Buildings

Alleviating Urban Heat Traps, with Jeff Goodell

The dangers of extreme heat in an evolving climate is evident across many parts of the world, and the cities are the first to bear the most severe consequences. Rising temperatures and the inherent rigidity of concrete building structures trap heat waves within urban areas, directly threatening the health of residents and especially vulnerable populations like outdoor workers. Urban planners are seeking new solutions to help dissipate heat. We spoke with Jeff Goodell, the author of The Heat Will Kill You First, about building climate resilience in urban landscapes by creating shared Safe Hubs with air conditioning and establishing green spaces.

Rerun: Using Groundwater to Heat and Cool Buildings


Heat pumps are a more sustainable and efficient way to heat homes than to conventional gas heat, but they’re often too expensive for homeowners to install. Meet the GeoGrid, an underground geothermal heat pump network that could make the technology more efficient and accessible. Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) is a nonprofit working with utilities to develop GeoGrids in residential neighborhoods. We spoke to HEET Executive Directors Audrey Schulman and Zeyneb Magavi about heat pumps and the advantage to connecting them via a GeoGrid approach.

Rerun: Could Windows Be A Source of Solar Power? with Professor Stephen Forrest


Office buildings, high rises, and greenhouses are covered in windows. What if we used all that window space to capture solar energy and add to the grid’s renewable energy supply? Listen to University of Michigan engineering professor Steven Forrest explain how a change in the semiconducors used in solar panels could allow us to transform windows into power sources — without sacrificing light and transparency.

An Induction Range, No Rewiring Required

Fans of the induction cooktops say it’s how we’ll electrify our homes, breathe cleaner air… and maybe cook better too. The hitch? Installing these cooktops often requires expensive and time consuming rewiring. We spoke to Channing Street Copper Company, a startup whose new induction cooktop could help make the technology more accessible by which plugging directly into the wall.