Sustainable Systems Research
Civil and environmental engineers work to advance sustainable systems by seeking to understand and mitigate the impacts of human activities on the natural environment.
Our department focuses on minimizing releases of pollutants to air, water, and other environmental compartments to lessen their negative impacts on human health and ecosystem functioning. Sustainability also strongly influences how civil and environmental engineers design and operate infrastructure systems so that we can minimize their contribution to global climate change.
Sustainable systems research within civil and environmental engineering at UVA encompasses the study of physical processes and systems that lead to floods and droughts, which informs creation of useful decision-support tools. It also includes assessment of how energy, water, and food systems are intertwined via carbon and nitrogen cycling, with focus on navigating tradeoffs amongst various priorities, exploration of ways to make water and wastewater treatment more effective and resource efficient, and examination of processes and pathways to remove and sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide. This work contributes to sustainable infrastructure systems that are better able to serve society now and in the future.