A Community Co-design Weatherization and Microgrid Plan for an Equitable Energy Security and Environmental Health
Prof Chien-fei Chen
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, United States
This project aims to provide climate mitigation solutions, i.e., community microgrids and weatherization with electrification to reduce energy burdens and greenhouse gas emissions and improve physical and mental health for low-to-moderate-income communities. At micro and macro levels, this project will build a social-technological, equitable framework and tool for policymakers and researchers to analyze the multidimensionality of concentrated social vulnerability, energy vulnerabilities, climate health, and psychological outcomes of low-to-moderate income areas. Our interdisciplinary methods include: (1) integration of GIS analyses of interdisciplinary datasets, including weather and climate, outdoor air quality, community vulnerability index, public housing location, energy burdens, health care system, and mental and physical health outcomes, etc.; (2) machine learning modeling on the energy-health-climate nexus; (3) mixed social science methods including surveys and focus groups on understanding the technical, social-psychological, and policy barriers toward weatherization with electrification and solar and community microgrids; (4) statistical analyses and cost-benefit assessment on the impacts of climate on households' physical and mental health; and (5) computer simulation of microgrid test bed. We will create the open access and cross-domain data repository. This project is community-driven and uses community co-design strategies, and these engagement facets are essential to its success.