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Sustainable Development Institute

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After a stormy day, Tidewater Virginia shines brightly at night on Friday, Sept. 23, 2011 at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon at West Potomac Park in Washington D.C., Sept. 23, 2011. (Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy)

Mission

Created to facilitate programs of merit emerging in academic, government and private enterprise, Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) promotes and provides engineering, environmental and educational assistance to local, regional, and national governmental agencies, international organizations and businesses, and individual citizens.

The mission of SDI is to make a worthwhile and significant contribution to sustainable development through research, education/advocacy, consultancy, and service. The Institute will carry out its sustainable development mission by educating the public about climate change and its impacts, conducting short courses and technical studies, assessing community environmental and economic issues, and investigating and researching the application of renewable energy technologies.

The core function of SDI is to build a network for sustainability-oriented research in climate change, renewable energy, ecological sanitation and building science. The Institute serves as a valuable resource and provides assistance in participating in design and development of solar powered housing, energy management, pollution prevention opportunity assessments and beneficiary reuse for the community.

Recent Projects

The challenges of using our shrinking natural resources wisely require new paradigms of collaboration between disciplines and organizational models. SDI makes itself available to foster, translate and serve as a vehicle for the following worthy initiatives:

  • The Sustainable Development Institute served as the facilitating 'vessel' for Team Tidewater Virginia's efforts conducted in the US Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon 2011 and Solar Decathlon 2013 competitions both in project activities and general supporting logistics. The team spent two years in design/development and construction of UNIT 6 which competed in Solar Decathlon 2011 competition in Washington DC.
  • The SDI has conducted greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory analysis for the cities of Chesapeake and Norfolk using software tools developed by the EPA and ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives) . The study estimated emissions generated from the industrial, commercial and residential sectors. This study provided a baseline estimate of carbon footprints for the two cities.
  • The SDI has organized and promoted public education/outreach efforts, including: Panel discussion on sea-level rise and storm surges in Norfolk at Hampton Roads Sustainable Living Fair; teaching middle school students about sustainability at ODU Engineering Camps; presenting concepts on sustainable design to professional societies' conferences including American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Public Works Association (APWA), Virginia Water Environment Association (VWEA), Virginia Sustainable Building Network (VSBN).