Green concrete, resilient buildings in works at CU

Sulapha Peethamparan, Clarkson University assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, is working to develop a more environmentally friendly form of cement-free concrete that doesn’t leach chemicals into water. Courtesy Clarkson University

Sulapha Peethamparan, Clarkson University assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, is working to develop a more environmentally friendly form of cement-free concrete that doesn’t leach chemicals into water. Courtesy Clarkson University

Forget sustainable — try resilient.

In the world of energy-efficient buildings, a new trend is emerging. According to Andrea R. Ferro, an associate professor in Clarkson University’s department of civil and environmental engineering, work is now being done to create buildings that can be temporarily self-sustaining and, yes, resilient.

“The idea is that the building would be able to provide services to the occupants, like clean air and water and comfort with temperature and lighting, independently,” she said. “It’s not that the building would be off the grid or stand alone, but that the building could manage interruptions in network services. There could also be clusters of buildings where a resource that’s produced in one building could be used in a different building.”

Ideally, the resilient structures would be capable of producing and reusing their own water, power and other resources for short amounts of time —a necessity, Dr. Ferro says, in an increasingly disruptive climate. Along with other researchers at Syracuse University and the City College of New York, she is submitting a pre-proposal to the National Science Foundation to establish the Engineering Research Center for Healthy and Resilient Urban Buildings. [Read more…]