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SAFEGUARD is the culmination of our group thesis. Knowledge, data, creativity, all wrapped into a convenient package. 

We address climate change mitigation at the community scale by providing recommendations for effective strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). We performed cost-benefit analyses on 20 GHG reduction strategies such as installing efficient appliances, taking public transit and installing solar panels. Combined with relevant geographic requirements, these analyses informed development of our software model and serve as the basis for tailored GHG reduction plans. Dubbed SAFEGUARD, our software prioritizes reduction strategies based on cost effectiveness.

SAFEGUARD addresses the political feasibility of implementing strategies by allowing the user to override the software’s economic prioritization. Accompanying the software is a user manual and detailed methods describing the processes used to build the model and determine the required inputs. We have created a useful tool for consultants and governments to determine optimal greenhouse gas reduction strategies at the community scale.

Learn more about SAFEGUARD

The End… Or is it? Bum Bum Buummm

“The 5” had one last Chinese breakfast in Nanjing and said their good-byes before heading down the tracks on the high speed train to Shanghai. Arriving in the afternoon, we were excited for the sights of the new city, but a powerful storm blew in just as we exited the train station, knocking down signs and dashing our hopes of a walking tour of the city. Hustling through the rain, we managed to reach a taxi and catch an expensive ride to our hotel in the outskirts of Shanghai, near the airport.

Not wanting the rain to get us down, we ventured through the streets witnessing a still running local farmers market and some new street food. We bought an assortment of noodles and vegetables and headed back to the hotel where we cooked up some fortified ramen using the electric teakettle in the room. We capped off what we thought was our last night with some cards and reminisced about GP, China adventures and good times. China continued to cry on us throughout the night.

We are going to miss all things Chinese. In America, things happen to make sense—people understand us. When you don’t know what someone is saying to you, it can take a lot of pressure off a situation. In China, we’ve found the best answer is “ohhkayyy” and everything turns out just fine. What are we eating? What is that? What am I supposed to do? What is that person doing? None of it really makes any sense, and the beauty lies in the fact that no sense is the best kind.

The airport felt as it has in the past, a place to look forward toward new times, but this time we couldn’t help to think about parting ways for good. This would be our last time together for a while and GP was finally over. We were all reconciling sadness combined with excitement about the future; but then…..

The connecting flight from Tokyo to LA was delayed… then delayed more… then delayed more and food vouchers were given… Finally the flight was canceled as the universe refused to see us part ways.

Around 6pm we were finally headed to a hotel near by airport to spend the night. After quickly dropping off our bags, we set out on a journey to the center of Tokyo!!!
After a bus ride, confusion, and a train ride of about one and a half hours we arrived somewhere in Tokyo. Bright lights were everywhere, while pachinko machines games and interesting activities ruled the streets. We suddenly realized that we would need cash to get anywhere or eat anything, including getting back to the hotel. Scrambling, we found ourselves unable to extract money from Japanese cash machines as we could not read the prompts and when we finally could we were denied access due to the fact that only Japanese cards were accepted.

After calling the bank, asking an Australian, 2 police offices and an encounter with a very strange man, we managed to get cash. We felt a brief sense of accomplishment, but the time was nearing that the last train would run. We thought. Turns out, the trains back to the airport had quit running that Sunday night, but after some more semi-comprehensible conversations, we found that we could take a more local train that would get us close to the airport and our hotel. After fighting with some automated ticket machines, we bought platform tickets that would allow us to pay the difference when we arrived at our destination. Another hour and a half and the train arrived relatively near the hotel, but a taxi was required for the rest of the journey. Hungry and really wanting a drink, we set out to get food and beverage prior to returning to the hotel.

We found ourselves in what can only be described as a Japanese Applebee’s and enjoyed delicious treats such as beer, afro-man potato cakes and sushi (Aaron’s first sushi). At around 2:30am, we finally arrived back at the hotel for a good night’s sleep before the inevitable departure in the morning.

A fittingly interesting/crazy/adventurous end to an amazing journey together. The times will be remembered and very much missed. It is good to have good friends even if they are scattered throughout the country!!! We are sitting in the all-too-familiar Tokyo airport, boarding passes in hand for a confirmed flight. As we trade pictures and make plans for our arrival back in California, we look both backwards and forwards, still reminiscent and excited. Watch out world!

Friday: Shui and Qiézi to Nanjing

Shui = water; Zai jian = goodbye (Qiézi = eggplant)

Today "The 6" had a late start due to the previous night's celebration. "The 6?" you ask... Michael Conrardy, Gavin Feiger, Allison King, Aaron Sobel and Justin Whittet have accepted Lei Yue as their tour guide, collaborator, group member and friend. In short, she is amazing and we like her very much!!!

The first moments of the day were spent grabbing the rare cup of delicious coffee in China, some pastries, and a street "egg McMuffin". We followed the morning's deliciousness with a paddle boat journey out on the lake. The ungreased axel of the pedal boat, combined with the 90 degree heat, resulted in a hard earned lake tour, complete with views of the skyline. This was Lei Yue's first experience on an boat and in her own words she was "Stoked!"

After boating came an adventure to the pool at Nanjing University for a Chinese style swim lesson. After a little confusion getting into the locker rooms and interpreting hand motions from the locker room attendant, we donned our required swimming caps and headed out, heads above the speedo-wearing Chinese. Basically, the Americans taught swimming to a inexperienced but confident Lei Yue. Unfortunately, we don't have any pictures of us in our swimming caps and board shorts but use your imagination.

