East Kent College Opens Center for Environmental Technologies
(U.K.): The newly opened research center provides an opportunity for students to gain skills in the renewable energy, engineering and construction sectors. The building containing the center features electrical and mechanical systems on display to cross-pollinate with curriculum, solar electric and solar thermal technology, rainwater harvesting to flush toilets, and equipment to measure both energy generated and used. The building earned Excellent by the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).
South Gloucestershire and Stroud College Awarded New Campus Funds
(U.K.): The college's Gloucestershire Renewable Energy, Engineering and Nuclear project has been awarded five million pounds ($8.5 million) from the government for the first phase of the new campus, which will focus on engineering and technology with an emphasis on low-carbon energy generation.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Announces Research Funding Recipients
The university's Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment awarded a combined $540,000 to three interdisciplinary research projects: a water disinfection system, an approach to agriculture that involves woody plants as an alternative to conventional crops, and the development of stoves that use stored solar energy.
Four Universities Test Electric Mini Vehicles
Colorado State University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Washington and University of Wisconsin will receive four electric micro-vehicles to research the reduction of campus carbon emissions and foster research using sensor data. At the conclusion of the projects, all aggregated data will become anonymous and publicly available for any researcher.
U North Carolina Asheville to Create Resiliency Institute
A newly pledged $1 million dollar gift will be used to create the new McCullough Institute for Conservation, Land Use and Environmental Resiliency. The institute’s goals include working with faculty to develop certifications in environmental studies and policy as added professional credentials for university students. Three areas of focus are land use and conservation, urban planning and renewal, and sustainable agriculture.
U California Riverside Launches Energy Research Initiative
(U.S.): The university recently celebrated the formal launch of its Sustainable Integrated Grid Initiative, an initiative to research the integration of intermittent renewable energy, such as photovoltaic solar panels, energy storage, such as batteries, and all types of electric and hybrid electric vehicles.
EPA Recognizes Teams of Sustainable Design Expo & P3 Competition
In a recent press release, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced seven winning student teams of EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) phase II awards for innovative and sustainable designs to help solve today’s complex environmental problems at the 10th annual National Sustainable Design Expo. The winners of the $90,000 seed funding are Cornell University; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Iowa State University; Purdue University at Indiana; State University of New York at Stony Brook; University of Tennessee at Knoxville; and University of Wisconsin at Madison.
HKUST Holds Opening Ceremony for Energy Institute
(Hong Kong): Building upon The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology's programming and research in energy, the Energy Institute offers a multi-disciplinary platform for fostering energy-related research and curricular programs within the university and community.
Antioch U New England to Create New Climate Resilience Center
(U.S.): In response to the President's Climate Data Initiative, the university's new Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience will apply data on climate change risks and impacts in ways that can facilitate more informed decisions. The center will build upon the decade of research in the areas of climate adaptation research and modeling, community engagement, and sustainable development and climate change.
Hampshire College to Establish New Food and Agriculture Center
Part of the college's Sustainability Initiative, the upcoming Center for New England Food and Agriculture will establish relationships with community and academic partners while gaining a deeper understanding of the challenges of local sourcing, and will include a pilot apprenticeship program, an internship program with local and international opportunities, and a collaborative research program with multi-institutional teams.
UC Santa Cruz Students Study On Campus Water Use Impact
As a result of the Marine Conservation class' recent research of on-campus water usage and the local watershed, a behavior change experiment was implemented to test the hypothesis that direct approaches to behavior change would have a more positive result on reducing water consumption.
U Buffalo Announces Launch of New Institute
Emerging from the university's UB 2020 strategic plan, the new Research and Education in eNergy, Environment and Water (RENEW) is a university-wide interdisciplinary research center focused on the intersection of environmental, societal and economic issues.
Energy Dept Hosts Geothermal Case Study Challenge
Over the course of the spring 2014 semester, student groups at participating universities will produce a series of well-researched case studies detailing the exploration, development, and geologic history of selected U.S. geothermal resource areas. Case studies produced by each student group will be added to the existing collection of data currently available on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Open Energy Information (OpenEI) platform. The top 5 highest quality case studies will be awarded paid travel to present their work in a poster session at the 2014 Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting in Portland Oregon, Sept. 28 – Oct. 1.
