Open source collaboration on climate change taps Earth Advantage Institute
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Climate CoLab is working with Earth Advantage Institute to tackle building efficiency questions.
An open source effort to effect policy change to ease climate change and support a green economy out of Massachusetts Institute of Technology has tapped the Earth Advantage Institute to serve as an expert on building efficiency.
MIT's Center for Collective Intelligence launched an online forum, the Climate CoLab, last year with the intention of using technology to tap the brains of disparate experts to tackle various issues under the umbrella of climate change.
Sean Penrith, executive director of the Portland-based nonprofit Earth Advantage Institute, reached out to the online lab's creators last year and they in turn invited the institute to serve as the Climate CoLab expert for building efficiency.
"What we'd like to figure out is: What sorts of issues within the wider topic of building efficiency might the 'collective mind' be able to help solve," wrote MIT's Robert Laubacher and Erik Duhaime in an email to Penrith. "This could be anything from how to increase the uptake of CFL's among low-income residents to how to help finance green buildings to how to improve the way in which we evaluate a building's energy efficiency."
Climate CoLab, a crowdsourcing site, asks questions under various climate change-related subtopics and then requests proposals that are in turn analyzed by other participants.
This month Earth Advantage and the Climate CoLab launched two contests under the building efficiency umbrella seeking proposals in response to two questions:
- What social actions can encourage adoption of physical actions that increase building efficiency?
- What physical actions can directly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing building efficiency?
There are still 191 days left to submit proposals on either topic. As part of the evaluation process, Penrith will serve as an expert adviser, but ultimately the winning proposal will be selected by a popular vote and the top proposals will be presented to public officials.
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