We lunched at the University cafeteria, selecting an assortment of noodles, veggies, dumplings, and stuffed fried "pies". It was delicious and very cheap. The day was finished by purchasing some Nanjing University memorabilia.

Tonight will be quiet as "The 6" reminisce about their time in China, while enjoying a couple drinks and perhaps some liar's dominoes, a game we invented last night after returning to the hotel from a western-style bar on 1912 street. We are already starting to miss China, each other, and our new friends. Leaving Nanjing will be very hard and leaving China and each other even harder, but we are trying not to think about that yet.

Tomorrow we group will start to say good-bye and become "The 5" once more. We will speed toward our day in Shanghai on a new high speed train that just opened yesterday. It reaches speeds of over 300 kilometers per hour and will cut our time in half, down to about 75 minutes. Depending on time and internet connections, we will have a blog entry tomorrow and we will definitely compose a final one en route to the States.

Wan an (good night)!

Thursday: SIP Status

Today we ventured into the Suzhou Industrial Park, otherwise known as SIP. This journey began early in the morning as we departed from our hotel around 6:30am. After a 3-hour bus ride, which most of us slept through, we finally arrived.

SIP is a 650,000 live-work industrial park, complete with factories, schools, restaurants, hospitals, and all kinds of residential choices. Our first stop at SIP was the Center for Science and Research where we were introduced to the ideas behind designing SIP. Renewable energy, green roofs and pervious surfaces were all a part of the plan. In fact all of the things we have discussed throughout our careers as students were present and have come to be in SIP, with one notable exception: integrated mixed use design. Multiple roads, few walking paths, separated uses, and far distances between things made apart the problems of urban sprawl. Despite this large snag SIP is a great start to many great ideas coming together.

Next, we visited the Science Culture and Arts Center. This building was designed by the same designer of the Bird's Nest for the Beijing Olympics. Inside there's an IMAX theatre, a performance hall, and an exhibit about SIP. The exhibit explained much of the history of SIP.

After a tour of the plans and seeing what has come of SIP we did not have a walk in the park but we had a great lunch.
The final stop in the day's tour was the Lion Forest Garden where amazing and unusual rock formations were carved into by monks to make walkways around a central pond. It was extraordinarily hot with many other tourists visiting and while there was no way to crank up the AC, the group did manage to get down at least 2 popsicles each. Luckily Gavin was the only one to unknowingly sample the saltwater popsicle.

Another 3-hour bus ride later we were back in Nanjing and ready to celebrate one of our final nights... Oh there will be celebrating!!! We are planning to check out the 1912 area of Nanjing, it is like an old town area with many bars and restaurants.

Yes! We like China very much

Whoa, we are done?! We just finished our last workday here, but Tuesday and Wednesday were phenomenal days of collaboration!

Tuesday was the first day that our younger counterparts from NJU really had the opportunity to open up and show us how much they know. Lei Yue and Zhang Rongrong spent the morning learning about database theory(!) with Aaron and Allison, and then spent the afternoon with Justin talking about emissions calculations and cost-benefit analysis. Michael also shared SAFEGUARD with a small group of undergrad students that dropped in for a few hours.

This is way more exciting than it probably sounds! We came to China knowing that we couldn’t possibly recreate our SAFEGUARD project for China so quickly, but rather have been hoping to pass on some sort of wisdom about how to approach this type of analysis. Our Chinese friends were very quiet the first few meetings, but the last two days in the office they have opened up. They are involved, learning incredibly quickly, asking questions and—most importantly—asking all the right questions! Awesome.

Last night we joined Ling and Elma at their favorite local haunt—KFC—for a “Beijing Taco”! Hey, when in China…

After dinner, The 5, Craig and Lei Yue took a walk at the lake, which is gorgeous in the nighttime. We had a great conversation about differing American and Chinese animals and even saw a fish jump a few times. On the way home we ducked in an air-conditioned department store (it’s been in the 90s here, day and night) and were tickled to see that the perfume department was labeled “fumigation”! Lei Yue was just as surprised to hear what fumigation means to us.

After a game of dominoes and some rest, we were back in the office for our last day. What a way to go out, though. As a team (American and Chinese) we were able to put together a database, map the conceptual framework of what SAFEGUARD China might look like, and design a mock-up demo version of how the software itself might operate. We presented the week’s work to three Nanjing University professors. I’m not talking about just The 5 here, either. Zhang Rongrong presented (in Chinese) the entire structure of the database for the model—the database she built this morning! Lei Yue then presented an entire rundown of how to analyze the emissions savings and economics of a GHG-reducing strategy. She opted to present in English (her first public speaking engagement en anglais) and dominated. These girls are going to change the world. The feedback from the NJU professors was encouraging, and we couldn’t feel any better about how much everyone on both sides accomplished together in such a short week.

We celebrated our last day of work together (yeah, we can’t believe it either…) with a drink high above the city—the Sky Bar on the 45th floor of the shiny new Zifeng Tower, Nanjing’s tallest building and the second tallest in all China! We toasted with Craig and Lei Yue not only to all we accomplished, but also to this hugely promising new international partnership we’re so fortunate to be a part of.

Cheers! 干杯 (Gānbēi!)

Off to visit Suzhou tomorrow...

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