Dec 17, 2014
Hi Quinton: Thank you for another great proposal. Keep them coming! - Jen
Feb 18, 2015
Congratulations on making it to the Semi-Finals for the Urban Heat Island Effect contest. Please take into consideration the comments left by the judges and do please incorporate that feedback into your final proposal. We look forward to seeing your ideas finalized in the next iteration!
Feb 18, 2015
Dear Quinton: The CoLab had a typo in their previous message to you. The proposal revision period closes on March 1st, NOT the 31st. Below are your proposal's comments from the judging team. Thank you for participating! Judge 1: Using solar as a source of renewables is a fantastic idea, and we could all be doing more to promote solar as a viable alternative. The direct connection to urban heat island reduction locally, however, is less clear to me. Can you clarify a few things? 1. Solar on rooftops has a direct and clear connection to reducing building temperatures, but bikeways, etc. less so. Can you explain? 2. You list a LOT of good options of varying complexity, and then refer later to 'low-hanging fruit.' Can you be a bit more specific as to which things seem to be low-hanging fruit and which seem to be more complex or politically tricky? 3. You reference requiring solar or solar-ready roofs on all new construction - do you anticipate that Cambridge has the political will to amend its building or zoning codes to require that at this time? If not, is there perhaps a subset of new construction that might be a good place to start (buildings over a certain size, etc.)? Also, how much new construction happens in Cambridge, which is already pretty densely developed? Thanks for the clarifications! I look forward to seeing more. Judge 2: This proposal is well-written and you do a nice job of describing how photovoltaics and solar thermal heating can provide co-benefits for urban heat island impacts. It's not clear to me that these co-benefits are sufficient to go with these primarily mitigation efforts, though, because from what I understand UHI impacts are more heavily influenced by issues such as evapotranspiration, thermal mass, and albedo than from the kinds of waste heat effects you describe. That said, there is great benefit in getting people to understand and think about UHI reduction aspects of solar because it's so hard to get people to take the step to go solar based upon CO2 mitigation or economic arguments alone, and the proposal does a good job of describing that this can be an attractive hook. Further, the argument for solar as a resilient power source during heat waves and power drains is a good one and I'd like to see additional description of this if the proposal reaches the next phase, because it's an important thing to think about and a nice frame for these considerations.
Feb 27, 2015
Response to Judge 1: According to this simulation of solar in Paris, the cooling effect of solar panels at night could be as high as 0.3 degrees Celsius: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fenvs.2014.00014/full While this may seem small, the UHI impact can be quite large, as stated in the paper: "For example, while 17% of the total population is affected by heat stress for more than half a day (12 h) in the present city, the implementation of solar panels would reduce this number to 13%. While this difference seems small, it still represents a large number of people." Also, night-time cooling reduces the need for further air-condition at night, thus further reducing both energy consumption and waste-heat production from air condition, which itself can be as high as 1 degrees Celsius: https://asunews.asu.edu/20140514-ac-nighttime-temps These cooling effects should apply for roadways and bikeways just like cities because they represent an alternative use of the solar energy input: instead of retaining or reflecting the heat energy, some of it is converted into useful energy instead (electricity or hot water). Rooftop solar and solar canopies for parking lots are easy low hanging fruit. Solar road and bikeways are more speculative and await broader market adoption and regulation. Current estimates are that new construction (and major renovation) represents about 1% of the built environment in terms of square feet in Cambridge. That is pretty significant. The Cambridge Getting to Net Zero Task Force is about to issue recommendations that, if implemented, would institute a "solar ready" requirement in Cambridge and down the road a "solar requirement". Cambridge itself is heavily using solar PV in its construction of the King School and will presumably do so with the King Open School renovation (different school that also happens to have "King" in the name). Net Zero Task Force: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cambridgema.gov%2FCDD%2FProjects%2FClimate%2Fnetzerotaskforce.aspx&ei=ws7wVMPELsWeggTfkoT4CQ&usg=AFQjCNHwNp6HkqWsRxorxnkxHwJt2_BYug&sig2=LI3W9emd9u4y3wsiFmVefA&bvm=bv.87269000,d.eXY King School construction: https://www.cambridgema.gov/theworks/greenliving/municipalenergyuse/energyprogramsandprojects.aspx
Feb 27, 2015
Response to Judge 2: I've added a paragraph to the "who would take these actions" section on the importance of city promotion of solar. Basically a lot of people are not aware of the rapidly falling costs of solar and the great benefits that solar offers all of us as a community. Solar installers are generating enough inbound business that they are not especially motivated to promote solar heavily through expensive marketing (and sending people door to door is expensive). Some non-profits are negotiating discounts with solar installers and then doing door to door marketing with those discounts as an extra incentive. But it is difficult to scale such efforts for non-profits and volunteers. A professional boost from the city could help significantly in broadening the understanding of solar technology and benefits.
Feb 27, 2015
Quinton, You might wish to squeeze in the following MIT generated 'Mapdwell Solar' tool. It's seems to be a perfect support tool for building owners evaluation of the investment risk. http://www.mapdwell.com/en/cambridge
Laur Hesse Fisher
Mar 4, 2015
Dear proposal authors: The Finalist selection phase has been extended so Judges could finalize their comments. The Fellow team will be in touch with more details as they arise. Thank you for your patience and understanding. ~~ Laur Climate CoLab Project Manager
Mar 6, 2015
Dear Quinton: Thank you again for submitting your proposal. While we love the idea of plastering roof surfaces with solar, we have decided not to bring this proposal through to the finals, as it does not directly affect UHI. Thank you again and have a great day. Sincerely, Jen