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Sustainable and Resilient

08/15/2022

The objective of this challenge is to develop novel technical solutions to improve the resilience and sustainability of the built environment and identify ways for each proposed solution to enable underserved communities to adapt, persist, and recover from extreme weather and persistent stress, such as those caused by climate change1.

Background

Source: iStock

People around the world are experiencing an increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events1 and persistent stresses on the environment, society, and economy 2. Extreme weather events are not always singular or isolated; they can occur in complex combinations and/or rapid succession 3. Depending on the exposure (i.e., presence of people, livelihoods, assets, buildings, services, infrastructure, etc.) and vulnerability of the affected region and communities, an extreme weather event may become a disaster; damage the natural and built environment and infrastructure; and pose a threat to public health, safety, and well-being4. The impact of extreme weather and persistent stress is significantly greater on underserved, marginalized, and vulnerable communities, which often lack the resources and capacity to recover5. Climate change will increase the number of extreme weather events6. There is an urgent need to design more resilient and sustainable buildings and infrastructure that mitigate the impact of extreme weather events, especially in disadvantaged communities7.

The core idea of sustainability is to reduce negative impacts on the environment. Sustainability focuses on improving quality of life through practices that minimize damage to the environment8. Resilience relates to adaptation to change and focuses on disaster preparedness, mitigation, and recovery9Resilience is typically viewed as the response to low-probability, high-impact events, whereas sustainability is the response to high-probability events for which the impacts are spread out over the infrastructure life cycle10. A resilient and sustainable design focuses on the response of systems to both extreme weather and persistent stress utilizing sustainable design principles.

Building-scale strategies for improving resilience can address one or more aspects of building structure, enclosure, systems, operations, and building use11. Community-level strategies for improving resilience of building stock and infrastructure may require a multipronged approach, including mandatory upgrades, incentive programs, funding mechanisms, and education/outreach programs12.

Many emerging technologies focus on improving the resilience of the U.S. building infrastructure and electricity grid. For example, smart grid technologies use communication and information technology to collect information on the behavior of customers and automatically improve efficiency and reliability in distributing electricity13. Microgrids14 with distributed energy resources15 include small-scale units of power generation that operate locally and can be connected to a larger power grid at the distribution level, thereby improving the quality and reliability of service16. Grid-interactive efficient buildings use an optimized blend of energy efficiency, energy storage, renewable energy, and load flexibility technologies enabled through smart controls17.

It is important to recognize the potential opportunities and challenges in integrating resilience and sustainability goals. In most cases, resilience and sustainability objectives complement each other. For example, systems that are more resilient can better achieve and maintain sustainable operation. Systems that are more sustainable lose less critical functionality and recover more quickly in response to economic, environmental, and social disturbances. However, resilience and sustainability objectives can also compete with each other. For example, oversizing a system for extreme weather conditions may result in non-optimal system performance. Resilience strategies focused on rapid recovery may not achieve long-term sustainability10,18. Therefore, balanced solutions are needed to optimize both resilience and sustainability.

The Challenge

Addressing this challenge requires understanding the vulnerability that various communities face from extreme weather and persistent stressors and then addressing that vulnerability by comprehensively considering equity, resilience, and sustainability. Students may consider strategies for improving resilience and sustainability of buildings and infrastructure at the building or community scale for new construction, existing buildings, or communities. The solutions must have resilience as the primary objective with sustainability as a component of resilience and must justify trade-offs considered for reconciling any divergent goals of resilience and sustainability.

Suggestions for student teams include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Develop innovative design and construction solutions for improving the resilience of buildings
  • Develop smart controls for improving the resilience of building infrastructure and the electricity grid
  • Develop integrated technical and planning solutions for improving community resilience.

Student submissions should: 

  • Describe the scope and context of the problem based on a current or emergent problem(s) in the United States
  • Identify affected communities, making sure to include underserved, marginalized, and/or vulnerable communities
  • Develop a novel technical solution to address the problem at a clearly defined building or community scale; the solution must include technical and nontechnical aspects such as policy or economic solutions and may focus on new or existing buildings or planned or existing communities
  • Discuss how issues of equity are incorporated into strategies to improve resilience and sustainability
  • Discuss appropriate and expected impacts (including any unintended consequences) and benefits of the proposed solution; these may include quantifiable and nonquantifiable benefits19 such as health and safety of the affected population, size of the community affected, number of households relocated, avoided cost of losses, loss of businesses, and loss of lives
  • Develop a plan that describes how the team envisions bringing its idea from concept to implementation, such as a technology-to-market plan for a commercially viable, market-ready product for real buildings and communities, and/or integration into the planning and design process.

Downloadable Challenge Description

Additional Challenge Resources

Submission Template

Requirements

Competing in this challenge is open to student teams currently enrolled in U.S. universities and colleges. See the Terms and Conditions and Rules document for eligibility requirements and rules. Please note that you must begin your Building Technologies Internship Program (BTIP) application before or at the same time as you submit your idea in order to compete in the JUMP competition.

