Organization’s Social Mission
With a focus on both engineering and architecture education and innovation, Lawrence Technological University is emerging as a national leader in sustainable education, research, and practice.
Center for Sustainability
The University’s Center for Sustainability advances education and research in sustainable design, manufacturing, and commerce and provides a unique network of interdisciplinary academic, research, and professional programs that promotes sustainable design and development and attracts partnerships from academic, professional, municipal, and commercial entities. It also sponsors the Seminars on Sustainability (SOS) for the Environment and has worked to integrate sustainability into the curricula of each of the University’s colleges.
The University’s A. Alfred Taubman Student Services Center, awarded Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), serves as a “living laboratory” of sustainable site development and construction, water and energy efficiency, recycled materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. A system of 120 geothermal wells heats and cools the building. The building’s 10,000-square-foot living green roof controls and reduces water runoff. With normal rainfall, about 60 percent of the water is absorbed by the roof while the remainder drains into a 12,000-gallon cistern and is used as “gray” water.
Storm Water Management
Strategically positioned in southeast Michigan with two tributaries of the Rouge River running through campus, Lawrence Tech lies at the heart of the Great Lakes watershed and is uniquely positioned to directly impact the water quality of the region. A participant with SEMCOG and the MDEQ in developing the State of Michigan’s Low Impact Development Manual for Michigan: A Design Guide for Implementers and Reviewers, Lawrence Tech has recast its campus as a living laboratory of innovative storm water best management practices for education, outreach, and research. A system of weirs, tile fields, and long-rooted grasses and trees prevents 60 percent of the rainwater that falls on the campus quadrangle from running into the Rouge River. This bioswale in combination with bioretention cells (rain gardens), riparian buffer zones, and the use of porous pavers creates an integrated model of low impact development.
Many Lawrence Tech academic programs offer courses, student projects, concentrations, or tracks in sustainability in engineering (mechanical, electrical, civil, technology), the sciences, architecture, design, and management. Programs with a specific focus on sustainability include:
Bachelor of Science in Environmental Chemistry
Minor in Energy Engineering
Master in Architectural Engineering (combined bachelor’s and master’s studies)
Master in Urban Design
Undergraduate Certificate in Alternative Energy Engineering Technology
Graduate Certificate in Energy and Environmental Management
Graduate Certificate in Energy Engineering
Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Architecture
Lawrence Tech has long taken a lead role in sustainability and environmental education. In the 1980s and early ’90s, Lawrence Tech was one of only 13 North American colleges or universities invited to participate in the FutureCar competition. Students built a five-passenger hybrid electric diesel sedan that achieved over 80 mpg in actual highway driving between New York City and Washington, D.C. Another Lawrence Tech hybrid was the only collegiate car chosen to be displayed at a White House conference on hybrid progress.
Today, year-long student projects are still an integral part of Lawrence Tech’s curriculum. They provide students in their senior year a unique opportunity to “test drive” their educations in real-world situations and prepare them to meet the demands of emerging technologies and industries. Lawrence Tech students explore sustainability in design and engineering in such projects as:
- Formula Zero, an international collegiate competition in which students designed, engineered, built, and raced a hydrogen fuel cell-powered kart
- American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers student competition
- Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition in which Lawrence Tech students were the first team to enter with a fuel cell-powered robot
- Zero Energy House Competition
- U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Competition in which students designed and built a totally solar-powered home that was displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
- 10kW photovoltaic array that provides power to quadrangle lighting and reduces demand to the local utility