Epa Funds Green Building, Sustainability Initiatives

MHC’s Sweets Network customers will be among the first to populate the database across the full spectrum of building products. The U.S. Environmental

MHC’s Sweets Network customers will be among the first to populate the database across the full spectrum of building products.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced late last year $3 million in grants to cities and universities under its Collaborative Science and Technology Network for Sustainability (CNS) program. The future of environmental protection depends on sustainable approaches to preserving our natural resources and to reducing pollution. All Americans need to be involved, said George Gray, assistant administrator for the Office of Research and Development. The CNS program enables citizens from all sectors-local governments, nonprofits and universities-to work together on practical projects for communities and states to achieve the economic and environmental benefits of green building and smart growth.

Projects were funded in two areas: Communities and the Built Environment and Industrial Ecology and Organizational Behavior. Looking at human behavior is necessary because sustainable development requires a change in thinking, EPA officials contend. Projects on behavior identify specific obstacles to the implementation of sustainability and ways to surmount them. CNS projects, for example, help predict the impact of housing development on nearby lakes and streams, and devise methods for urban planners to build sustainability into land development and transportation in cities.

The grants were awarded to the following universities and states to create or study:

  • Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., $300,000 Û factors that will motivate stakeholders to promote ecological, economic, and social sustainability.
  • Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Bangor, Maine, $250,000 Û Maps showing land development from 2004 to 2008 in Maine will be part of a kit for local planners and land trusts.
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, N.J., $200,000 Û community-based methods to protect and preserve water resources.
  • Ohio State University, Columbus, $300,000 Û Industrial Ecosystem Toolkit that will help reduce waste disposal in central Ohio by 15 percent in five years.
  • University of Maine, Orono, $300,000 Û tools to track and anticipate residential developments, and then measure the impacts of these developments on lake ecosystems.
  • University of California, Irvine, Calif., $300,000 Û ways to measure the value of more green space in cities or urban forests.
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst, $300,000 Û model to achieve local, regional and global sustainability, with a focus on energy.
  • University of Maryland – College Park, $275,000 Û Blueprint for the Future of Maryland on water quality, energy impacts, economics, and land preservation.
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, $300,000 Û system to measure access to jobs and services, allowing better land use and transportation planning.
  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville, $300,000 Û Center for Clean Products and Clean Technologies and Healthy Building Network, aimed at developing a list of environmentally preferred building materials for prefabricated housing.