The future's in good hands. Carnegie Mellon's Volker Hartkopf has been named chair of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Sustainable Building Construction Initiative (SBCI) — which works with governments and companies worldwide to adopt sustainable building practices.
"I will work hard with my colleagues to develop well-informed policy instruments, which can generate positive solutions to our resource and environmental challenges," said Hartkopf, a professor in the School of Architecture. "Together we want to enable future generations to live a life in dignity with health and within an ever-improving environment."
Hartkopf has pursued socially and environmentally responsible solutions to major challenges since 1972 — and now he's lending his expertise to benefit future generations at Carnegie Mellon.
Hartkopf is working with a team in developing IW2: The Building as Power Plant (BAPP). The proposed campus office building will generate more energy than it consumes in the form of non-renewable resources.
Carnegie Mellon is already home to the first living laboratory in the building industry worldwide — The Robert L. Preger Intelligent Workspace (IW). The BAPP project is a further development of the IW — which was inaugurated in December 1997 and is constantly monitored and assessed by students, staff and faculty.
Hartkopf believes sustainable building can be economical and yield political benefits; he's already demonstrated ways to reduce buildings' resource consumption while improving the quality of life within those building and surrounding communities.
In an effort to disseminate his message, Hartkopf is working with industry, governments and colleagues around the world to encourage each school to advance sustainable building practices.
Hartkopf's other projects include hurricane-proof refugee camp redevelopment in Bangladesh; earthquake-resistant housing and schools in Peru; breakthrough commercial buildings in Europe, China and the United States; and master planning efforts in Wolfsburg, Germany.
Photographed: Interior of the Robert L. Preger Intelligent Workplace