Bldg/Climate Solution: Train Uninformed Engineers/Engage Obstructionists by Net Zero Foundation+
Please find below the
The author is clearly passionate about this project and writes with conviction. It tackles some key barriers, and recognizes that finance and technology are now available for business models that are suitably framed. But the approaches proposed need firmer and more detailed design to be convincing. The judges would have benefited from additional background on some of the more technical aspects of the proposal.
The proposal seems to be significant and with interesting vision for the future. However, while for the importance of the institution the idea of using the buildings of MIT as case study is understandable, it is quite difficult that the same buildings could be seen as a “metaphor of all Buildings”, as defined in the proposal. Moreover, since you said it is an update of a previous proposal, you should have specified which kind of progresses has been reached this year and which is the newness of the proposal.
This proposal shows the strong technical and theoretical background of the author, yet it heavily relies on the proposal submitted in 2016: while this was very appropriate for the contest category (Building), the current proposal reads more like a criticism and a challenge directed to those, within MIT who would have the power to implement the transition towards NZE buildings. The proposal is not about policies or technologies and the initiative discussed just an attempt to implement the 2016 proposed plan. While it is true that the successful implementation of the proposed strategy for the MIT campus would set a very important reference for other tertiary institutions around the world, sustainability goals are already in the agenda of many of them, and NZE buildings are being realised from Singapore (National University of Singapore), to Melbourne (Monash University) and New York (Cornell University), to mention just a few.
The Judges felt the tone and approach of this proposal would need to be significantly subdued and revised in order to advance as a more effective and clearly articulated proposal.
Nov 6, 2017
Thank you for your feedback. We took your "tone" admonition to heart and completed a full re-work to hopefully be more door opening. These changes are throughout.
Regarding MIT being a "metaphor" for all buildings ... perhaps that was the wrong word. We changed this to "corollary" and explained why this is true -- MIT has all kinds of buildings and spaces, residential, food service, office, lab/light industrial, etc. which is exactly like any campus and virtually any cluster of buildings. The point is "diversity" as laid out in our 2016 proposal. We are trying not to re-hash that technical proposal here as this is about the non-technical failures occurring at many other places, including MIT, that are holding back rapid GHG elimination progress.
The plan is updated with the very important breakthrough of an eager financier now joining the effort. While the proposal uses MIT as its "Case Study" example, the point is to create a framework for rapid Climate Action for any cluster of buildings ... especially for campuses. Having this eager financier ready to fund significant Climate Action via Building Energy Systems is a major step for the movement, and a significant upgrade to our proposal. With regard to MIT itself, this probably only increases the pressure involved, but for other locations it may mean a new door opening for rapid advancement.
There are a few more things we tried to clarify in the proposal. Net Zero Energy Buildings are now, albeit slowly, occurring in many places. But, to achieve real Climate Action, we need 5% of all buildings to take this step each year. That is an extremely large leap from the NZE efforts now happening and at 5%/yr -- we wouldn't get to 5%/yr for another 2 decades at the pace now occurring. That will be too late for important 1.5C/2.0C Climate Action. The proposal is instead about how do we drive the immediate leap to 5%/yr without waiting for the "normal" pace of new technology advancement. It is in this matter of rapid change that we see an intrinsic requirement for being somewhat pushy as well, directly challenging Boards of non-profits everywhere to do the right thing when it is "free" -- this is a big deal that could make a real difference for Climate. We hope you see the validity of the approach and realize its potential power.
Further, you suggested "the current proposal reads more like a criticism and a challenge directed to those... who would have the power to implement the transition towards NZE buildings". This is not an idle aspect but a central theme. As said, we are past "pain before gain" and well into the "no pain" GHG elimination realm, yet decision makers are still not implementing these changes. We see this as a systemic failure in our administration systems and specifically cite that as part of how to breakthrough for rapid Climate Action. Please do not think this is aimed at MIT -- on the contrary, we fully understand the position of the MIT administration in this regard, and it is the same position of non-profit administrations in many places. This needs a solution lest the proposal is idle discussion and not something that can cause real change. We choose real change, even if we must identify rather challenging aspects of organizational operations that must receive a closer look and sometimes "criticism and challenge".
Nov 7, 2017
A Climate CoLab editor bug has kept us from inserting the 5 graphics that are supposed to be in our proposal. We have been working on this with the Lab's Staff for several days. Please hold off evaluating our proposal until the graphics are inserted. This was just one of the bugs we ran into, including others that likely caused typos in some proposals without the authors realizing they occurred.
We will be glad to provide you with copies of e-mails with Staff if you need them.