Ying Hua (2008 Abe Fellow)
Associate Professor, Department of Design and Environmental Analysis, Cornell University
Dana Buntrock (2013 Abe Fellow)
Professor, Department of Architecture, University of California, Berkeley
Manager, Climate Change, Renewable Energy Institute
One of the major issues facing society is how to reduce the human impact on the environment. Dr. Ying Hua, who was trained in architecture, building science, and behavior science, takes up this challenge, researching the interaction of people and the built environment. Her research focuses on the post-occupancy evaluation (POE) of building use, considering the interaction between those who use buildings, and building systems.
Hua discussed her findings from her Abe Fellowship research on the efficacy of the Tokyo Cap and Trade Program. Initiated in 2010, the program forces office buildings and other commercial facilities in Tokyo to reduce their carbon emissions through various economic measures. Relying on data produced during the program's initial phase, 2010 to 2014, Hua found that the program's simplicity, fairness and flexibility were significant factors in getting 91% of participating organizations to surpass their 6%-8% carbon emissions reduction goals. Hua argued for environmental education structured toward the needs of various types of stakeholders, including demand-side owners, users, and developers.
Nishida offered an insider's perspective on the Tokyo Cap and Trade Program. She pointed out that its distinguishing features include its focus on demand-side structures (energy-using buildings, rather than energy producing facilities), a 5-year flexible time frame for compliance that encourages ambitious targets, mandatory monthly reporting, and detailed guidance from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
Buntrock, on the other hand, wondered if the program's limited impacts went far enough to deploy on a wider scale for combating climate change. Drawing comparisons to the statistical insignificance of select California city emission reductions compared to the enormous carbon emissions from the recent California wildfires, Buntrock pointed out that initiatives to improve inefficient buildings do not address the core need for new, sustainable, energy-efficient buildings.