Zeshan Khalid

Designer | Filmmaker
I am Zeshan Khalid (he/him), a New York-based Pakistani designer, video producer, and tech research enthusiast who uses storytelling to create experiences. I make the best chai and talk about the climate crisis.
I am Zeshan Khalid (he/him), a New York-based Pakistani designer, video producer, and tech research enthusiast who uses storytelling to create experiences. I make the best chai and talk about the climate crisis.
Thesis Faculty
Jess Irish, John Sharp, Ethan Silverman

Roshni - روشنی

Roshni – روشنی

Roshni is a digital platform that allows users such as (private donors, businesses, and foundations) to fund sustainable energy projects in the global south with full transparency, tax-deductible receipts, and I-RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates).

Project’s Website


Voluntary carbon markets collects money from private donors, businesses, and governments to invest in sustainable projects that reduce greenhouse emissions. However, these markets have failed to demonstrate reductions in CO2 emissions. Compliance with quality and provenance standards is voluntary, making transparency a challenge. The biggest issue in these markets is ensuring the validity and reliability of offset credits, which requires accurate measurement, verification, and prevention of double-counting.

A Bloomberg report examines how big companies are using carbon credits to offset their carbon emissions.


On the morning of 25th August, the government of Pakistan declared a state of emergency due to extreme flooding. 65% of my homeland was underwater; My family’s land was submerged in water, and my parents said they had never witnessed such a catastrophe. The floods lasted for two months and caused extensive damage, leaving countless families without means of support and entire villages engulfed by water. Tragically, the floods resulted in the loss of 1,717 lives, including 639 children, and caused 12,867 injuries. Who got affected? The poorest people!

I have never felt helpless sitting in New York and doing nothing, everyone I knew was raising funds for Pakistani flood victims, but those donations could not compensate for the damage. I decided to create an action-oriented project rather than an artwork.


In Pakistan, over 2 million children are unable to attend school due to the devastating effects of the worst flooding in the country’s history. Approximately 27,000 schools have been destroyed or damaged as a result. UNISEF Press Release

During my research, I found this girl’s school in Sindh which has no electricity for 2-3 days every week. I have a similar experience of a power outage while growing up in a Pakistani School because the current system can’t fulfill the demand and they still import fossil fuels to generate electricity.

Photo: Irina Werning

This crisis underscores the need for upcoming climate crisis and prioritize resiliency within the energy sector. Given the energy sector’s interdependence with other economic activities, particularly agriculture, developing countries like Pakistan are particularly vulnerable and require robust resiliency measures. The current heatwaves, wildfires, and recent “Superflood” highlight that Pakistan is at the forefront of a worsening climate crisis, and being the eighth most at-risk country for climate change.

According to IEA, Pakistan’s primary energy supply comes from oil and natural gas. Hydropower is the main renewable source of energy in the country but wind and solar PV’s shares are slowly growing. More than 40 million people remain without access to electricity and half the population lacks access to clean cooking facilities.

Research Question: How can sustainable energy projects be incentivized to support Pakistan’s most vulnerable communities impacted by climate change?

Design Development

During my research on RECs, I found out that they can be traded internationally as an I-REC and project developers can get paid in dollars during my conversation with Ricky Buch who is Head of Technology at D-REC Initiative. The D-REC digital MRV platform monitors and confirms the electricity produced by small-scale renewable energy assets, which can then be bundled into a certificate and sold to global corporations for profit. This allows D-REC to promote the benefits of distributed renewable energy and create a worldwide market for renewable energy project developers, corporations, and climate investors.

Many companies purchase RECs to promote renewable energy sources and carbon offsets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. By doing so, they demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and offset their energy usage or carbon footprint. It’s important to note that these two cannot be sold together.

RECs and carbon offsets are typically used to offset Scope 2 emissions, which are indirect emissions from the consumption of purchased electricity, heat, or steam. However, carbon offsets can also be used to offset Scope 1 emissions, which are direct emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the company.


One Visual where you compare it with Carbon Credits

How Roshni will work?

Our platform has the goal of linking local organizations in Pakistan and assisting them in gathering funds for community projects, including a school in Sindh. We plan to collaborate with organizations in the United States to generate funds and share the story of these projects, with the money being sent directly to the Pakistani organization. Additionally, every solar panel installed on the ground will be connected to our API, allowing real-time data to be displayed on our platform. 

How Recs Work in U.S?

This is how

Ending Notes.