The current rate of urbanization, coupled with anticipated growing energy demand in the future, makes the need for science-based information and knowledge on urban energy sustainability challenging and promising. This project focuses on a systematic analysis of compound urbanization impacts on building energy use. The overall goal of this project is to improve understanding of the role of urbanization in influencing building energy use for developing region-specific strategies to mitigate growing energy demand. By integrating capabilities of geospatial and integrated assessment modeling to address challenges of urban energy sustainability, this research has the potential to improve the practices relevant to urbanization and building energy use at the large scale and will contribute to the next generation of sustainable urban systems science.

Four specific tasks to achieve the overall goal: (1) to examine and project coupled impacts of urbanization on building energy use at three levels, including population redistribution (regional level), urban density change (city level), and urban heat island growth (local level); (2) to develop a state-of-the- science building energy modeling framework that can systematically quantify and evaluate the compound impact of urbanization on building energy use; (3) to investigate the role and implication of urbanization and other key factors (e.g., technology improvement) in mitigating growing urban energy demand for region-specific strategies of urban energy sustainability; and (4) to develop a new innovative course in urban sustainability, to expose students (especially underrepresented) to environmental science with the aim of enhancing their interests in pursuing a career in science, and to engage general public and relevant stakeholders for a broad dissemination of findings. This project aims to advance knowledge and understanding of compound urbanization impacts on building energy use by answering fundamental questions: (1) to what extent can urbanization influence building energy use with the consideration of coupled effects at three levels? (2) what will be the relative role of urbanization in influencing building energy use compared to other factors (e.g., technology improvement)? and (3) how will the influence and role of urbanization vary over space/region? The modeling framework will serve as a prototype in coupling often independent methods/models together with scenario analyses to explore complex problems of urbanization impacts. It will help to create a means to mitigate growing energy demand and to inform policy and practical decisions.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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Iowa State University
United States
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