Project The Eco-​​Block Project

Project Members:
Associated Publications:

Man­age­ment team: Har­ri­son Fraker (Co-​​PI), Daniel Kam­men (PI), Anthony Nahas (Project Consultant)

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Research Moti­va­tion

  1. How to make mil­lions of old, inef­fi­cient homes part of a clean-​​air, low-​​carbon & low resource-​​use future?
  2. How can block-​​scale solu­tions enable bet­ter climate-​​change adap­ta­tion & response strate­gies than indi­vid­ual, home solutions?
  3. How do you get block-​​scale inhab­i­tant buy-​​in, and sup­port from util­i­ties, stage agen­cies and the clean­tech sector?


  • The block-​​scale is con­sid­er­ably more effi­cient & cost-​​effective than the indi­vid­ual house-​​scale in achiev­ing resource effi­cien­cies, and takes advan­tage of emerg­ing energy gen­er­a­tion leg­is­la­tion and infor­ma­tion systems.


  • The block-​​scale aggre­gates the flows across mul­ti­ple units, enabling greater effi­cien­cies and economies of scale

EcoBlock Project:

  • Test & bench­mark results in real-​​time, with true case-​​control capac­ity via a sister-​​block.

Urban Block Re-​​Purposing

Design Objec­tive: Social & Tech­no­log­i­cal POV

  1. peo­ple + energy + water + waste­water ==>       low­er­ing resource end-​​use in the built environment
  1. design & imple­ment a pilot around neigh­bor­hood engagement
  2. demon­strate effi­cient, func­tion­ing block-​​scale energy, water & waste­water treatment-​​and-​​reuse plat­form & retro­fit process
  3. pro­to­type & blue­print to repli­cate, improve & scale-​​up.

Design ele­ments for resource-​​use efficiencies:

  1. Block-​​scale retro­fit: opti­mized inte­gra­tion & operation
  2. com­mu­nal solar & smart grid è elec­tric­ity, stor­age & EVs
  3. com­mu­nal waste re-​​use è bio-​​methane for cook­ing load, irri­ga­tion & com­post for local, sus­tain­able food systems
  4. Home-​​scale retro­fit: whole-​​house energy + water solutions
  5. weath­er­iza­tion, EE appli­ances + light­ing, smart controls
  6. grey-​​water re-​​use + water-​​conserving fixtures
  7. Insti­tu­tional path­ways: reg­u­la­tory maneu­ver­ing & financing

Urban Block Re-​​Purposing



Fund­ing Needs


  • $8M over two/​three years, from mul­ti­ple fund­ing sources (cor­po­rate, phil­an­thropic, etc.):

- Micro­grid + stor­age $1.5 mil­lion /​ Waste-​​water $.9 mil­lion /​ Water $.3 mil­lion /​ Contingency$.3 million




  • Rad­i­cally improve build­ing per­for­mance (energy+water) as urban adap­tive response to cli­mate change
  • Social response & inte­gra­tion of community’s wishes
  • Legal & reg­u­la­tory path­ways & advocacy
  • Finan­cial inno­va­tions based on ‘avoided costs’
  • New ways to com­mer­cial­ize green water sys­tems, clean energy tech­nolo­gies, microgrid–storage, DR, sys­tems con­trols, FDD, behav­ior ana­lyt­ics, etc.

Upcom­ing UCTV film to fea­ture the EcoBlock, with com­ments from:

Tim Schae­fer | Deputy Trea­surer, Pub­lic Finance | Office of Cal­i­for­nia State Trea­surer John Chi­ang |

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