Carnegie Mellon's Volker Hartkopf Named Chair of United Nations Environmental Initiative

November 07, 2007 |

PITTSBURGH & Carnegie Mellon University Architecture Professor Volker Hartkopf has been named chair of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Sustainable Building Construction Initiative (SBCI). The SBCI ( works with governments and companies worldwide to adopt sustainable building practices.

"I am pleased to have been asked to chair the UNEP Think Tank and shall work hard with my colleagues to develop well-informed policy instruments, which can generate positive solutions to our resource and environmental challenges," said Hartkopf, director of the university's Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics (CBPD). "Together we want to enable future generations to live a life in dignity with health and within an ever-improving environment."

Since 1972, Hartkopf has pursued socially and environmentally responsible solutions to major challenges. Hartkopf's projects range from hurricane-proof refugee camp redevelopment in Bangladesh and earthquake-resistant housing and schools in Peru, to breakthrough commercial buildings in Europe, China and the United States and master planning efforts in Wolfsburg, Germany.

Through his development and application projects, Hartkopf has demonstrated ways to reduce buildings' resource consumption while improving the human quality of life within those buildings and surrounding communities. Hartkopf believes sustainable building can be economical and yield political benefits. To disseminate his message, Hartkopf is working with industry, governments and colleagues around the world to encourage each school to advance sustainable building practices.

Hartkopf and faculty, students and staff from the CBPD and the Advanced Building Systems Integration Consortium, are developing IW2: The Building as Power Plant (BAPP), a six-story, 64,175-square-foot office building proposed for the university campus. The BAPP team expects the building will generate more energy than it consumes in the form of non-renewable resources. More information and sketches of the BAPP can be found at

The BAPP project is a further development of The Robert L. Preger Intelligent Workplace (IW), inaugurated in December 1997. The IW is the first living laboratory in the building industry, worldwide, and is constantly monitored and assessed by students, staff and faculty.


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