News -Environment at CMU - Carnegie Mellon University

Environmental News and Press Releases

May 15, 2014

International Group of Researchers Shows Emissions From Forests Influence Very First Stage of Cloud Formation

New research from scientists at the CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets) experiment at CERN, including Carnegie Mellon's Neil Donahue, is contributing to a better understanding of the connection between clouds and climate.  

May 8, 2014

Carnegie Mellon Researchers Find Mandates for Renewable Energy Are Driving Wind-Related Patents

The growth in patents has been substantial over the past decade, with U.S. wind electricity generation capacity 18 times higher in 2011 than it was in 2001, and the number of patents filed per year 10 times greater.  

April 30, 2014

Climate Predictions are Better Understood by Adding Numerical Estimates To Verbal Communications, According to Carnegie Mellon Research

CMU's Stephen Broomell teamed up with researchers in 24 countries to measure how well policymakers and the public understand statements that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change uses to describe scientists' research findings.

April 7, 2014

Carnegie Mellon Researchers Develop Dashboard To Help Reduce Energy Use in Office Buildings

The field testing of the Intelligent Dashboard for Occupants engages 80 employees at a major Pittsburgh corporation in online communication, consultation and control supported by plug-in devices that measure energy consumption and provide digital on-off control. By helping building occupants see their actual energy use, see recommendations for ways to save energy, and allowing the online ability to control plug loads at each desk, the team is proving that dashboards save energy.

March 3, 2014

Carnegie Mellon's Pulkit Grover Wins NSF CAREER Award for Work To Reduce Energy Consumption of Big Data Center Networks

Today's new energy gluttons, the information and communication technologies, are predicted to consume more than 15 percent of the world's electricity. Grover is developing tools that will ultimately help reduce the amount of energy consumed by data center networks by 30 to 50 percent. Applications for Grover's NSF-funded work range from high-speed indoor wireless cellular networks to brain-machine interfaces and chip-to-chip communication. MORE 

February 14, 2014

Carnegie Mellon Names Jared Cohon as New Director of Scott Institute

A distinguished environmental engineer, CMU's President Emeritus has been a thought leader for energy-related research and policy issues throughout his career

January 31, 2014

Carnegie Mellon is One of Seven Universities Worldwide To Receive Pillars of Sustainable Education Grant

The School of Architecture will work with ACTION Housing, a long-established Pittsburgh NGO pursuing dramatic performance improvement in housing for low income and disabled residents.  

January 23, 2014

Carnegie Mellon Study Says Electric Vehicles Could Be Cheaper To Recharge if Electricity Providers Control Charging Speeds

CMU researchers found that optimally varying the charging speed of plug-in electric vehicles can cut the cost of generating electricity to charge these vehicles in half. MORE

January 10, 2014

Carnegie Mellon Researchers Find Consumers Choose More Efficient Light Bulbs When Energy Costs Are Labeled

The study also found that lower income consumers are more sensitive to saving money now, while high income consumers are more willing to spend more now to save later.

December 6, 2013

Carnegie Mellon Researchers Developing Tools To Make Buildings Energy Efficient

CMU researchers Anthony Rowe and Mario Berges are developing sensor networks and an open-source software platform to optimize energy use in buildings, which annually consume 39 percent of total U.S. energy production. 

November 11, 2013

Carnegie Mellon Researchers Find Limited Residential Parking a Barrier to Electric Vehicle Adoption

CMU's Jeremy Michalek says less than half of U.S. vehicles have dedicated off-street parking in a location suitable for installing a charger 

October 24, 2013

Carnegie Mellon's Marija Ilic Awarded $1.2 Million NIST Grant For Innovative Smart Grid Research and More Secure Cyber-Physical Systems

Marija Ilic is leading a multidisciplinary research team to show that with careful design of IT-enabled, data-driven protocols, it's possible to provide electric power reliably and efficiently.

October 29, 2013

Carnegie Mellon University's Alan Jenn, Ines Azevedo and Pedro Ferreira Report Government Incentives Boost Consumer Interest in Fuel Efficient Vehicles

Ready, set, go. The stampede for fuel efficient cars continues as Carnegie Mellon University researchers report that government incentives have increased sales of hybrid electric vehicles by as much as 20 percent.  

September 19, 2013 

Carnegie Mellon Names Neil M. Donahue New Director of its Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research

Donahue is an internationally recognized expert in atmospheric chemistry and air-quality engineering. His research focuses on the behavior of organic compounds in the atmosphere, ranging from fundamental quantum chemistry to the way chemistry forms molecules that stick to particle pollution, such as wood smoke and diesel emissions.

August 6, 2013

Solar Splash: All Hands On Deck

Carnegie Mellon Solar Splash is preparing to travel to the Netherlands in 2014 to compete in the DONG Energy Solar Challenge, one of the premier solar boat races in the world.  

July 9, 2013

Researchers Find Wind and Solar Power Have Greatest Benefits in Eastern States

The main reason to build wind and solar plants is to reduce air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions, and therefore the Southwest and California are about the last place in the U.S. where plants should be built. Building new wind and solar plants in Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania is a much better bet.

This is the conclusion of a paper, titled "Regional Variations in the Health, Environment and Climate Benefits of Wind and Solar Generation," authored by four CMU experts from the Center for Climate and Energy Decision Making.

June 28, 2013

Carnegie Mellon Researchers Report Hybrid Cars Are Greener for City Drivers

Will that hybrid vehicle pay for itself and help the environment? That depends on how and where you drive, Carnegie Mellon University researchers report.

Jeremy Michalek, a professor of mechanical engineering and engineering and public policy at CMU, and Orkun Karabasoglu, a mechanical engineering research assistant, analyzed the potential cost and greenhouse gas savings of hybrid and electric vehicles under different driving conditions.

May 24, 2013

Carnegie Mellon and Pitt Professors Share Prestigious Environmental Engineering Award

Carnegie Mellon University's David A. Dzombak and the University of Pittsburgh's Radisav D. Vidic were recognized by the American Academy of Environmental Scientists and Engineers (AAEES) at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., for helping to address the global water shortage for use in power plant cooling systems. 

May 2, 2013

David A. Dzombak To Head Civil and Environmental Engineering Department

Carnegie Mellon University has named David A. Dzombak to head its Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), effective Aug. 1. He succeeds James H. Garrett, Jr., who in December 2012 was named dean of CMU's top-ranked College of Engineering. CEE acting head Irving Oppenheim will continue to lead the department until Dzombak assumes his duties. 

March 26, 2013

Building Innovations

The innovation and global impact of the Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics (CPBD) in Carnegie Mellon University's School of Architecture have caught the attention of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The center received the NSF's 2013 Alexander Schwartzkopf Prize for Technological Innovation for its "exemplary research contribution to technology innovation and its positive impact on technology, industry and to the society as a whole."

March 12, 2013

Carnegie Mellon's Scott Institute Releases New Policymaker Guide Indicating Critical Need for Shale Gas and Environment Initiative


A team of Carnegie Mellon University researchers is scheduled to visit Capitol Hill March 13 to encourage U.S. national, regional and state officials to establish a government-university-industry research and education initiative to inform the public about issues surrounding shale gas and the environment so the nation can better prepare for its energy future.

March 11, 2013

Economist warns of air pollution cost

C. Arden Pope III, who spoke Thursday during CMU's Distinguished Lecturer Series, said the numbers are clear. Air pollution each year kills as many people as does smoking. While smoking is riskier, only 20 percent of the population smokes. But everyone breathes.

February 28, 2013

Asian Desert Dust Causes Californian Snowfall

The next time you try to catch a snowflake on your tongue, just think that the particle at the core of that snowflake may have traveled thousands of miles from a desert in Asia before it fell from the sky above the United States. A new study published online in Science Express by an international group of researchers, including Carnegie Mellon University's Ryan Sullivan, has found that airborne dust and biological particles from the Sahara Desert in Africa and deserts in Asia can form the nucleus of ice-induced precipitation in California's Sierra Nevada mountain range.

February 9, 2013

'To See You Naked Is To Remember The Earth:' Love and Nature in Classical Music

With Valentine's Day approaching, Carnegie Mellon University's Rob Fallon, who specializes in music and nature, speaks with TAF host Jennifer Szweda Jordan about love, nature, and music. He shares selections from George Crumb and Joseph Canteloube.

February 9, 2013

CMU Studies Electric vs. Hybrid Cars

Do new tax breaks for alternatively fueled vehicles make sense?  New research by Carnegie Mellon University calls that into question.  The Allegheny Front's Jennifer Szweda Jordan interviews researcher and Professor Jeremy Michalek.

January 9, 2013

Clean Coal Expertise

Is clean coal an oxymoron or a path to sustainability?

Hear an expert opinion from Ed Rubin, co-founder of Carnegie Mellon University's Engineering and Public Policy Department and co-recipient of a Nobel Prize.

Rubin is one of more than 100 professors and researchers across campus who work together to solve the world's toughest energy challenges through CMU's Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.

January 7, 2013

Carnegie Mellon University's James H. Garrett Jr. Named Dean of College of Engineering


Carnegie Mellon University has named James H. Garrett Jr., the Thomas Lord Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, dean of the College of Engineering, effective Jan. 1. He succeeds Pradeep K. Khosla, who left in August to become chancellor of the University of California, San Diego.

January 7, 2013

Fiscal Cliff Bill Tax Credits for Electric Vehicle Chargers Found Not Cost Effective

The "fiscal cliff" bill passed by the U.S. Congress includes extensions to energy tax credits, including credits for installing electric vehicle chargers. But a new study by Carnegie Mellon University's Jeremy Michalek suggests that chargers are among the least cost-effective ways to save gasoline.

December 7, 2012

International Collaboration of Green Scientists, Including Carnegie Mellon’s Terry Collins, Proposes Safety Testing System for Development of New Chemicals

Carnegie Mellon University's Terry Collins is among a group of North American and European scientists who have developed a five-tiered testing system for manufacturers.

Manufacturers can use the system to ensure that the chemicals and consumer products they make are free of harmful endocrine disruptors, such as BPA or DDT.

November 19, 2012

Carnegie Mellon's Solar-Powered Boating Team Awarded Research Grant from Constellation Energy


CMU's Solar Splash team has received $40,000 to develop a competitive solar-powered 18-foot-long racing boat. The team was one of 10 programs selected nationwide to receive the "E2 Energy to Educate" grant, which comes from the Constellation Energy family of retail electricity and natural gas suppliers. The grant is designed to inspire students to think differently about energy.

November 15, 2012


Chemical Engineering Professors Selected as Fellows


Neil Donahue, a professor of chemical engineering, chemistry and engineering and public policy, has been selected a fellow of the American Geophysical Union. Fellows are selected for exceptional scientific contributions and major breakthroughs and discoveries. The prestigious designation is conferred upon not more than 0.1 percent of all AGU members in any given year. Donahue will be made a fellow at the AGU meeting Dec. 3-7 in San Francisco.

Chemical Engineering Professor Spyros Pandis has been selected a fellow of the American Association for Aerosol Research. Pandis was selected for his fundamental and applied research on air quality and climate, for his contributions to education, both in the classroom and worldwide through his classic textbook, and for his service to the aerosol community as conference chair and AAAR president.

November 9, 2012

Carnegie Mellon Architecture Students Win International Sustainable Design Competition


A team of three Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture students, Dan Addis, Eui Song "John" Kim and Jensen Ying, has won the International Sustainable Laboratory Student Design Competition for their design proposal for a Salt River Bay Marine Research and Education Center on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

October 9, 2012

Carnegie Mellon Researchers Find Greenhouse Gas Reductions Overestimated on Energy Transitions

Carnegie Mellon University Green Design Institute researchers Aranya Venkatesh, W. Michael Griffin, H. Scott Matthews, and Paulina Jaramillo have found that ignoring uncertainty in any coal transition to natural gas can make a substantial difference in the analysis of the net environmental effect of generating electricity.