Please submit the following as a single-spaced PDF document that is a written narrative of the team’s proposed solution. PowerPoints or submissions in presentation format do not meet the requirement. 

  • Project Team Background (up to 2 pages, single-spaced)
    • Form a team of 2‒4 students. These students represent the project team and will all consult on the problem.
    • The Project Team Background should include:
      • Project name, team name, and collegiate institution(s)
      • Team mission statement
      • A short biography for each team member; this should include information such as major, level (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, graduate), and other relevant background information such as experience with building science, future career goals, and formative experiences that shaped each individual’s contribution to the Challenge.
      • Diversity statement (minimum 1 paragraph, 5‒7 sentences): One of JUMP into STEM’s key objectives is to encourage diversity of thought and background in students entering the building science industry. There is a diversity gap in STEM, meaning that certain groups are underrepresented or have been historically excluded from STEM fields. These groups include, but are not limited to, those based on race, ethnicity, and gender—and this gap needs to be addressed. Diversity of thought can be achieved through teams consisting of students from different majors and minors. If there are barriers that affect the racial, ethnic, and/or gender breakdown of your team, please elaborate. As part of the next generation of building science thought leaders and researchers, you have a unique opportunity to influence this industry. The diversity statement is your opportunity to describe your team’s diversity of background and thought, both generally and as applicable to your chosen Challenge.
    • The Project Team Background does not count toward the 5-page Project Challenge Submission.
  • Project Challenge Submission (up to 5 pages, single-spaced)
    • Select 1 of the 3 Challenges to address.
    • Investigate the background of the Challenge and consider related stakeholders. Stakeholders are those who are affected by the problem, a part of the supply chain, or manufacturing of the technology product(s), as well as those who may have decision-making power and are able to provide solutions (technical or nontechnical solutions, such as policies). For example, you could include stakeholders who have previously experienced environmental pollution or a high energy burden. Refer to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Justice and Environmental Justice
    • Write a 1- to 2-paragraph problem statement, focusing on a specific aspect of the problem and the stakeholder groups affected by or involved in the problem. The stakeholder groups can be from a specific location, socioeconomic status, age, or demographic (e.g., people living in subsidized housing). The problem statement should clearly identify the injustices (energy or environmental) that the stakeholder group experiences. Students should consider social implications related to the identified injustices.
    • Develop and describe a novel solution that addresses or solves the specific problem from your problem statement. The solution must be technical and also include one or more of the following components, as appropriate: economic, policy, commercialization, codes and standards, and/or other.
    • Address the requirements for your selected Challenge as written in the Challenge description. Include graphs, figures, and photos. Discuss the feasibility of your solution and how it will impact your stakeholders, especially those who have experienced the injustices that you described in your problem statement.
    • Develop a technology-to-market plan. A technology-to-market plan describes how the team envisions bringing its idea from concept to installation on real buildings, or integrated into the design of real buildings, and includes a cost/benefit analysis.
      • The cost/benefit analysis does not need to be exhaustive and should include comparing the solution to current or existing technologies or practices. Benefits, such as building energy reductions and improved occupant health or productivity, should be evaluated.
      • The plan should also discuss which key stakeholder(s) should be involved to commercialize the technology and then sell and install the technologies with your target market(s).
    • Perform a market adoption barrier The team should identify at least one key market adoption barrier for implementation and specifically address how the proposed solution will overcome that barrier.
      • Barriers should align with key stakeholder(s) identified by the student team.
    • Include references. References will not count toward the 5-page maximum.
  • Appendix (optional, no page limit)
    • Teams may wish to add an appendix. This is optional and might not be reviewed by the judges.
    • The appendix has no page limit.

Evaluation Criteria

Solution (40%)

  • Solution: Please rate the solution and its ability to address the problem statement. The solution must be a technical solution and include one or more of the following components, as appropriate: economic, policy, commercialization, codes and standards, or other. How well does the proposed solution address the problem and stakeholder needs?
  • Feasibility: Please rate the solution’s overall feasibility and potential, including its viability. For example, solutions that are not technically possible or that lack a technical feasibility discussion will receive lower scores. 
  • Novelty: Please rate the originality and creativity of the solution and how significant the contribution will be to the building industry. 
  • Impact: Please rate the overall potential impact of the team’s solution. For example, can the solution be extended to communities, similar stakeholder groups, or a nationwide solution? 

Market Readiness (30%)

  • Market Characterization: Please rate the team’s understanding of the market and the stakeholder group(s) identified by the problem statement. 
  • Technology-to-Market: Please rate the team’s proposed plan to bring the solution from a paper concept to installation or integration with real buildings or building designs, and the team’s cost/benefit analysis. 
  • Overcoming Adoption Barriers: Please rate the team’s identification of and plan for overcoming adoption barriers for proposed solution. This includes how the solution will create value, both economic and other, to drive industry adoption. 

