high levels of pollution happening in high population density areas is not good
Vienna which has had municipal utilities and services for a hundred years.  In first law analysis, it is 50% efficient and with second law analysis it is 83% exegetic, has the ability to do useful work.  You can increase energy efficiency by a factor of five without violating physical laws. [Raiffeisen Bank building in Vienna, 21 stories, 20,000-square-metre building or 65,000 sq ft, PassivHaus standard]
Vast improvement possibilities but they require integration and management of the urban form and systemic change
The largest leverage from systemic change but requires overcoming fragmentation (zero emissions as an approachable goal, statistical quality control)
Focus on the midpoints:  efficiency of end use in buildings, processes, vehicles, appliances;  land use;  urban form (transportation, housing)
Syncity simulations work on these midpoints [Synthetic city simulations scaling up to world (peace) games as MOOs]

Q:  Cambridge and zero net emissions
Partner with similar scale cities in becoming a zero emissions city to discover useful commonalities

1 Bryant Place in NYC claims to be the most efficient building of 51 story []
Biggest district heating grid in the world is ConEd in Manhattan

Zero emissions at point of consumption - electricity and hydrogen.  Hydrogen introduced on the model of town gas or natural gas infrastructure [natural gas/methane is not going away]
Exergy as optionality, the higher the exergy the more possibilities
Switzerland as a model of microgrids based on civil defense [CT's microgrid program:]

In developing world, concentrate first on squatter settlements [bare minimum to bare maximum, solar swadeshi:]

Slouching Towards Net Zero
Z Smith, Tulane 

Keep score - kbtu's/sq ft/yr 
2030 challenge - 2003 as baseline (laboratories have the highest energy use per sq ft yr, average is 343 kBtu/sf/yr) with reduction down to zero by 2030
Today's PV ~30k Wh/sf/yr or 100 kBtu/sf/yr a 4 story building can be offset 25k Btu/sf/yr and a 6 story building is 16 kBtu/sf/yr
PV modules dropped at 7% per year over the last 30 years
Installed systems have fallen by 45% over the last 12 years
Panasonic has a 4-8 kW home energy storage system
Center for Interactive Research on Sustainability, Univ of British Columbia - carbon negative, net zero water use, net zero energy, cost no more than typical university construction, 60,000 sq ft building, 4 stories, including a 500 seat auditorium and laboratories
Entirely wood-framed with glue-lam
Active shade green wall
Uses PV as exterior solar control device, blocking summer sun and allowing winter sun
Ground source heat pump and uses heat recovery from waste heat of adjoining building
After a year of occupancy, lighting systems not providing individual control as designed, energy consumption good but at 40 kBtu/sf/yr instead of 30, waste energy harvesting below design values, water systems still waiting approval
Energy modeling of buildings do not match actual energy performance and most of that is because of what the occupants do
Goal is best comfort at least energy
Getting to net zero requires long term relationships

Two Degrees:  Climate Change and the Built Environment
Fiona Cousins, Arup NYC

Two Degrees is also the title of her book co-authored with Alisdair McGregor and Cole Roberts 
Making a plan for climate change probably means you will make changes [planning for climate change is planning for emergency, disaster, and regenerative processes, integrated systems solutions]
Generally, half mitigation and half adaptation, with 450 ppm of CO2 or 2 degrees C hotter the scenario 
56.6% emissions CO2 from fossil fuel, 17.3% deforestation, 14.3% methane.  Half of all emissions from built environment.  "Energy reduction in existing buildings is really key" 85% of the buildings today will exist in 2050
CA's stronger energy codes have made a difference, they use about half the energy of the US average
Energy standard is now ASHRAE 90.1
Arup's objectives - operational carbon neutrality, self sufficient for water, ability to cope with future climate change, sustainable materials, benefit to the community....
Net zero definitions:  everything on building, on site, buy offsets
Reduce loads, passive systems, active systems, energy recovery, renewables generation, offsets
Where you put your building is probably the biggest energy effect due to transportation
As buildings become more energy efficient the amount of energy materials and construction become a higher percentage of overall energy
Net zero energy Yang and Yamazaki environment and energy building at Stanford ( - combined payback for measures was about 5 years - 80,000 sq ft
US Embassy, London ( - net zero planned, ground source heat pumps and chp plant (natural gas) - half a million sq ft [secure?]
Syracuse Center for Excellence - LEED platinum (
Yale Univ Kroon Hall, New Haven (
Franklin Transit Center in Greenfield, MA - net zero (
At community scale:  right building, right movement, renewable supply, offset, sequestration - try to have continuous loads
Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island in SF - mixed use development (
BedZed in Beddington, UK - housing development designed for net zero (
Smart grid can provide 15-25% energy reduction through well-designed feedback loops [local microgrids plus storage, seasonal, and annual]
Integrated resource management - energy, water and carbon [zero emissions all down the line]
Resilience - during which timeframe: before, during, after, and long after;  back to normal or back to a new normal?
Resilient design is redundant, safe failure, rapid rebound, constantly learning (adapting), and extra capacity (not always operating at full capacity) - redundant capacity safe failure rapid rebound constant learning cycle
Q: heat islands are already 2 degrees hotter, a test bed for climate change mitigation?
A:  yes and the UK already has guidelines for higher temperature design in built environment
Q:  transportation - connected buildings and walk ability - and internal loads?
A:  for data planning now at quarter watt/sq ft but not yet going into cloud.
Doing a full city account for Toronto around transportation
Q:  NYC 90 by 50 (90% reduction by 2050) ( and SF