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Fellow Spotlight: Constructing Climate Change Solutions through Buildings


This week, we caught up with Ajith Rao, a Fellow on the Buildings Contest. Ajith’s motivation is rooted in the building industry’s great potential to take high-impact measures on the efficiency front.

A significant project that Ajith is involved in outside of Climate CoLab is examining the energy-water nexus and its impacts on the electric power sector in major regions of the world.  Ajith sees this topic to be an important global issue that deserves a more serious look, and his work in this field will be spun off into a report and a book chapter that will be released during Stockholm World Water Week, August 31st – September 5th, 2014.

We are excited to have Ajith as a Fellow, and here’s what he shared with us about his involvement in Climate CoLab’s Buildings contest:

2014 Fellow Ajith (AJ) Rao

My research background and professional work has largely been focused on the building sector, and it is an area that I am passionate about. Buildings account for around 32% of global energy use, and improving their efficiency offers huge potential for GHG mitigation. But the challenges in this sector are many, including the construction industry being generally slow to change, and financing availability and the relative intangibility of energy efficiency measures being key hurdles that need to be overcome. At the same time, there have been a number of positive developments in the past few years, with energy codes getting tighter, voluntary standards such as LEED and Energy Star gaining increased traction in the marketplace, numerous cities mandating building energy disclosures, etc. These developments are helping improve the energy efficiency profile of the existing and new building stock, but much remains to be done.

Efforts in the building efficiency arena hold significant opportunities for mitigating climate change, and I do hope that this contest area will attract brilliant minds from around the world to propose and develop sorely needed innovative solutions that can help revolutionize efforts in this area. I enjoy the opportunity to meet and talk to some very smart folks who are working on different aspects of the building energy use puzzle, and in the process develop my knowledge in this area as well.

There is a lot of potential for developing creative solutions that address the challenges faced in this sector, which is where I hope the Climate CoLab Buildings contest will make a difference!

Check out the Buildings contest here:

And check out other Spotlights of the Climate CoLab winners, Fellows and Advisors here: