Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy workshop

The Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy (SISE) is a two-week intensive workshop and lecture series geared towards individuals interested in the title subjects: sustainability and energy.  From August 5-16, a diverse body of participants will converge on the UIC campus and immerse itself in a broad spectrum of sustainability and energy related topics. Issues presented will be of interest to scientists, economists, political scientists, urban planners, engineers, architects, and entrepreneurs. Participants will engage these issues through interactive and interdisciplinary lectures and panel discussions, collaborative research projects that stress scientific innovation and entrepreneurship, networking opportunities with academics and professionals, and tours of sustainability and energy related sites in the Chicago area.  This experience leaves graduates of the Summer Institute with a firm foundation for future careers in sustainability and energy, and inspires them to lead the next generation as thoughtful and informed global citizens.

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CMU/Ford study assesses optimal mix of conventional, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles for minimizing GHG and cost

In a new study, a team from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Ford Research and Advanced Engineering set out to determine the optimal mix for the fleet of mid-size personal vehicles in the US—while maintaining current driving patterns—with the goals of minimizing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) or cost. They also addressed the question of GHG or cost reduction with and without a workplace charging infrastructure.

Their study, they suggested in a paper analyzing the best possible outcomes and published in the journal Energy Policy, is a step towards understanding what should be incentivized by policy makers.

They developed an optimization problem to minimize life cycle cost or GHG emissions over the personal vehicle fleet by jointly determining (1) the optimal design of each CV (conventional vehicle), HEV (hybrid electric vehicle), PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle), and BEV (battery-electric vehicle); (2) the optimal allocation of each vehicle design in the fleet based on annual vehicle miles traveled (VMT); and (3) the optimal allocation of workplace charging infrastructure to PEVs in the fleet. Within the fleet, they considered only vehicles of similar size and acceleration performance to the Toyota Prius.

They also incorporated vehicle design constraints to ensure comparable acceleration performance and vehicle allocation constraints to ensure BEVs are assigned only if they have sufficient range to accommodate the vehicle’s driving distance on most days (base case 95% of days).

Read the full article at


EPA Funding Opportunity: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of the P3-People, Prosperity and the Planet Award Program, is seeking applications proposing to research, develop, and design solutions to real world challenges involving the overall sustainability of human society. The P3 competition highlights the use of scientific principles in creating innovative projects focused on sustainability. The P3 Award program was developed to foster progress toward sustainability by achieving the mutual goals of economic prosperity, protection of the planet, and improved quality of life for its people– people, prosperity, and the planet – the three pillars of sustainability. The EPA offers the P3 competition in order to respond to the technical needs of the world while moving towards the goal of sustainability. Please see the P3 website for more details about this program.


Vacant Lots: Crowd-Sourcing The Sustainable Neighborhood

Author: Nino Marchetti

What happens when you get everyday people thinking about the challenges that have occupied city planners for years — and give them the tools to do something about it? The City 2.0 project recently caught our attention for doing just that, and now we’ve seen nonprofits like the Network Center for Community Change in Kentucky and People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) in New York using this people-powered approach to tackle a key issue in creating sustainable, livable neighborhoods: vacant buildings and lots.

Network Center for Community Change, a community action group based in Louisville, has been mapping neighborhoods to identify vacant lots and houses that need renovation, along with more stable pieces of property. In so doing, it aims to help the community make decisions that better reflect local conditions and needs. Once these “opportunities for improvement” have been established, the group mobilizes residents and other stakeholders to work with municipal authorities in developing strategic redevelopment projects that will boost local property values, increase quality of life in the neighborhood, and/or create jobs.

Read the full article at


Transport advancement: Electric tram


University of Michigan Eco-Driving Index

The University of Michigan Eco-Driving Index (EDI) is a national index that estimates the average monthly amount of greenhouse gasses produced by an individual U.S. driver who has purchased a new vehicle that month. The amount of greenhouse gasses emitted when using internal-combustion engines depends on the amount of fuel used. The EDI estimates the amount of fuel used (and thus the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted) by taking into account two primary variables: the fuel economy of the vehicle and the distance driven.

The EDI is developed and updated by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle.

View the Eco-Driving Index at