Green Building Design and Construction


Creation of green buildings has been shown to reduce costs to owners as well as improve the quality of life for inhabitants. While new construction has received significant attention from designers and engineers where greening is concerned, existing structures have elicited far less interest—yet they present significant challenges to those desiring greener structures at reasonable cost.

General areas of interest include:

  • Fast payback systems for energy use reduction
  • Melding aesthetics and sustainability (historic structures)
  • Hospitals & K-12 schools
  • Commercial buildings
  • Residential - renovation
  • Life cycle assessment

Lead Faculty Member:
Laura Schaefer, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science - Email


infastructureThe United States currently maintains enormous transportation, power transmissions, and water-delivery systems whose ages range from decades to over a century. The technology needed to regenerate aging infrastructure will have to be significantly more advanced than that used to create the systems in the first place. Sustainability in this context implies both continuity and a lower environmental footprint.

General areas of interest include:

  • Non-destructive evaluation
  • Minimally invasive analysis & rejuvenation
  • Water, power distribution, transport networks

Lead Faculty Member:
Kent Harries, Assistant Professor, Structural Engineering - Email 


MaterialsMaterials are the basic building blocks of both infrastructure and structures, and hence the greening of materials is fundamental to the greening of the built environment. Materials consume both natural resources and energy at substantial rates, and hence a reduction in resource and energy intensity improves the bottom line and lessens one's environmental footprint.

General areas of interest include:

  • Reducing embedded energy & water
  • Reducing volume of materials to landfill
  • Eliminating materials with toxicity problems through green design

Lead Faculty Member:
Eric Beckman, Professor, Chemical Engineering - Email  

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