Call for Energy Innovators Provides Exclusive Opportunity for Startups

By Rafael Reyes

Rafael Reyes is VP of Community Initiatives for Prospect Silicon Valley (ProspectSV), an urbantech innovation hub working with innovators across sectors to advance solutions for sustainable, smart cities.

With the recent signing of SB 32 by the California Governor Jerry Brown, the State will be maintaining its aggressive emission reduction goals and taking it even further to achieve an additional 40 percent cut in emissions by 2030. This further strengthened effort to reduce emissions will mean that all industries, from transportation to manufacturing and construction, will need to take new measures and innovate across sectors.

One of the biggest culprits of greenhouse gas emissions are buildings. In this context, ProspectSV has taken on a couple of ambitious projects in San Francisco. With two, $3M grants from the California Energy Commission, we are working with an impressive set of partners to upgrade a Whole Foods Market and a historic, mixed-use building to Zero Net Energy (ZNE). ZNE design means that the building will utilize no more energy than it can produce onsite over the course of a calendar year resulting in no energy utility costs and will emit no greenhouse gasses through energy use.

The Projects

marketzeroThe MarketZero project will convert a Whole Foods Market to ZNE (or near-ZNE) and showcase advanced strategies in energy efficiency. The project will include pre-commercial technologies and will serve as a case study for grocery stores throughout California. The ZNE benefits for the store range from lower operating costs to greater reliability and energy security. The Whole Foods Market that will receive the upgrade is located at 3950 24th street in San Francisco.

Project partners include: Whole Foods Market, Arup, SF Department of Environment and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

innovatenetzeroThe InnovateNetZero project will retrofit a historic building in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, which houses ninety-one, low-income residents and is owned and operated by the Chinatown Community Development Center. The project will apply the same cost cutting strategies that high-end commercial buildings use, while at the same time passing those savings to the nonprofit that runs this housing facility. The project will also provide triple bottom line benefits with social, economic and environmental value and serve as a model for buildings nationally.

Project partners include Chinatown Community Development Center, RMW architecture & interiors, Integral Group, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the San Francisco 2030 District.

Benefits

These projects will demonstrate the methods and market viability of California’s aggressive ZNE building goals – 50% of existing buildings by 2030. In both of these projects, we are targeting building types that are especially challenging to upgrade to ZNE and typically have not been targeted by the ZNE design community. There will also be benefits to economy as we are seeking to be a model for future projects in these sectors, and are specifically looking for solutions that will work at scale for future multi-unit retrofits or other grocery stores. There are also benefits to startups – more about that below.

Tech Discovery

So what’s ProspectSV’s role in all this? As a nonprofit urbantech innovation hub working to advance solutions for sustainable, smart cities, we work with startups, government, corporations and academia to accelerate innovations in transportation, energy and the built environment. These projects bring all of these partners together in an effort to achieve ZNE and transform an industry.

For startup companies, this is an incredibly unique opportunity, not only is this a highly-visible project, but new technologies submitted will have an opportunity to gain multi-stakeholder feedback from our teams of designers, engineers and building operators. Recommended teams may be selected for access to the ProspectSV network and ProspectSV commercialization support program as well.

Interested startup applicants should respond to the Request for Information (RFI). Deadline for submission is September 30, 2016.

Discussion

Leave your comment below, or reply to others.

Please note that this comment section is for thoughtful, on-topic discussions. Admin approval is required for all comments. Your comment may be edited if it contains grammatical errors. Low effort, self-promotional, or impolite comments will be deleted.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more from MeetingoftheMinds.org

Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology

COVID-19 is Creating the Largest Ever Telecommunity, But Not for Everyone

COVID-19 is Creating the Largest Ever Telecommunity, But Not for Everyone

Social distancing is becoming the new normal, at least for those of us who are heeding the Center for Disease Control’s warnings and guidelines. But if you don’t have reliable, high-speed broadband, it is impossible to engage in what is now the world’s largest telecommunity. As many schools and universities around the world (including those of my kids) are shut down, these institutions are optimistically converting to online and digital learning. However, with our current broadband layout, this movement will certainly leave many Americans behind.

How to Move More People with Fewer Vehicles

How to Move More People with Fewer Vehicles

Accenture analysts recently released a report calling for cities to take the lead in creating coordinated, “orchestrated” mobility ecosystems. Limiting shared services to routes that connect people with mass transit would be one way to deploy human-driven services now and to prepare for driverless service in the future. Services and schedules can be linked at the backend, and operators can, for example, automatically send more shared vehicles to a train station when the train has more passengers than usual, or tell the shared vehicles to wait for a train that is running late.

Managing urban congestion and mobility comes down to the matter of managing space. Cities are characterized by defined and restricted residential, commercial, and transportation spaces. Private autos are the most inefficient use of transportation space, and mass transit represents the most efficient use of transportation space. Getting more people out of private cars, and into shared feeder routes to and from mass transit modes is the most promising way to reduce auto traffic. Computer models show that it can be done, and we don’t need autonomous vehicles to realize the benefits of shared mobility.

Planning for Arts and Culture in San Diego

Planning for Arts and Culture in San Diego

The role of government, and the planning community, is perhaps to facilitate these kinds of partnerships and make it easier for serendipity to occur. While many cities mandate a portion of the development budget toward art, this will not necessarily result in an ongoing benefit to the arts community as in most cases the budget is used for public art projects versus creating opportunities for cultural programming.  

Rather than relying solely on this mandate, planners might want to consider educating developers with examples and case studies about the myriad ways that artists can participate in the development process. Likewise, outreach and education for the arts community about what role they can play in projects may stimulate a dialogue that can yield great results. In this sense, the planning community can be an invaluable translator in helping all parties to discover a richer, more inspiring, common language.

Share This