New Climate Solutions Research – Opportunity Projects

New Climate Solutions Research – Opportunity Projects 

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions is pleased to announce the first four research projects to be awarded funding under its new Opportunity Projects Program (OPP).

Opportunity projects are partnership-driven, research initiatives that aim to generate high-impact climate mitigation or adaptation solutions. OPP launched in late 2018, resulting in 29 applications.

PICS executive director Sybil Seitzinger says the four chosen projects from this inaugural call address British Columbia climate change challenges and opportunities, but are scalable for end-users well beyond the province’s boundaries. Each will receive up to $60,000 per year for a maximum of three years, to fund its operations.

The four projects will address either climate change mitigation and/or adaptation, specifically—thermal energy storage; adaptive management of coastal kelp and fisheries by First Nations; designing a multi-family residential buildings framework that incorporates climate mitigation and adaptation needs, and developing an open-access, climate-adapted planning tool for conservation land and protected areas.

Projects are summarized below. The next call for Opportunity Projects will be issued later this month around April 30, 2019.

Integration of Mobile Thermal Storage in City of Surrey’s District Energy Network . Project lead: Majid Bahrami, SFU

District energy networks can play a central role in reducing building-related emissions due to their high efficiency and the flexibility they offer for integrating energy from renewable sources. The building sector is a major contributor to GHG emissions in Canada and worldwide. In collaboration with the City of Surrey and Canmet ENERGY, this project aims to develop a novel modular (scalable) thermochemical-based mobile thermal energy storage (M-TES). The proposed system will be capable of capturing waste heat from distributed, non-connected sources and moving this heat to connect into a district energy system. The heat stored in the M-TES can be used for load shaping and to offset requirements for generating peak power from non-renewable sources. The resulting benefits from this project include a reduced reliance on non-renewable fuels for peak loads, reduced carbon emissions and lower operating costs. The project will serve as an example for sustainable energy initiatives in other municipalities in BC and beyond.

Climate Adaptive Planning for British Columbia. Project lead: Oscar Venter, UNBC

There is currently no planning tool available that takes into account future climate change when establishing protected areas in British Columbia (BC) and projecting impacts on natural systems. This project, in partnership with The Nature Trust, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and the BC Parks Foundation, will address the core question: How can we adapt our conservation plans in BC to minimize the impacts of a changing climate?  The first online, open-access, fully operable and user-friendly tool will be developed to support climate–adapted systematic conservation planning across BC. This tool will be accessible and flexible for diverse user groups, as well as updatable with future enhancements in understanding climate change in BC.

Designing solutions to the hidden impacts of climate change on Canada’s undersea forests.  Project lead: Anne Salomon, SFU

In 2015 First Nations communities on central BC’s coast observed an expansive outbreak of an encrusting bryozoan. This outbreak occurred in correlation with extreme ocean temperature anomalies (“warm blob”) in the northeast Pacific Ocean. Giant kelps were heavily encrusted by the bryozoan, causing them to sink to the seafloor where they rapidly disintegrated. This project—in partnership with the Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance that encompasses all four First Nations of BC’s central coast (Heiltsuk Nation, Kitasoo/ Xai’ xais Nation, Nuxalk Nation and the Wuikinuxv Nation)—will determine whether adaptive management of traditional community-based kelp harvest and herring spawn-on-kelp fisheries can minimize the negative impact of temperature-induced bryozoan outbreaks. This project aims to enhance the resilience of both kelp forest ecosystems and coastal communities to climate change.

Adaptive Mitigation: A framework for assessing synergies, conflicts, opportunities and trade-offs between climate change mitigation and adaptation in urban neighbourhoods.* Project lead: Stephanie Chang UBC

In partnership with BC Housing, this project will investigate how strategies for adaptation and mitigation in urban neighbourhoods intersect, focusing specifically on multi-family residential buildings and their immediate context, in order to maximize the opportunity for “shelter-in-place”—or safety within the building one occupies. The research goal is to develop an integrated building adaptation and mitigation assessment (IBAMA) framework and tool to help decision-makers identify solutions that simultaneously incorporate both elements. The long-term objective is that the IBAMA framework will influence future building codes, standards, and construction best practices in both British Columbia and abroad.

*Note that this project supports the research of IRES MSc student Ilana Judah.

For more information on OPP visit the PICS website Research Engagement Program