The Energy and Environment Lab partners with civic and community leaders to identify, rigorously evaluate, and help scale programs and policies that reduce pollution, conserve limited natural resources, and improve environmental outcomes, while ensuring access to reliable and affordable energy.
Cities consume 78 percent of the world’s energy and produce more than 60 percent of all carbon dioxide. Rapid population growth and urbanization around the globe is accompanied by increases in energy and natural resource consumption, making the challenges of ensuring access to clean water, clean air, and clean energy especially urgent issues for cities. At the same time, cities have the opportunity to be test beds for change in tackling these growing challenges.
The Energy & Environment Lab brings together policymakers, nonprofit organizations, and philanthropists to take a collaborative approach to improving the environment and ensuring access to reliable and affordable energy. We use natural experiments, randomized controlled trials, behavioral economics, and machine learning to help policymakers identify and generate evidence around innovative approaches to their most pressing environmental and energy-related challenges. In addition, we seek to build a portfolio of new knowledge about the key tools that policymakers have to impact environment and energy outcomes: behavior, pricing, and regulation.
Chicago’s bag tax significantly reduced disposable bag use
Small changes to environmental auditing reduced air pollution by 28% in India’s most industrialized state
Partnering with the Mahila Housing SEWA Trust (MHT), a winner of the Urban Labs Innovation Challenge: Delhi, a project of the Tata Center for Development, to evaluate the effectiveness of heat reflective paints on lowering indoor temperatures and improving quality of life.
Partnering with the Illinois Department of Public Health to analyze the costs and benefits of switching to a universal screening model versus updating the existing targeting system.
Energy & Environment Lab staff partner with with civic and community leaders to generate evidence on what works to address urban energy and environmental challenges.
Associate Director, Urban Innovation, Energy & Environment Lab
The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy / April 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune / December 15, 2017