Zero Emissions Questions

Questions I’m asking to fill holes in my knowledge.

Initiatives | Services | Sustainability | Tech | Useful
  1. I'm new to understanding power generation and how to translate fuel types into carbon loads.  kWh works for electricity tracking. Tie it back to power generation to determine carbon load. But what about natural gas and oil? Aren't those served in btus and gallons? How do we consistently calculate the carbon load if the units of measure are distinct?
  2.  Anybody up for creating a feedback mechanism?  Like a big display: two dials: stationary generation and consumption. Generation: What's total generation today? 4Gw - DOE has the data.  Whats the breakdown of fuel type, by region, today?  Consumption: what's today's use divided by total square footage? What's breakdown of building types, sizes and age? DOE has a sampling of 8M commercial buildings.Who's up for some coding and UI?
  3. Reduction Techniques - Wood frame retrofit techniques: what are the issues with the builders? How hard is it really compared to other construction issues such as proper nailing and bracing?Dive into Passive House. After attending their 2016 conference in NYC, I can categorically say that builders can learn these techniques in short order.  The hardest part is upping their game on basic QC and adding two new paradigms: eliminating thermal bridges and swapping heat & energy recovery ventilation for traditional heating and cooling units.Designers, on the other hand, will need serious help.  Professional engineers will no doubt handle these issues quickly and gracefully.  However, architects must up their thermal envelope game and attendant quality assurance services with owners.  Plus, they have to be ready to qualify the risks and payoffs. It helps if owners are keen to ask for these results in the first place.
  4. Reduction Techniques - Small Commercial Retrofit:  for buildings under 10k SF, two questions: 1) how to retrofit? 2) How to pay for it?
  5. What's so magical about 3kwh/SF - besides it being 1/6-ish of 17? How do we know we are at 17 now? Find the citation and work the logic.
  6. What is the impact on utility economic models if energy demand goes to, say, 50% of current levels? Isn’t there a built-in incentive to keep buildings inefficient, or efficient enough to say, mitigate summertime brownouts? How are utility capital assets serviced (generation, transmission, distribution) if rate payers need a lot less energy? Do buildings consuming 80% less electricity represent an existential threat?
  7. What do the roadmaps for utilities, architecture, engineering, manufacturing, construction, facility ownership, maintenance management look like in a zero emissions world? How, specifically, do stakeholders operate profitably in a zero emissions world and how, and when, do they get there? This is Paris Phase II.
  8. If governments and industry are only as responsive as the demands of their audiences, what incentives do industry and governments have to go zero emissions if their clients aren’t clamoring for it? Given a choice, is government money better spent on education about carbon fuel impacts and the alternatives (see Cultural Creatives authors' findings on impact of recycling public relations campaigns), or on incentives for projects and subsidies for chosen horses?
  9. As an architect with significant leverage in this situation, what’s my incentive, as in practical market advantage, to upping my game and committing my client to zero emissions buildings? Is the market demand sufficient that my studio will never be without work because I can now claim a zero emissions portfolio? Or is the facilities improvement and construction market more concerned with other prerogatives? And if the guys with the real technical leverage in this situation, the mechanical engineers, are paying attention to their clients - the architects - and I as an architect don't know which master to serve, how will my mechanical engineer respond?
  10. What's the emotional impact of pursuing these programs?  What is the catalog of positive impulses and attendant pain points?
Why is this public? Am I not risking my reputation as a registered professional by revealing these gaps in my knowledge?  Not even close.  I don't know how we are going to get any of this done if we can't integrate it into our daily worklife.   Everybody!  Ask questions!