Skip to main content

Built Environment

Combating climate change requires developing new strategies for human settlement and activity. After all, more than half of total global carbon emissions come from the construction and maintenance of buildings, bridges, and roads. U-M experts, and initiatives like the Center for Low Carbon Built Environment and the Global CO2 Initiative, are driving new innovations in sustainable architecture, materials, transportation, and construction to secure a built environment better for human health, human connectivity, and the natural environment.

News and Impact

a University of Michigan flag
U-M commits to universitywide carbon neutrality
Two people discuss the Alley Activation program
New Catalyst Grants Focus on environment, equity
Enbridge's Line 5 crosses Lake Michigan near the Mackinac Bridge, descending to a depth of roughly 270 feet as it runs along the lakebed. Animation: Steve Alvey, University of Michigan, College of Engineering.
The future of Line 5: Engineering under Lake Michigan
The GPS collar on this tiger in Nepal’s Parsa National Park will help scientists understand how the tiger behaves near and away from roads. Neil Carter, CC BY-ND
GPS tracking could help tigers and traffic coexist in Asia
sandcastles with waves in the background
Great Lakes Water Levels
diagram demonstrating the different analysis areas of the president's commission on carbon neutrality
U-M carbon neutrality commission submits final recommendations
solar panels on an arid terrain
U-M Carbon Neutrality Acceleration Program awards $1.75M in grants to seven research projects
Several cows in a barn
Air pollution impacts on Latinx communities in California caused by beef production
The group identified potential buildings within each area that could be restructured to serve as a resilience hub while still serving their original purpose for the community.
Implementing resilience hubs in Ypsilanti, Michigan
One of the many ways Mark Lindquist, the primary investigator on the 2019 research project The Rustbelt Herbarium, spends his time is thinking about how to better design research so that it will benefit its intended end-users.
The Benefits of Spontaneous Vegetation
The project, “Mapping and Bridging Barriers in Knowledge Flows of How Solar Photovoltaics Affect Rural Community Economies,” will test various information dissemination strategies and study the impact of utility-scale solar on the economies of rural areas.
Mills and Craig selected for Department of Energy grant to study utility-scale solar
The commission is inviting U-M students, staff, faculty and community members to review proposed recommendations and submit feedback and ideas by Jan. 22, 2021, via an online public comment portal.
Carbon neutrality commission releases draft recommendations
Catherine Hausman
Research into action: Hausman’s research key to new legislation
In recent years, urine recycling has been studied as a way to produce renewable fertilizers while reducing the amount of energy and chemicals needed to treat wastewater.
‘Peecycling’ payoff: Urine diversion shows multiple environmental benefits when used at city scale
Citizen-Designed Neighborhood Resilience
Citizen-Designed Neighborhood Resilience
Removing and reusing phosphorus from agricultural runoff
Removing and reusing phosphorus from agricultural runoff
A messy pile of clothes, shoes and sports equipment on a brown leather couch in a while room with windows
Plastics, waste and recycling: It’s not just a packaging problem
Map shows sources of Chinese carbon dioxide emissions tied to products consumed overseas in 2012. Orange and red locations are hotspots for Chinese emissions that are tied to exports. A new University of Michigan-led study tracked Chinese emissions to a small number of coastal manufacturing hubs and showed that about 1% of the country’s land area is responsible for 75% of the export-linked CO2 emissions. Image credit: From Yang et al., Nature Communications 2020
Carbon footprint hotspots: Mapping China’s export-driven emissions
Wind turbines in a snowy, frozen landscape at sunset
Bringing wind turbine research to Michigan communities
house with large buildings in background
Energy Poverty in the United States
A bumblebee on an evening primrose. Image credit: Paul Glaum
U-M study suggests impact of urbanization on wild bees underestimated
People looking at financial data on computer
Smart infrastructure financing: Why data could be the answer
The three-year grant was awarded through NSF’s Smart and Connected Communities program, which aims to integrate people with information and communication technologies to improve economic opportunity and growth, safety and security, health and wellness, and overall quality of life.
Prof. Nassauer secures $1.8M to develop smart, connected stormwater systems