Who are we?

Sidewalk Labs is an Alphabet company tackling the challenges of urban growth. We are currently designing a new kind of mixed-use, complete community on Toronto's waterfront in partnership with the tripartite agency Waterfront Toronto and the local community. This joint effort, called Sidewalk Toronto, will combine forward-thinking urban design and new digital technology to create a people-centered neighborhood that achieves precedent-setting levels of sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunity.

Sustainability is one of our key expert teams - a group of specialists, who own all research, vision, work, and innovation related to creating low carbon and climate positive communities. We cover building performance, electricity supply and demand management, district heating and cooling, solid waste, and storm/water. In our work, we place big emphasis on government policy/goal alignment, innovative infrastructure systems, removing regulatory constraints and also new, sometimes digital tools to create significant efficiency and convenience improvements . Our most recent work has been deeply focused on Toronto, but our ambitions go beyond. We have a unique opportunity to establish new standards of performance for buildings and infrastructure.

We are working to achieve something unprecedented — help us build it.

What is the role?

We are looking for a technical Associate Director, acting as a competent Project Manager who will (1) complete and implement our thermal energy strategy for Sidewalk Toronto, spanning everything from financial modeling, to overseeing design, commissioning and ensuring delivery (2) support our team’s work on Power, Waste and Stormwater with co-development of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) innovation standards, and performance requirements for all infrastructure systems (thermal grid, power grid, pneumatic waste system, stormwater, and water conservation systems), and (3) support the development of sustainable and affordable district heating and cooling strategies for future Sidewalk Labs projects.

In this role, you can and will deliver everything from design, to models, partnerships, and implementation. Your work will include:

  • scoping, contracting and managing design consultants;
  • energy and economic modeling;
  • controls selection and sequencing;
  • pursuing regulatory approvals; and
  • selection of thermal infrastructure development and operator partner(s) and finalization of a thermal infrastructure ownership and financial structure.

Given the above, we expect the right person has significant experience and expertise with distributed generation, district energy, or thermal grid projects. Particularly valuable is expertise with SCADA and Building Automation System controls technology, and a fulsome perspective on how to model and implement system-wide optimization.

But it is not just a technical challenge. To succeed, you will seek out and interface with government officials, policy makers, 3rd party energy developers, technology providers, potential customers and other stakeholders. You will often present and represent the strategy to internal and external stakeholders. You must have a broad strategy outlook that extends beyond product design management into larger strategic objectives for the company, project and host city. The role will extend into development matters, such as funding sources, ownership options and design-build-operate partnerships.

You will report directly to the Director of Sustainability, Charlotte, and will work closely with the other team members who work on e.g. Sustainability, Buildings and Infrastructure Delivery, Advanced Power Grid, and the Technology Products and Engineering team members supporting our work.

What are the deliverables?

Your main deliverable for Toronto is a cost effective, efficient and virtually greenhouse gas-free neighborhood loop with heat pumps generating hot and chilled water using geothermal sewer heat recovery, and waste heat from building and data center cooling systems. The system must be economically and environmentally optimized, and bill customers in a fair and defensible way. By the time you join, the key elements of our strategy will be defined and articulated in our draft proposal. In Sidewalk Toronto, the operation and billing of the thermal grid will be integrated with the electricity grid, so you will work very closely with the Project Manager responsible for this work stream.

Looking beyond Toronto, we will look to you to drive ongoing Thermal Energy innovation. We believe technology advancements, many of which exist today but are not fully utilized, can deliver new levels of performance, efficiency and affordability.  You will explore new thermal energy technologies, controls integration, business plans, and utility rates to achieve unprecedented levels of environmental performance within the bounds of affordability.

After 3 months, you have…

  • Dug into thermal grid design and composite technologies, developing confidence in the underlying technology.  Identified pilot projects for investment, if appropriate.
  • Overseen development of three thermal grid concepts, identifying the range of cost, performance and building flexibility impacts.
  • Finalized customer billing strategy for thermal energy, identifying the meters, thermostat data and algorithms required.  
  • Supported creation of open standard specifications for Building Management System, thermal grid control and advanced power grid optimization.  Worked hand in glove across the relevant teams.
  • Coordinated with Advanced Power Grid PM to define roles, responsibilities and business plan for integrated thermal and electricity grid operator and billing agents.
  • Determined timeline and approach for issuing RFP for design-build / own-operate partner.

Within 6 months, you have…

  • Made selections for the thermal grid design and building HVAC and defined the demarcation for each MEP infrastructure system, i.e. ownership between thermal grid, power grid and building .
  • Built strong relationships with 3rd party controlled energy sources and potential thermal grid partners in Toronto.
  • Developed a close relationship with the City’s community energy team and planning department in control of the Toronto Green Standard.
  • Scheduled or published RFP’s for thermal grid components.
  • Overseen the completion of a thermal grid energy and model that establishes the foundation of grid control, and optimization with the utility grid.

What We Expect

At Sidewalk Labs, our Associate Directors typically have deep and relevant experience, have proven that they can accomplish great things through their leadership, and are excited to bring their abilities to our ambitious and hard work. Below are some of the key things we care about for this role:

  • MEP/Energy System Engineering expertise: You need to be an engineer (P.E. license not required) with building MEP and/or district energy system design expertise. In particular, we look for the following technical expertise:
    • Familiarity with central plant-sized equipment; building radiant heating and cooling ceiling panels, residential hybrid heat pumps, and room/equipment thermostatic control options. Facility with electrical and plumbing systems at the district and building scale.
    • Familiarity with the controls technology, sequence of operations, construction trades, commissioning requirements, and labor requirements (operations and maintenance) for district energy systems.
    • Demonstrated interest in technology advancement, closed loop control (automation without operation instruction) and system-wide economic and energy optimization using data inputs (e.g. economic dispatch based upon utility rates and system wide optimization)
  • Curious, comprehensive problem-solver: Curious and driven to answer the questions and concerns that arise in their head.  Looks at the whole problem, and anticipates issues that may occur in delivering the product.
  • Project Leadership & Stakeholder Engagement: We look for you to have demonstrated comfort and experience with external-facing public presentations, business negotiations, broad strategy development and validation, and stakeholder engagement.  
  • Team player: develops strong relationships, trustworthy, honest, intellectually honest, highly principled, modest.  Finds purpose in delivering the project, not advancing oneself.

Equal Opportunity Statement

The community of the future is a place for everyone, and Sidewalk Labs is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All employment is based on merit and business need.

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