Growing Energy / Water: Using the Grid to Get off the Grid

Jan 31, 2011

The Growing Energy/Water research project is an effort to develop a tool that makes it simpler for individuals and local governments to work together to reduce environmental impacts associated with energy and water consumption. To this end, the Growing Energy/Water team created a web tool named NeighborSHED, which is a free online web resource to quantify, track, compare and understand the total amount of energy and water needed to support all of the facets of an individual’s (and neighborhood’s) lifestyle. The objective of the NeighborSHED tool is to help individuals and local governments better understand ways to save energy and water, discover steps needed to help solve climate change, report progress on actions taken, save money, and improve our overall health by conserving valuable natural resources.

The Growing Energy/Water Team has built a metrically-based predictive model to give individuals, policy and decision makers, and the professional design community the validated information they require to transform the public-way infrastructural grid from a thin grey surface into a thick three-dimensional green-blue architectural matrix. The goal of the research is to change the ways the public-way urban grid is conceptualized and constructed in order to ultimately (1) reduce our reliance on nonrenewable, non-local energy, (2) sustain water resources, and (3) contribute to our overall health, financial sustainability and quality of life in cities.

[2009 Latrobe Prize; AIA College of Fellows (COF)]

Martin Felsen, AIA (UrbanLab, IIT, Archeworks)
Sarah Dunn (UrbanLab, UIC, Archeworks)
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
The American Institute of Architects

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