Call for Energy Innovators Provides Exclusive Opportunity for Startups
Who will you meet?
Cities are innovating, companies are pivoting, and start-ups are growing. Like you, every urban practitioner has a remarkable story of insight and challenge from the past year.
Meet these peers and discuss the future of cities in the new Meeting of the Minds Executive Cohort Program. Replace boring virtual summits with facilitated, online, small-group discussions where you can make real connections with extraordinary, like-minded people.
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 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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
Why one city decays and another thrives can sometimes seem random. So, trying to foresee downrange why the future will happen in City A and not City B is hard. Moreover, to imagine that there is one formula that all 7.8 billion of us should adhere to, wherever it is we live, is clearly nonsensical.
In our work, we study, research, and rank places to determine what the best practices are to increase economic prosperity, social equity, and quality of life. Ultimately, the question we want to answer is: What is it that makes a city a place of the future? In our research, one thing has become clear to us: next-gen talent is the fuel for the future of place. And by extension, jobs of the future will happen in places of the future.
Digital twins and AI analysis would offer significant benefits to organizations across all sectors. By providing a comprehensive look at a geographical area and its infrastructure and assets, these technologies will enable smarter and more targeted field planning optimization. It could help digitize field surveys, offer new levels of remote engineering access, and enable contact tracing around COVID-19.
The focus will continue to shift away from the data itself and towards its relationships. The connections between data are where the most powerful insights lie. With enough data points, organizations can look to analytics to better understand the context and “see” the future.
AI at scale and emerging data technologies truly illustrate this connectivity and potential. Although it’s an emerging field, the benefits are limitless.
In my business, we’d rather not be right. What gets a climate change expert out of bed in the morning is the desire to provide decision-makers with the best available science, and at the end of the day we go to bed hoping things won’t actually get as bad as our science tells us. That’s true whether you’re a physical or a social scientist.
Well, I’m one of the latter and Meeting of the Minds thought it would be valuable to republish an article I penned in January 2020. In that ancient past, only the most studious of news observers had heard of a virus in Wuhan, China, that was causing a lethal disease. Two months later we were in lockdown, all over the world, and while things have improved a lot in the US since November 2020, in many cities and nations around the world this is not the case. India is living through a COVID nightmare of untold proportions as we speak, and many nations have gone through wave after wave of this pandemic. The end is not in sight. It is not over. Not by a longshot.
And while the pandemic is raging, sea level continues to rise, heatwaves are killing people in one hemisphere or the other, droughts have devastated farmers, floods sent people fleeing to disaster shelters that are not the save havens we once thought them to be, wildfires consumed forests and all too many homes, and emissions dipped temporarily only to shoot up again as we try to go “back to normal.”
So, I’ll say another one of those things I wish I’ll be wrong about, but probably won’t: there is no “back to normal.” Not with climate change in an interdependent world.