Indicia Consulting
RACER (in progress)

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Project Description

The project will produce a framework for protecting communities from extreme heat and related risks (such as grid power outages and wildfire smoke) among vulnerable populations in moderate climates. The multi-disciplinary research team will be led by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and include city staff from the Oakland Sustainability Program and Public Works Department and the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management and Office of Resilience and Capital Planning; a non-profit equity and climate resilience organization (Rising Sun Center for Opportunity); and a social scientist (Susan Mazur Stommen of Indicia Consulting). The project will develop outreach methods and best practices for developing community partnership and community outreach and will work together with community and city partners to determine preferred energy supply technology and cooling solutions and to develop metrics for emergency event communication, coordination, and recovery. In partnership with community-based organization (CBO) La Familia and the cities of Oakland and San Francisco, the research team will reach out to residents and other CBOs, sustainability, public safety, and emergency management staff as well as other local stakeholders such as non-profit development agencies and/or weatherization groups.

We will collect feedback about stakeholder best practices, key concerns, current plans, data gaps, and key risk factors or gaps in planning/coordination and communication. In previous projects the research team employed a variety of outreach approaches such as community meetings, phone surveys, in- depth individual interviews, and targeted focus groups. Indicia Consulting will contribute to these tasks. We will use the vulnerability and risk assessment above as well as past outage event data to determine resilience metrics for solar+storage such as resilience to planned and unplanned outages as a function of critical loads served, energy efficiency or cooling resilience measures installed, and outage duration times. This task may include a case study for microgrid modeling and planning, depending on community outreach and feedback. Based on the developed energy resilience planning framework, the project will identify locations where solar+storage deployment can best support increased community energy resilience.

Indicia Consulting (Indicia, the Subcontractor) will work with LBNL to accomplish these research goals. Data will be collected to understand residents’ needs, preferences, behaviors, priorities, concerns, and barriers to proposed building cooling strategies and solar+storage investments to better withstand the risks of extreme heat. Indicia will collect data via in-depth interviews (IDIs), focus groups, surveys, and on-site observations. Indicia will also work with other team members to inform their activities, such as community outreach efforts and home walk throughs. Based on the data Indicia collects, they will provide inputs to the LBNL assessments of proposed cooling strategies and solar+storage investments. In addition, Indicia Consulting will also contribute to the development of toolkit resources to capture the results and methods employed by this program to benefit other communities. LBNL will work closely with Indicia, Rising Sun, and the CBO on community outreach and data collection. Community feedback will inform modeling tasks 2 and 3 and resultant recommendations.

The research goals supported by this subcontract are as follows:

  1. Increasing resilience to heat waves in the Fruitvale district of Oakland via implementation of cooling strategies and solar+storage investments.
  2. Providing tools and resources that enable and empower local governments, communities, and utilities to protect these populations including prioritized actions, and potential policies that mitigate the hazards of extreme heat via cooling strategies and solar+storage investments.
  3. Incorporating community needs and inputs throughout the project, seeking and responding to their feedback, and communicating research findings to the community, community-based organizations (CBOs), local governments, and utilities.

The product of the collective research program is comprehensive guidance for cities and communities, which will include (1) approaches for engaging communities in developing a range of strategies; (2) approaches to prioritizing such strategies; and (3) strategies to encourage community adoption of cooling strategies and acceptance of local solar+storage investments for maximum resiliency.

Part of the Solar Technologies Office-funded project Topic 1: Innovative Community-Based Energy Resilience Planning Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number: DE-FOA- 0002597.

Project Details

Date: 2023-2025
Client: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Location: California, USA