As the 2015 U.N. Climate Change Conference convenes on the outskirts of Paris today, many organizations and individuals committed to environmental advocacy will hold related events in the French capital. Ian Bolliger, a graduate student in UC Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group, will be among them. A researcher focusing on climate change and its effect on snowpack and water management, Bolliger shares his thoughts on the summit (known as COP21) and the international student meeting he’ll attend…
What will you be doing in Paris?
Three of us — myself and two other grad students from Berkeley — are going to present a project of ours at the Global University Climate Forum, an event put on by the International Alliance of Research Universities. Our project is called Tiny House in My Back Yard (THIMBY), which is an off-grid tiny house we’re designing and building for the Berkeley Global Campus in Richmond, with sponsorship from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and the student-supported fund TGIF, among others. We’re really excited to go.
How does THIMBY relate to the challenges of climate change?
Our tiny-house project fits into the niche of sustainable housing and affordable housing, which is obviously a very big issue locally in the Bay Area — and in major cities throughout the world. And it also addresses issues of carbon emissions. It’s an off-grid, solar-powered house. It has a small footprint and is designed to be used as infill housing for areas that are experiencing skyrocketing housing prices and displacement, and where they need to house a greater portion of the population, and especially a greater portion of the low-income population.
We’re hoping that THIMBY is at the forefront of the growing tiny-house movement, to help see if this is really a viable option at scale.