An Eight-Step Simulation Based Framework to Help Cities Reach Building-Related Emissions Reduction Goals

Zachary Berzolla et al 2023 Environ. Res.: Infrastruct. Sustain. in press https://doi.org/10.1088/2634- 4505/ad025d

27 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2023 Last revised: 13 Oct 2023

See all articles by Zachary Berzolla

Zachary Berzolla

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Yu Qian Ang

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Samuel Letellier-Duchesne

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - School of Architecture and Planning

Christoph Reinhart

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - School of Architecture and Planning

Date Written: August 1, 2023

Abstract

With buildings accounting for 40% of global carbon emissions, cities strivingto meet sustainability targets aligned with the Paris Agreement must retrofit their existing building stock within 30 years. Previous studies have shown that urban building energy models (UBEMs) can help cities identify technology pathways — combinations of energy efficiency retrofits and renewable energy deployment strategies — to meet emissions reduction goals. UBEMs are currently limited by cost to only the largest cities but must be expanded to all cities if society is going to meet scientifically-identified emissions reduction goals. This manuscript presents an eight-step framework to scale technology pathways analyses using UBEMs to all communities in a repeatable, affordable manner. The roles and responsibilities of three key personas, the sustainability champion, GIS manager, and an energy modeler, for each step are identified. The eight-step process is tested with a case study of 13,100 buildings in Oshkosh, WI, USA. The case study identified a technically-feasible path to nearly net zero emissions for Oshkosh’s buildings. Constraints in the workforce, supply chain, and retrofit adoption to attain this goal were identified to inform policymakers. The case study suggests that the eight-step process is a blueprint for action in communities around the world.

Keywords: urban building energy modeling, emissions reduction goals, emissions reduction policy, climate targets

Suggested Citation

Berzolla, Zachary and Ang, Yu Qian and Letellier-Duchesne, Samuel and Reinhart, Christoph, An Eight-Step Simulation Based Framework to Help Cities Reach Building-Related Emissions Reduction Goals (August 1, 2023). Zachary Berzolla et al 2023 Environ. Res.: Infrastruct. Sustain. in press https://doi.org/10.1088/2634- 4505/ad025d, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4528659 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4528659

Zachary Berzolla (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Yu Qian Ang

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Samuel Letellier-Duchesne

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - School of Architecture and Planning ( email )

United States

Christoph Reinhart

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - School of Architecture and Planning ( email )

United States

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