Author: Isaac Gendler

Air Recirculation

Air Recirculation

Air Recirculation

08/14/19

“How can we circulate air from the inside of an interior environment instead of the outside?”

Most HVAC systems rely on using external air as a supply. However, sometimes the ambient air is too polluted or hot for practical use. To work around this, we can use air from the interior environment as the feedstock. This Air Recirculation is very useful in Summer months when temperatures are much higher and air quality is much lower.

Why Energy Efficiency Needs to Be Redefined with Higher Renewables Penetration

Why Energy Efficiency Needs to Be Redefined with Higher Renewables Penetration

Why Energy Efficiency Needs to Be Redefined with Higher Renewables Penetration

08/13/19

“Why do we need to rethink energy efficiency in the presence of a high renewables grid?”

Energy efficiency is often touted as one of the most effective ways of lowering carbon output. However, if the energy provided comes from a low carbon source, then it would not make much sense to focus on reducing energy usage. Instead, energy efficiency programs must target cutting energy where supplies are pollutive, such as natural gas for stoves. This is Why Energy Efficiency Needs to Be Redefined with Higher Renewables Penetration. 

Mesh Vents

Mesh Vents

Mesh Vents

08/12/19

“How can we prevent harmful particles from getting into ventilation systems?”

Ventilation systems are vital for keeping indoor air quality inside the built environment to high quality levels. However, we also want to ensure that no harmful particles such as embers or pollutants can enter. This can be accomplished by installing Mesh Vents over ventilation chambers, which will trap and filter noxious air particles before entrance.

Image credit http://www.bestmaterials.com

How Building Ventilation Can Build Resilience to Air Pollution

How Building Ventilation Can Build Resilience to Air Pollution

How Building Ventilation Can Build Resilience to Air Pollution

08/11/19

“How can building ventilation increase resilience against air pollution?”

With the advent of increasing industrialization and wildfires, humanity is facing a much larger air pollution problem than ever before. To build resilience against this, building ventilation can be used to filter out harmful particles from the built environment. This is How Building Ventilation Can Build Resilience Air Pollution.

How Climate Change Will Lead to Water Crises

How Climate Change Will Lead to Water Crises

How Climate Change Will Lead to Water Crises

08/10/19

“How will there be more water crises because of Climate Change?”

With the advent of the changing climate, almost every environmental variable will be affected. In particular, areas which have dry climates will become dryer. This means less water will be produced, leading to shortages. Such shortages will cause haphazard issues for infrastructure systems designed for greater supplies of water, resulting in difficult tensions. An illustration of this can be found in Cape Town, South Africa, where a dry spell caused the municipality to enact draconian water supply restrictions. This is How Climate Change Will Lead to Water Crises.

Why We Can Learn From Cape Town in Solving Water Crises

Why We Can Learn From Cape Town in Solving Water Crises

Why We Can Learn From Cape Town in Solving Water Crises

08/09/19

“How did the city of Cape Town get itself out of a water crisis and how can other cities learn from it?”

At the beginning of 2018, the city of Cape Town was facing a devastating problem. Given the current supply of water and usage rates, the city was projected to run out of water within the year. Realizing the direness of the scenario, the city government issued a dire warning. If the water in the damns became too low, the municipality would shut off the taps on a day labeled “day zero”. To ensure citizens would cooperate, the city placed a 50 liter/day limit to water usage (for reference, the average daily per capita use in California was 321 liters), and anyone who went over would be heavily fined or even have their water shut down. Residents took heed, and began rationing water and using it as efficiently as possible. As a result, Cape Town was able to lower its water usage, achieve sustainability and avoid day zero. As droughts become a larger problem in the future with climate change, cities should learn from Cape Town in how to grapple with these problems.

Image credit https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/dc9d7d7eedd10162b4e756485bae9415d5da324f/0_120_4000_2400/master/4000.jpg?width=700&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=f5c18ca5f9d7c0f0d3ecb421f24d1136

Passive Safety Mechanisms

Passive Safety Mechanisms

Passive Safety Mechanisms

08/08/19

“How can we have safety mechanisms without having to use backup power?”

Numerous large-scale infrastructure projects such as nuclear power plants and factories have active safety mechanisms which use electrical power to partially restore service during a harmful event. However, in many scenarios infrastructure operators do not have the luxury of providing energy. This can be solved through Passive Safety Mechanisms which do not require any active energy input. An example of a passive safety mechanism is found in small modular nuclear reactors. These reactors are held up by an electromagnetic force with a pool of water underneath, and when power is cut the unit simply falls into the water to be cooled and prevent nuclear catastrophe. 

Image credit https://arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-pmn.s3.amazonaws.com