Portland State U Awards Research Grants
In an effort to advance sustainability research, the university's Institute for Sustainable Solutions and Research and Strategic Partnerships awarded up to $5,000 for 10 stimulus grants to help develop and prepare proposals for external funding for projects geared toward urban sustainability, ecosystem services, and social determinants of health.
Syracuse U Plants Climate Change Landscaping
Consisting of native species suited to its current clime and ones projected to grow there by the end of the century, the garden was designed to research climate change effects on the ecosystem.
U California Los Angeles Responds to White House Call
(U.S.): In response to the 2012 White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the university recently introduced plans to participate in the Grand Challenge Initiative with six projects focused on pressing sustainability issue. The first of six projects, "Thriving in a Hotter Los Angeles," aims for the region to use exclusively renewable energy and local water by 2050 while protecting biodiversity and enhancing quality of life. The remaining five projects will be announced over the next five years.
Northwestern U Sustainability Center Expands Scope
The university's Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern recently became an institute (formerly an initiative), and has expanded its scope to include interdisciplinary research. New research facilities to house university and visiting scholars are currently under construction and expected to open in 2014.
USDA Awards Grant to Study Trees as Bioenergy Feedstock
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture recently announced it will be awarding $10 million to a Colorado State University consortium to study the major challenges limiting the use of insect-killed trees as a sustainable feedstock for biofuel. Project partners include University of Idaho; University of Montana; Montana State University; and the University of Wyoming.
Griffith U Creates Climate Change App
(Australia): The newly released Coastal Ecosystems Response to Climate Change Synthesis Report app, which provides critical information for anticipating how climate change may impact on coastal Australia, will help the public navigate through science and make decisions about the growing climate change threat.
U Canterbury Green Roof Research Shows No Need for Water
(New Zealand): University researchers recently released that green-planted roofs do not need to be irrigated in winter or summer to thrive. Research also revealed the benefits to an on-campus river, for which they won a local award.
U Maryland Initiates Rain Garden Construction & Research
(U.S.): The soon-to-be-completed rain garden will be remediated using native plants and stored in underground cisterns for pollution monitoring. The water will be reused on the university's Public Health Garden, Teaching Garden and Community Garden.
U California Berkeley Opens Food Research Institute
Called the Berkeley Food Institute, the new interdisciplinary center brings together five colleges to foster innovative connections between research, education, policy, practice, and social movements that develop and strengthen sustainable food and agriculture systems which are healthy, just, diverse and resilient.
Valparaiso U Opens Solar Energy Research Facility
The newly dedicated and fully operational James S. Markiewicz Solar Energy Research Facility will provide undergraduates and graduates with engineering and research opportunities. Funding for the facility came from a gift from James S. Markiewicz and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Loyola U Chicago Expands Biodiesel Teaching Lab
(U.S.): After recently winning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's People, Prosperity & the Planet award competition for a proposal that included a living machine to clean biodiesel's "wash water", the university expanded its processing lab to include larger tanks with site glasses and color-coded piping.
Energy Dept. Awards $6.5M for Biofuel Research
The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced that New Mexico State University will receive $5 million toward algae yield increases while California Polytechnic State University will receive $1.5 million for the research and development of algae productivity. The new investments will help develop cost competitive algae fuels and streamline the biomass supply chain for advanced biofuels.
U Melbourne Debuts Green Roofs for Research, Education
(Australia): Divided into three sections, the Research Roof will operate as a testing facility for the university's urban horticulture team, the Biodiversity Roof aims to provide a protected space for experimentation with Australian native plants, and the Demonstration Roof serves as an exhibition and interpretive space, designed for educational activities.
12 Institutions Kick Off Green Chemistry Commitment
Organized by nonprofit Beyond Benign, the Green Chemistry Commitment is a new consortium of universities and industry partners designed to increase the number of green chemists and scientists in the U.S. and the opportunities available to them in the field. Green chemistry encourages chemists and scientists to develop safer, non-toxic, renewable chemistry and materials. A 2011 report from Pike Research forecasts that the worldwide green chemistry industry will soar to more than $100 billion by 2020 from less than $3 billion in 2011.
Masdar Institute Researchers Convert Algae into Biofuel
(United Arab Emirates): A group of researchers at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology are using native algae to convert organic matter in camel dung into a biogas that can be used in place of normal diesel and natural gas. Eventually, the plan is to build industrial-sized bioreactor tanks near the coast, where the algae are grown and harvested.
