Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 71.02
Liaison Dennis Cochrane
Submission Date Oct. 15, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

Virginia Tech
ER-16: Faculty Engaged in Sustainability Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 10.00 / 10.00 Dennis Grove
Program Manager, Sustainable Energy and Sustainable Water Thrusts
Virginia Tech Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS)
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The number of faculty members engaged in sustainability research:
831

The total number of faculty members engaged in research:
1,786

Names and department affiliations of faculty engaged in sustainability research:

Virginia Tech has 831 researchers from across the university engaged in sustainability research. This list was generated from an internal document, the “Proposal Approval Form”, created and monitored by Virginia Tech’s Office of Sponsored Research (OSP). This form expedites review by OSP personnel and requests approval of project proposals and agreements between the university and sponsoring entities. It also serves as a way for Virginia Tech to capture information on various research theme areas--security, resilience, health, and sustainability--being pursued by university faculty and researchers. This form defines sustainability as research that leverages existing and emerging strengths in: energy, materials, and technology; water science, policy, and management; transportation and communication infrastructures; natural resources, ecosystems, and environmental quality; informatics and policy; food and food systems; and sustainable international development. Information on Virginia Tech’s sustainability research initiatives is collected from self-selected material provided on the Proposal Approval Form.

Virginia Tech Office of Sponsored Programs counts 1,786 investigators at the university engaged in research.

The “Virginia Tech Sustainability Grant Funded Research for FY 2012-14” worksheet was created from a comprehensive list of all grant funded research efforts. This information is listed at the following link: http://www.facilities.vt.edu/sustainability/courses_research.asp, and provides the names and department affiliations of faculty engaged in sustainability research. For the purposes of this credit, and based on Virginia Tech’s Office of Sponsored Research administrative designations, in addition to academic departments, department affiliations include university institutes and centers, extension and outreach, and various other university research.

The “Virginia Tech Sustainability Grant Funded Research for FY 2012-14” worksheet was created from a comprehensive list of all grant funded research efforts. This information is listed at the following link: http://www.facilities.vt.edu/sustainability/courses_research.asp, and provides the names and department affiliations of faculty engaged in sustainability research. For the purposes of this credit, and based on Virginia Tech’s Office of Sponsored Research administrative designations, in addition to academic departments, department affiliations include university institutes and centers, extension and outreach, and various other university research.


The website URL where the sustainability research inventory that includes the names and department affiliations of faculty engaged in sustainability research is posted :
A copy of the sustainability research inventory that includes the names and department affiliations of faculty engaged in sustainability research:
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Brief descriptions of up to 4 recent notable accomplishments by faculty engaged in sustainability research, including names and department affiliations:


1. Lumenhaus
Virginia Tech’s Lumenhaus is the university’s award-winning solar home that innovatively integrates design and technology to demonstrate that one can live with comfort and quality in a small space. The 600-square-foot house and the Virginia Tech team responsible for its design have received many honors, including the coveted 2012 AIA Honor Award for Architecture and the 2010 International Solar Decathlon in Madrid, Spain. The building also serves as a teaching tool, research laboratory, and demonstration facility for both undergraduate and graduate students in architecture, engineering, and computer science, as upgrades and new innovations are added to it. (Dr. Joseph H. Wheeler, Dr. Robert Schubert, and Dr. David Clark, School of Architecture and Design)

Virginia Tech’s Lumenhaus is featured at the following link: http://www.unirel.vt.edu/lumenhaus.html.

2. National Science Foundation Rapid Response Research Grant
A Virginia Tech faculty team received a National Science Foundation Rapid Response Research Grant to study the physical and chemical behavior of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM) that recently contaminated drinking water for residents of West Virginia. More than 10,000 gallons of the chemical leaked from a storage tank near Charleston and entered the river upstream of a water-treatment plant in January 2014. The drinking water of more than 300,000 West Virginians was contaminated. The Virginia Tech team confronted many existing knowledge gaps about the short- and long-term fates of the chemical in water systems, provided fundamental chemical properties used to estimate human exposure through drinking water and indoor air pollution, evaluated if MCHM interacts with plastic pipe and epoxy liners in water tanks, and determined long-term remediation measures for water distribution. (Dr. Andrea Dietrich, Dr. Daniel Gallagher, and Dr. Robert Scardina, Civil and Environmental Engineering)

3. Center for Power Electronics Systems (CPES)
The Center for Power Electronics Systems (CPES), with annual research expenditures of $4-5 million dollars, is dedicated to improving electrical power processing and distribution that impact systems of all sizes – from battery-operated electronics to vehicles to regional and national electrical distribution systems.

CPES has a worldwide reputation for its research advances, its work with industry to improve the entire field, and its many talented graduates. From 1998-2008, CPES was a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center (NSF ERC). A collaboration of five universities and many industrial firms, the CPES ERC was the largest-ever collaboration of power electronics researchers. During the ERC period, CPES developed the IPEM (Integrated Power Electronics Modules), a standardized off-the-shelf module that has revolutionized power electronics.

Today, CPES is building on that foundation so that power electronics can fulfill its promise and reduce energy use while helping electronics-based systems grow in capability. The CPES industry consortium now comprises over 80 members engaged with the Center to stay abreast of technological developments in power electronics. CPES expertise encompasses five technology areas: (1) power conversion technologies and architectures; (2) power electronics components; (3) modeling and control; (4) EMI and power quality; (5) high density integration.

The Center’s targeted applications include: (1) Power management for information and communications technology; (2) Point-of-load conversion for power supplies; (3) Vehicular power conversion systems; (4) Renewable energy systems.

For more information about CPES, please see http://www.cpes.vt.edu/.

4. Schmale named to Popular Science’s 2013 Brilliant Ten
Dr. David G. Schmale, III, was named one of Popular Science’s 2013 Brilliant Ten in the magazine’s October issue. His research using drones — also called unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs — to explore microbial life in the atmosphere earned him a spot on the prestigious list of international scientists, engineers, and thinkers whose innovations change the world. Schmale and colleagues use research UAVs to track the movement of dangerous microorganisms that surf atmospheric waves. These atmospheric waves collect, mix, and shuffle microorganisms across cities, states, and even countries. His research has deepened understanding of the flow of life in the atmosphere and has contributed unique tools for scientific exploration in the burgeoning field of aeroecology. Pathogens of plants, domestic animals, and humans can be transported over long distances in the atmosphere. UAVs allow researchers to study how these pathogens travel from one location to another and can be used to help predict potential outbreaks of human and animal diseases, and even help farmers time their application of pesticides to thwart crop destruction. (Dr. David G. Schmale, III, Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science).

The following link to Popular Science conveys news of Dr. Schmale’s selection: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-09/david-schmale.


The website URL where information about sustainability research is available:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.