Carnegie Mellon University

Chloe Brown

August 09, 2022

Summer Research: Energy Inequities in Energy Transitions

Sophomore Chloe Brown worked with professor Destenie Nock to study the impacts of energy inequities in the USA. 

Q: What was the focus of your summer research?

A: I investigated trends in USA heat deaths and how they’re related to energy inequities across the country.

Q: Did you encounter any surprising information during your project?

A: I read a 2016 study on heat deaths in Maricopa County, Arizona that gave me insight into the harsh realities of how the lack of air conditioning plays such a large role in heat deaths. About 87% of the deaths in that county happened indoors. Many of those people had access to AC but did not turn it on due to energy costs or needed repairs. These numbers really pushed and motivated me to do this research—because if it’s such a prevalent issue in Arizona, it must also exist in other parts of the country. Knowing that this research could save lives kept me excited to come into work every day this summer.

Q: What are the real-world applications of your research?

A: I believe the research will pave the way for more study of the correlations that might exist between temperature-related deaths and energy inequities/energy poverty. Policies will have to be created based on this research to alleviate inequalities and ameliorate the issue of people dying unnecessarily due to temperature and the inability to regulate their home environments.

Q: What was the best part of your summer research experience?

A: The best part was getting to know the CEE department better. As a rising sophomore, I had the opportunity to converse with CEE professors and PhD students who I otherwise wouldn't have met yet.

Q: What are your plans for life after CEE?

A: I’m still undecided but hope to move to Europe and work in a combination of engineering and theatre.