October 4, 2012

Carnegie Mellon's David A. Dzombak Chairs NRC Research Committee Charged With Advising US Army Corps of Engineers on Water Resources

Carnegie Mellon University's David A. Dzombak is chair of a National Research Council Committee (NRC), which recommended in a new report that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expand revenues and strengthen partnerships with the public sectors and local and state governments to help manage the corps' aging water infrastructure.

September 20, 2012

Carnegie Mellon Launches Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation

New University-wide Research Initiative To Meet Challenges of Changing Energy Mix

August 23, 2012

A Carnegie Mellon study on Green House Gas Impacts from shale gas development cited in recent Washington Post Opinion piece, "Fracking is too important to foul up"

August 20, 2012

Carnegie Mellon University's Shelley L. Anna and Lynn M. Walker Work to Develop Tools to Characterize Dispersants Used to Mitigate Oil Spills

Carnegie Mellon University's Shelley L. Anna and Lynn M. Walker received a $330,000 grant from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative to improve tools used to characterize dispersants used in deep-sea oil spills.

August 20, 2012

Carnegie Mellon Recognized for Green Roofs!

CMU is featured by Mother Earth Network among 20 colleges recognized fro their green roofs.

August 9, 2012

Carnegie Mellon Scientists Show That Skin-Aging Radicals Also Age Naturally Formed Particles in the Air 

New research from a team led by Carnegie Mellon University's Neil Donahue shows that the biogenic particles formed from pine tree emissions are much more chemically interesting and dynamic than previously thought. The study provides the first experimental evidence that such compounds are chemically transformed by free radicals, the same compounds that age our skin, after they are first formed in the atmosphere.

July 23, 2012

Carnegie Mellon University's John Kitchin Earns Presidential Award for Energy Research 

Carnegie Mellon University's John Kitchin has been awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government to scientists and engineering professionals in the early stages of their careers.

July 12, 2012

New AASHE Publication Highlights Higher Ed Sustainability Efforts in Pittsburgh! [pdf]


AASHE's latest publication features the sustainability achievements of Pittsburgh-area campuses that hosted tours during the AASHE 2011 conference. The report profiles innovations in green building design, waste elimination, alternative transportation, climate goals, community partnerships, and more. Compiled from tour materials, surveys and follow-up interviews, it also captures the knowledge and insights gained by tour participants at Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University, Duquesne University, University of Pittsburgh, and Pennsylvania State University's Pittsburgh facilities.

June 29, 2012

Carnegie Mellon University Honoured with Bike Friendly Employer Award

BikePGH recognized nine Pittsburgh organizations as Bike Friendly Employers during their annual members meeting on June 28, 2012.  Carnegie Mellon University was honoured and CMU's Mechanical Engineering department received special recognition for the efforts they have made to encourage bike commuting among students and staff. 

June 15, 2012

Steinbrenner Institute Faculty Director, Dave Dzombak Receives Prestigious Fellow Recognition from Water Environment Federation

 
Professor Dave Dzombak was recently named one of twenty-three outstanding professionals by the Water Environment Federation as this year's 2012 group of WEF Fellows. This prestigious designation recognizes members' achievements, stature, and contributions in professional segments served by WEF. The WEF Fellow Recognition Program, now in its second year, identifies individuals with outstanding accomplishments who have made an impact in their field of expertise.  For more information visit the Water Environment Federation website.
 

May 22, 2012

Steinbrenner Institute Hosts 10th Anniversary of Environmental Media Fellowships for National Journalists [pdf]


May 17, 2012

In Fracking's Wake: New Rules are Needed to Protect Our Health and Environment from Contaminated Wastewater [pdf]

Carnegie Mellon Professor Jeanne VanBriesen recently co-authored a Natural Resources Defense Council report on the regulation and managment of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing operations.   

May 16, 2012

Carnegie Mellon Hosts Conferences, Performances of Eco-Centered Dramatic Works

The eco-minded come together in any manner of ways to express their passion on the topic of the environment, and Carnegie Mellon University will host a group that's dedicated to expressing concerns about the planet through dramatic performances. The Earth Matters on Stage Playwrights' Festival and Symposium (EMOS) 2012 conference will be hosted by Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama from May 31-June 2 at the Purnell Center for the Arts.