U West Indies to Open Renewable Energy Research Center
(Republic of Trinidad and Tobago): As part of a Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. Department of Energy and Trinidad and Tobago, the center will be focused on critical technologies for renewable energy in the Caribbean.
U Calgary Researchers Study Climate Change in Cold Regions
Funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada's new Climate Change and Atmospheric Research initiative, four researchers at the university will receive $418,100 over five years to explore the impact of climate change on the water cycle and ecosystems of cold regions. With the goal of gaining information and tools for water resources managers, the team will study the contributions of glacier meltwater to Alberta's rivers and how this runoff is likely to change in light of glacier retreat in the Canadian Rockies.
Portland State U Studies Public Perception of e-Bikes
University researchers are loaning out locally made, GPS-equipped electric-assist bikes (e-bikes) to 120 people to learn about their actual experience using the bikes. The research will help determine whether e-bikes can increase cycling as a transportation option, particularly among women, older adults and people with physical limitations.
U Iowa Study: Social Responsibility Leads to Economic Stability
Firms that make greater investments in corporate social responsibility initiatives see less risk in their stock prices during economic downturns, according to a new study by the university's assistant professor of finance. The research looked at the stock prices of 3,005 firms from 34 countries between 2004 and 2010, factoring in the social and environmental risk factors of each company including labor relations, health and safety, recruitment and retention strategies, progressive workplace practices, and environmental and climate risk.
UC Berkeley Graduate Student Awarded Schmidt-MacArthur Fellowship
Architecture graduate student Antony Kim and his faculty mentor are one of 10 teams selected worldwide for the new Schmidt-MacArthur Fellowship. Focused on finding self-sustaining sources of lighting in low-income housing developments, their project will look at incorporating natural and LED lighting that is more affordable for developers and aesthetically pleasing for occupants.
U California Santa Cruz Students Receive NSF Research Fellowships
Three doctoral students in the Environmental Studies Department have received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for 2013. Ann Drevno will analyze strengths and weaknesses of regulations at the urban-agricultural interface; Justine Smith will examine behavioral and ecological responses of mountain lions and their prey to habitat fragmentation in the Santa Cruz Mountains; and Rachel Wheat is focusing on the impacts of Pacific salmon availability on terrestrial wildlife.
U Canterbury Researchers Produce Findings for Green Roof Pilot
(New Zealand): Researchers have investigated the benefits of green planted-roofs for the New Zealand built-environment. Initial findings into a year-long ecological pilot study have found that storm water run-off is reduced by half on a planted roof in comparison to an unvegetated roof.
U Minnesota Earthducation Program Goes to the Arctic
(U.S.): The university’s Earthducation is a series of seven expeditions to every continent designed to create a world narrative of the dynamic intersections between education and sustainability. A small team of researchers has begun Expedition 5. During the two-week, 100-mile expedition, the team will visit schools, teachers, and classrooms in the Canadian Arctic to learn about their educational needs and discover how global climate change affects these communities.
U Minnesota Implements Living Lab Program
The university has launched a Living Laboratory program that allows students and faculty to apply to use campus land for research and educational purposes. Approved applications are expected to dovetail with current or planned campus renovations and identify possible sources of funding.
Ben-Gurion, U Michigan Partner for Energy Research
(Israel, U.S.): Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the University of Michigan have signed a $2 million partnership to develop a three-year collaborative renewable energy research program. The project aims to tackle challenges in the fields of vehicle fuels, solar energy and thermoelectric materials.
NY Times: 'U Tennessee Wins Approval for Hydraulic Fracturing Plan'
(U.S.): The University of Tennessee has received permission from the Tennessee Building Commission to lease more than 8,000 acres of state-owned land to an energy company for hydraulic fracturing, a process known as “fracking,” and then use the profits from the lease to study the environmental impact of the natural gas extraction technique. The proposal has been met by public protests and environmentalists worry the process could release harmful chemicals that would contaminate drinking water.
New Mexico State U Explores Sustainable Wastewater Treatment
Researchers have begun testing a new system to treat wastewater that uses less electricity than conventional sewage plants and uses photosynthesis to produce renewable surplus energy. If successful, the POWER (photosynthetically oxygenated waste-to-energy recovery) system will provide a more sustainable method for treating wastewater, a new viable approach to producing electric power and liquid biofuels, and a revenue stream to offset infrastructure improvements.