Buildings & Energy: Rising to the decarbonization challenge

IES Workshop | Washington, DC | Friday, April 28, 2023

Call for Participation

The present and future of renewable energy are creating new potentials for buildings. Opportunities to reduce energy use and carbon emissions often bump up against an inconvenient fact: electric energy must be used the moment it is produced. Storage can be costly and difficult to scale. Buildings offer a practical way to manage the mismatch between demand and supply — making buildings a key route to decarbonization.

A sociotechnical perspective on buildings and energy could drive adoption of equitable decarbonization and other DOE priorities, such as Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings (GEBs) and Advanced Building Construction (ABC). The core aim of this workshop, which is anticipated to the first in a series, is to identify and explore the potential for aligning sociotechnical research agendas around the broad topic of buildings and energy.

Speeding this progress will require equipping a workforce with skills from existing professional and academic fields including engineering, architecture, policy, and management. Sociotechnical perspectives can help to bridge gaps between existing fields and illuminate new possibilities.

Workshop participants will discuss one of the following questions in depth:

  • Articulating a sociotechnical perspective on buildings and energy. What distinguishes research informed by a sociotechnical perspective from dominant economic and behavioral models of adoption, decision-making, and analysis implicit in many funding calls and methods for buildings  and energy research? What high-level work is needed to unlock the value of sociotechnical perspectives for buildings and energy research?
  • Strengthening networks. How can new networks focused on sociotechnical buildings and energy research at universities, national labs, policy organizations, and governments be cultivated and supported?
  • Advancing equity and justice. How can sociotechnical research help identify potential regional centers and drive new approaches to building electrification, GEBs, ABC, and BIPV?
  • Driving innovation for decarbonization. How can articulating a sociotechnical research agenda advance priorities such as equity and justice in tandem with the overarching goal of decarbonization?
  • Augmenting modeling. How can sociotechnical insights inform and improve uptake of climate and energy modeling work, bridging scales from building, to neighborhood, to city, to region, to global climate?
  • Scaling collaboration. What are feasible, fundable, and scalable models for university researchers interested in collaboration with national labs, industry partners, and utilities?
  • Identifying curriculum needs. What are elements of a buildings & energy curriculum that can equip grad and undergrad students to effectively drive innovation and adoption of electrification?

IES anticipates three anticipated outputs for the workshop:

  1. Community formation through workshop preparation and participation,
  2. Articulation of research directions to be summarized in a document including next steps, to be shared on the IES website, and
  3. Agenda and questions for a follow-on symposium to include at a broader constituency including policymakers, industry and utility representatives, university and lab workers, administrators, managers, and researchers.

Schedule & Logistics

The day-long workshop will be held in person at The University of Arizona's D.C. Center for Outreach & Collaboration, conveniently located at 1301 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, in Washington, D.C.

Thanks to the generous support of UArizona Research, Innovation & Impact and IES, participation is available at no cost to DOE and national lab personnel, university faculty, postdocs, PhD students, industry representatives, and other qualified participants. 

Meals will be provided including an evening networking reception, followed by a dinner hosted by IES.

Participation & Support

Thank you for your interest in participating. Registration is now closed. 

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Questions? Contact IES Co-Director Jonathan Bean.