April 26, 2012

A Daunting Emissions Quest for U.S. Cities

Steinbrenner Institute Environmental Sustainability Fellow Rachel Hoesly and Carnegie Mellon faculty member H. Scott Matthews have their work featured in the New York Times GREEN Blog!

April 25, 2012

Carnegie Mellon Researchers Examine Economic Feasibility Of Using Direct Current Circuits To Power Lights in Commercial Buildings

In a paper published in Energy Policy, CMU's Brinda Thomas, Ines L. Azevedo and M. Granger Morgan examined the economic feasibility of using dedicated DC circuits to operate lighting in commercial buildings. They considered several lighting technologies and scenarios where the electricity used to power lighting devices in a 48,000-square-foot building came from either a central DC power supply or traditional AC grid electricity.

April 23, 2012

EPA Releases List of Top 50 Green-Powered Organizations


Carnegie Mellon Ranks 2nd Among Colleges and Universities!

April 18, 2012

Carnegie Mellon University's Mechanical Engineering Department Named Bicycle-Friendly Workplace By League of American Bicyclists

March 6, 2012

Sprouting Vision

When Matt Hannigan (HNZ'02) and Cathy Lewis-Long (CMU'91) started The Sprout Fund ten years ago, they set out with a vision to create a lasting, positive impact on Pittsburgh.  A decade later, The Sprout Fund continues to support innovative ideas.

March 5, 2012

Renowned Condensed Matter Physicist Marvin L. Cohen To Receive Carnegie Mellon's Prestigious Dickson Prize in Science

Carnegie Mellon University will award its 2011 Dickson Prize to Marvin L. Cohen, one of the most influential condensed matter physicists in the world. His work, which focuses on developing theories to predict and explain the properties of materials, has had a significant impact in the fields of nanotechnology and materials science.

February 29, 2012

Carnegie Mellon Art Professor Launches New Center for PostNatural History

The CPNH is a new permanent facility dedicated to the research and exhibition of life forms that have been intentionally altered by humans, from the dawn of domestication to contemporary genetic engineering. The postnatural world is presented through diorama, taxidermy, photography and living exhibits, from engineered corn to Sea Monkeys to modified Chestnut Trees to BioSteelTM Goats.

February 22, 2012

GigaPan-like Photomosaic Reveals Prehistoric Elephant Behavior

Two members of the Fine Outreach for Science Fellows program used the photomosaic techniques promoted by the Carnegie Mellon University program to study the long trackway of a herd of prehistoric elephants,  resulting in new insights into the social behavior of these creatures.

February 15, 2012

Carnegie Mellon University and Penn Engineering Receive $3.5 Million for Innovative Transportation Research

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering and the University of Pennsylvania's School of Engineering and Applied Science a $3.5 million grant for the next two years to conduct research and implement technologies for improving the safety and efficiency of transportation.

February 14, 2012


Carnegie Mellon Team Finds Hurricanes Pose Potential Risks to Offshore Wind Turbines

Carnegie Mellon University’s Stephen Rose, Paulina Jaramillo, Mitchell Small, Iris Grossmann and Jay Apt have found that offshore wind turbines in the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coast waters may be at risk from hurricanes, but there are ways to reduce the risk.

February 9, 2012

CMU Among Green Power Leaders

Carnegie Mellon ranks second among colleges and universities in the U.S. and 39th among colleges, universities, Fortune 500 companies and local, state and federal government agencies on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership list for its use of wind and solar power.



feature story

Project GreenLight

Raise your hand if - at home, work or school - you typically find yourself in a room with a window and the lights on.  Since most artificial lights are designed to light a room completely on their own, it's not exactly energy efficient at the times when natural light is available.

To solve this problem - and save energy and money - four Carnegie Mellon University Information Systems students developed GreenLight. GreenLight is a wireless, green energy lighting system that is unlike any commercial product available. 


Want More Environmental News?

Energy and Environment at CMU