Goal number 7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”. From 2000 to 2016, the proportion of the global population with access to electricity increased from 78 per cent to 87 per cent, but that still leaves just under 1 billion people worldwide living without electricity. Finding energy solutions for people in developing countries is therefore of great importance in progressing towards SDG 7. QSAND, a shelter and settlement sustainability self-assessment tool developed by BRE, focuses on sustainable, resilient energy solutions through its energy component.
BRE were therefore happy to contribute towards a proposal for the Engineering for Development research fellowship funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering when approached by Loughborough University. Dr Long Seng To’s project, titled ‘Enhancing community energy resilience using renewable energy in developing countries’, was to focus on finding solutions for the provision of affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy for all globally, with part of the research focusing on the energy component of QSAND.
We are now pleased to congratulate Dr To, who has been awarded a five-year Engineering for Development Research Fellowship and will be undertaking projects in Nepal and Malawi with QSAND as one strand of her research focus. The research aims to use participatory design methods to include community members, engineers, academics and local government in the creation of resilient energy solutions. Dr To said that the fellowship will enable her to “unlock local sources of innovation for decentralised, networked and resilient energy systems”.
The aim of this research is closely linked to the goals of the QSAND tool, which also has a focus on the use of local resources and expertise in developing resilience and sustainability in the aftermath of disasters. This research will hopefully provide valuable insight into ways to further develop the tool in order to support local innovation in the creation of sustainable energy solutions.
“We are excited to support this research and the development of the energy component of QSAND moving forward. This project will provide some very useful data on QSAND’s energy component, and we hope that QSAND can support the implementation of sustainable and resilient energy systems in Nepal and Malawi,’ said Yetunde Abdul, QSAND Programme Manager.
The research will support the SDGs and, by helping to evaluate and build upon QSAND’s energy component. It should also assist QSAND to improve its own contribution to reaching the SDGs by 2030. This is a great opportunity to gather evidence that can help QSAND to demonstrate its endorsement of the UN development goals.
“I am excited to be collaborating with BRE to further develop the energy component of QSAND and integrate my research directly into engineering practice. As QSAND covers multiple sectors such as shelter, water and sanitation, communications, and waste, this will put energy resilience in a broader infrastructure context. I am keen to explore the interaction between energy and other sectors in further research,” said Dr To.
We look forward to seeing how this programme develops over the next five years and are excited to be a part of the research.