Anushree Chaudhuri | 2022 | Interns

Anushree Chaudhuri

Anushree Chaudhuri (’24)

San Diego, CA

Dana Mead Intern

Urban Studies and Planning and Economics Major

U. S. Department Of Energy

As an intern for the U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office I worked with the Residential Buildings Integration Team and the Advanced Building Construction Collaborative on driving equitable decarbonization for both existing and new building stock in the United States. For my first project I focused on prioritizing equitable investment in the National Building Upgrade Challenge, a new federal program leading a cohort of cities across the nation to implement large-scale energy efficiency and electrification retrofits in existing buildings. I researched methods for identifying burdened areas, including the Biden administration's Justice40 commitment—which identifies "Disadvantaged Communities" that must receive at least 40% of federal climate and infrastructure investments—and databases of small disadvantaged businesses and affordable housing units. Using publicly-available data, I created a web application that allows local and state governments to identify census tracts that are disadvantaged across more than 36 environmental justice and socioeconomic indicators, as well as find affordable housing properties in a user-defined area. The users can generate a report to help map their decarbonization zones for the National Building Upgrade Challenge and other federal programs.

For my second project I completed a market analysis of high-performance industrialized construction techniques, such as panelized, prefabricated, and modular construction, for use in new affordable housing developments. Then, I conducted stakeholder engagement with developers, builders, and housing finance agencies to understand the biggest challenges to adopting industrialized construction. With these insights, I reviewed 14 states' funding allocation procedures for affordable housing under the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to identify states with strong incentives for industrialized and sustainable construction techniques. This work will help inform an upcoming convening of stakeholders across the affordable housing and industrialized construction space, ultimately leading to pilots of innovative and sustainable construction designs for new housing developments. Both of these projects provided opportunities to collaborate with a wide variety of partners, including the national labs, non-profits, think tanks, housing developers, builders, and financiers. Working with the Department of Energy was an incredible way to learn more about the workings of a large agency and contribute to energy justice work at the federal level, and I hope to continue learning about the climate policy space in the future.