Department Seminar: Jiachen Zhang
Title: The Effectiveness, Co-benefits, and Risks of Climate Change Mitigation/Adaptation Strategies: Adopting Solar Reflective Surfaces & Decarbonizing the Transportation and Energy Systems
Abstract: Climate change is a global challenge that requires a coordinated effort from various fields. How can engineering methods and policy measures be utilized to mitigate and adapt to climate change? What are the effectiveness, co-benefits, and risks of these climate change solutions? To assess the impacts of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, my research utilizes a systematic approach that considers the interactions between climate, air quality, and society.
This seminar focuses on the effectiveness of adopting energy-saving solar reflective “cool” surfaces in mitigating urban heat and their co-benefits and penalties on air quality and regional-to-global climate. Many cities are facing severe heat-related challenges due to the combined effects of global rises in temperatures and the urban heat island effect. Using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) and WRF-Chem models, we conducted the first study that systematically compared the climate and air quality effects of adopting “cool” walls and “cool” roofs in urban areas. We also estimated the global climate effects of “cool” roofs using an earth system model and resolved discrepancies among previous studies. Our findings informed the US Green Building council’s decision to give Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building credits for using “cool” walls.
I will also briefly discuss my interdisciplinary and collaborative research on decarbonizing the energy and transportation sectors. Firstly, I will present the Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study (LA100), where we worked with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to estimate the air quality co-benefits of adopting renewable energy and electrification. Secondly, I will discuss how my team at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) developed mobile source emissions inventories with inputs from various stakeholders and helped shape several pioneering regulations in California.