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Climate Solutions for Buildings and Cities


A video playlist titled ‘CS – Drawdown – 5 – Buildings and Cities’ from the ‘Murtugudde Climate Academy’ by Dr. Raghu Murtugudde. It consists of 14 short video lectures that summarise climate solutions for the Infrastructure & Urban Planning Sector. The solutions are based on the book titled ‘Drawdown’ edited by Paul Hawken

The video lectures are as follows:

  1. Net Zero Buildings (10.32 mins): This video discusses net zero buildings with the cost and savings modelled assuming the use of Renewable Energy, LED Lighting, Heat pumps and Insulation amongst others. The video states that with increasing population and urban infrastructure, net zero buildings are a sustainable alternative.
  2. Walkable Cities (7.16 mins): This video describes the concept of walkable cities wherein the construction spread out is avoided and the distances of basic amenities are reduced. It mentions that walkable cities with reduced use of vehicles could potentially reduce its carbon footprint by 30 to 40%.
  3. Bike Infrastructure (7.51 mins): This video discusses the use of bicycles and bike infrastructure around the world. It mentions the example of the city of Copenhagen, which is known to be the most livable and bicycle friendly city in the world. The video also acknowledges that present day bicycles are getting lighter, robust and more efficient and can help a long way in reducing the carbon footprint as an alternative to personal vehicles.
  4. Green Roofs (7.48 mins): This video offers insight to the use of green roofs to reduce indoor surface temperatures. It mentions that green roofs can significantly reduce the cost of cooling bills in summers. If implemented on a citywide scale, green roofs can potentially offer remarkable energy savings.
  5. LED Lighting (10.17 mins): This video describes the highly efficient LED lighting technology which is considered to be a remarkable invention in terms of energy savings. The video mentions that the market for LED lighting is increasing exponentially and LEDs will become ubiquitous by 2050, encompassing the household and commercial lighting market.
  6. Heating Pumps (9.51 mins): This video explains the use of heat pumps that capture and convert energy into electricity for space heating and cooling in buildings and cities. It mentions the advantages of using heat pumps such as lower running costs, low maintenance, longer lifespan, and safer utility amongst others.
  7. Smart Glass (7.25 mins): This video explains the use of smart glasses which control the light intensity and light direction inside the room, temperature as well as opacity thus offering in energy savings from heaters and air conditioners. The video also mentions that smart glasses can help enhance human comfort and work productivity along with efficient energy use.
  8. Smart Thermostats (6.16 mins): This video explains the use of smart thermostats which can control the room temperature, ventilation and air conditioning in a more efficient way with the use of wifi connections. The video states that the demand for smart thermostats is projected to grow exponentially in households with access to better internet connections by 2050 and can prove to be very efficient in terms of energy solutions
  9. District Heating and Cooling (7.20 mins): This video explains the concept of district heating and cooling which is a way to eliminate individual space heating/cooling systems of a particular area, city or district. The video mentions that District Heating is an ancient concept where energy for heating and cooling is distributed to the citizens from a common central unit. It also mentions that such a system can be coupled with renewable sources to optimise energy use and improve financial savings.
  10. Landfill Methane (6.51 mins): This video discusses the use of methane from the landfills in various energy applications. It also emphasises that the global waste generation per capita is estimated to grow exponentially with increase in GDP and hence landfill methane recovery methods should be adopted globally.
  11. Insulation (6.34 mins): This video explains Insulation, a way to reduce the loss of energy and thus reduce the energy consumption and emissions. It mentions several materials that can be used as heat insulators such as Fibreglass, Mineral Wool, Cellulose, Natural fibres, and polystyrene amongst others. The video also states that insulation is a cost effective solution and can give whooping economic returns on a long term or lifetime application.
  12. Retrofitting (8.21 mins): This video discusses retrofitting to enhance optimum energy and water consumption, workability and livability in a building. It mentions that nowadays retrofitting is undertaken for a cluster of buildings instead of a stand alone construction, to reduce the upfront cost while keeping the benefits constant.
  13. Water Distribution (7.34 mins): This video determines the energy consumption by water distribution systems and the fail safe mechanisms to be considered while deciding water pressure in pipelines that supply water in the urban areas. The video also mentions the importance of installing active monitoring systems all through the distribution networks in order to minimise water loss.
  14. Building Automation (5.12 mins): This video discusses the concept of running the entire building using automation systems to manage and regulate energy use, water use, temperature and light control, comfort, livability, and productivity. It also states that Building Automation Systems can potentially offer efficient heating and cooling and optimised energy use for lighting, appliances etc.

Students will be introduced to technologies and innovations that can find applications in buildings and urban areas to reduce their carbon footprint. They will also learn about how these technologies can be automated based on human centric comfort and livability, and coupled with renewable power sources making them sustainable and environment friendly.

This is the first video from a playlist of 14 videos. Click here to check the playlist.

This is the first video from a playlist of 14 videos. Click here to check the playlist.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. What are net zero buildings and walkable cities?
  2. Mention the technologies that can be used in buildings to control space heating and cooling, while reducing total energy consumption.
  3. What is district heating and cooling? How is it beneficial than stand-alone space heating systems?
  4. What measures should be undertaken to reduce water supply energy consumption in urban areas?
About Tool
Tool Name CS – Drawdown – 5 – Buildings and Cities
Discipline Environmental Sciences, Economics
Topic(s) in Discipline Carbon Emissions, Climate Change Economics, Economic Growth, Real Estate, Urban Planning, Buildings, Net Zero, Smart Homes, Urbanization, Cities
Climate Topic Climate Solutions; Climate Mitigation and Adaptation; Energy, Economics and Climate Change, Climate and Society
Type of tool Video
Grade Level Undergraduate, Graduate
Location Global
Language English
Translation      –
Developed by Raghu Murtugudde
Hosted at Murtugudde Climate Academy, YouTube
Access Online
Computer Skills Basic

Mapped Sustainable Development Goal(s), apart from 4 and 13


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