Diversity and Justice (20%)

  • Diversity Statement and Project Team Background: Please rate how well the team addresses the diversity gap in the building science industry in its diversity statement. This includes how the team brings perspectives from a variety of backgrounds, including students from groups that are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This also includes students from many different disciplines—ensuring diversity of thought. See the diversity statement in the Challenge requirements. This also includes how well the teams connect their mission statement and biographies to their problem statement. 
  • Environmental and Energy Justice: Please rate how well the proposed solution addresses environmental and energy justice. 

Submission (10%)

  • Submission Requirements: Please rate how well the student team followed all submission requirements. See the submission paper requirements section of this rules document and at the bottom of each Challenge description. 

How to Create a Successful Submission

Citations

  1.  Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. 2022. “Extreme Weather and Climate Change.” https://www.c2es.org/content/extreme-weather-and-climate-change/
  2.  Carleton, T. A., and Hsiang, S. M. 2016. “Social and economic impacts of climate.” Science 353(6304).  https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.aad9837
  3.  European Environment Agency. 2003. Mapping the impacts of recent natural disasters and technological accidents in Europe. Environmental Issue Report No. 35/2003. https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/environmental_issue_report_2004_35/download
  4.  O’Brien, K., et al. 2012. “Toward a sustainable and resilient future.” In: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (Field, C. B., et al. [eds.]). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY, USA, 437–486. https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/03/SREX-Chap8_FINAL-1.pdf
  5.  United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. 2016. Poverty and Death: Disaster and Mortality, 1996–2015. https://www.preventionweb.net/files/50589_creddisastermortalityallfinalpdf.pdf
  6.  Harvey, C. 2018. “Extreme Weather Will Occur More Frequently Worldwide.” Scientific American. February 15, 2018. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/extreme-weather-will-occur-more-frequently-worldwide/
  7.  Achour, N., Pantzartzis, E., Pascale, F., and Price, A. D. F. 2015. “Integration of resilience and sustainability: from theory to application.” International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment 6(3), 347–362. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJDRBE-05-2013-0016
  8.  Collier, Z. A., Wang, D., Vogel, J. T., Tatham, E. K., and Linkov, I. 2013. “Sustainable roofing technology under multiple constraints: a decision-analytical approach.” Environment Systems and Decisions 33, 261–271. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10669-013-9446-5
  9.  Lizarralde, G., Chmutina, K., Bosher, L., and Dainty, A. 2015. “Sustainability and resilience in the built environment: The challenges of establishing a turquoise agenda in the UK.” Sustainable Cities and Society 15, 96–104. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scs.2014.12.004
  10.  Marchese, D., Reynolds, E., Bates, M. E., Morgan, H., Clark, S. S., and Linkov, I. 2018. “Resilience and sustainability: Similarities and differences in environmental management applications.” Science of the Total Environment 613–614, 1275–1283. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.09.086
  11.  Alfraidi, Y., and Boussabaine, A. H. 2015. “Design Resilient Building Strategies in Face of Climate Change.” World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, International Journal of Architectural and Environmental Engineering 9(1), 23–28. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1338054
  12.  Boston Green Ribbon Commission Climate Preparedness Working Group. 2013. Building Resilience in Boston: Best Practices for Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience for Existing Buildings. https://www.cityofboston.gov/images_documents/Building_Resilience_in_Boston_FINAL_tcm3-40185.pdf
  13.  US Department of Energy. 2021. “The Smart Grid: An Introduction.” https://www.energy.gov/oe/downloads/smart-grid-introduction-0
  14.  US Department of Energy. 2014. “How Microgrids Work.” https://www.energy.gov/articles/how-microgrids-work
  15.  US Department of Energy. 2021. “Distributed Energy Resources for Resilience.” https://www.energy.gov/eere/femp/distributed-energy-resources-resilience
  16.  US Department of Energy. 2021. “Solar Integration: Distributed Energy Resources and Microgrids.” https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/solar-integration-distributed-energy-resources-and-microgrids
  17.  Rocky Mountain Institute. 2021. “Grid-Interactive Energy-Efficient Buildings (GEBS).” https://rmi.org/our-work/buildings/pathways-to-zero/grid-integrated-energy-efficient-buildings/
  18.  Phillips, R., Troup, L., Fannon, D., Eckelman, M. J. 2017. “Do resilient and sustainable design strategies conflict in commercial buildings? A critical analysis of existing resilient building frameworks and their sustainability implications.” Energy and Buildings, 146 (2017), 295–311. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENBUILD.2017.04.009.
  19.  Whole Building Design Guide. 2020. “Consider Non-Quantifiable Benefits.” https://www.wbdg.org/design-objectives/cost-effective/consider-non-monetary-benefits

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