Research Portal

November 6, 2023

Population Health Initiative awards 2 Climate Change Pilot Grants to CBE Researchers

Population Health Initiative awarded a Climate Change Pilot Grant to two teams that includes CBE researchers. Projects will begin January 2024, and were awarded $50,000. Read the full story here.

Project title: “Sustainable metamaterials for insulation applications.” 

Project team:

Eleftheria Roumeli, Materials Science & Engineering

Tomás Méndez Echenagucia, Architecture

Project abstract:

Amidst an urgent global shift towards a circular economy, the demand for sustainable materials has reached a critical juncture. This transformation requires materials sourced from renewable sources, processed via green chemistry methods, and culminating in benign end-of-life cycles. At this juncture, the fusion of metamaterials and sustainable engineering materials emerges as a pivotal endeavor.

Metamaterials, known for enabling exceptional control over wave propagation and mechanical properties, hold the promise of engineering materials with unprecedented utility. The primary objective of this project is to conduct preliminary experiments in fabricating sustainable biomaterial modular blocks and assembling them in a metamaterial composite design that will be targeting sound insulation applications. This proposal seeks to synergize advances in wave propagation control through metamaterial design with the potential of modular biomatter-based material blocks.

Our proposal transcends the capabilities of its individual components, offering a groundbreaking solution poised to revolutionize insulation technologies. This collaborative endeavor not only unites diverse expertise but also melds a spectrum of ideas and perspectives from the principal investigators, heralding a transformative stride towards a sustainable, circular future.

Project title: “DecarbCityTwin: A Platform for Equitable Decarbonization of the Built Environment.” 

Project team:

Narjes Abbasabadi (Architecture)

Christopher Meek (Architecture)

Kate Simonen (Architecture)

Carrie Sturts Dossick (Construction Management)

Daniel Kirschen (Electrical & Computer Engineering)

Mehdi Ashayeri (Southern Illinois University)

Lylianna Allala (City of Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and Environment)

Ani Krishnan (City of Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and Environment)

Project abstract:

The urgent goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 necessitates global efforts to curtail carbon emissions from buildings, with a critical emphasis on equitable decarbonization to mitigate the disproportionate burdens faced by marginalized communities, including energy inefficiency, elevated energy costs, air pollution exposure, and related health impacts. Yet, existing research in this domain lacks a holistic systems approach, detailed spatiotemporal data for understanding air pollution exposure, especially in vulnerable communities, and a unified, accessible platform for assessing energy reduction scenarios that account for health risks and the entire lifecycle.

The main objective of this project is to develop the DecarbCityTwin, a digital twin designed to facilitate decarbonization by addressing interconnected challenges related to energy, health, and equity within the built environment. This platform will employ physics-based and data-driven modeling techniques, leveraging sensing technology, machine learning, and automation to monitor, simulate, and analyze “what-if” scenarios, while also addressing issues related to data availability, computational accuracy, efficiency, as well as ensuring privacy and cybersecurity in data collection and analysis. This research enables informed design and retrofit interventions and policy strategies.

With a pilot launch in Seattle to support local just transition initiatives, such as Seattle’s Green New Deal and Washington’s 2021 Climate Commitment Act, and alignment with the Justice40 federal initiative, the platform’s scalability holds the potential for adoption in other cities and communities, yielding lasting environmental, social, and economic benefits.