Nov 08, 2007

Building a Sustainable America—One Community at a Time

Even deep into the political debate season, there is one issue that generates much agreement: the need to go green while keeping the economy growing. That's the target of the $3 million in grants EPA awarded today 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. 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.

Water-related grants were awarded to the following universities and states to create or study:

&#149 New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, N.J., $200,000 -- community-based methods to protect and preserve water resources.

&#149 The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $300,000 -- Industrial Ecosystem Toolkit that will help reduce waste disposal in Central Ohio by 15 percent in five years.

&#149 University of Maine, Orono, Maine, $300,000 -- tools to track and anticipate residential developments, and then measure the impacts of these developments on lake ecosystems.

&#149 University of California, Irvine, Calif., $300,000 -- ways to measure the value of more green space in cities or "urban forests."

&#149 University of Maryland - College Park, Md., $275,000 -- "Blueprint for the Future of Maryland" on water quality, energy impacts, economics, and land preservation.

&#149 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., $300,000 -- a system to measure access to jobs and services, allowing better land use and transportation planning.