Villanova’s College of Engineering has launched a new center of research that brings concepts of sustainability within the study and practice of engineering to life. The new Villanova Center for the Advancement of Sustainability in Engineering (VCASE) houses multi-disciplinary research and teaching in a number of emerging areas and seeks to protect and restore the environment through the systems-based integration of sustainability principles into engineering solutions.
“In the 21st century, engineering innovations will be judged not only on how effectively they solve a particular problem, but also on the net impact they leave on the planet. The importance of working across disciplines to mitigate that impact, while respecting the complexity of our environment, cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Robert Traver, PE, D. WRE, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of VCASE. Dr. Traver is also the director of the Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership (more details below) and recently served on the National Academy of Sciences panel tapped to review the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s proposed revisions to federal principles and guidelines for water resources planning.
VCASE draws together faculty and students from the College’s four academic departments (chemical, mechanical, electrical and computer, and civil and environmental engineering), whose efforts are organized into five main research focus areas:
In addition to the College of Engineering’s state-of-the-art laboratories, VCASE student and faculty researchers also leverage Villanova’s campus infrastructure, which serves as a living laboratory for conducting real-world experimental studies.
On-campus research sites include:
Recent VCASE research initiatives include:
In addition to conducting research, VCASE faculty researchers also host industry and community outreach activities, collaborate across Villanova’s other colleges, and build partnerships with other universities, engineering firms, and manufacturing organizations. In addition, VCASE members also serve in a counseling capacity to Villanova’s Facilities Management Office as it stewards changes according to the Campus Master Plan. A recent result of this partnership was the retro-fitting of Fedigan Hall, an 80-year-old residence hall, which now boasts green amenities such as geothermal wells, porous asphalt, rain barrels, and rain gardens, among other environmental upgrades.
Click here for more information about VCASE and other research areas at the College of Engineering.
The launch of VCASE also aligns with Villanova University’s Commitment to Sustainability. In 2007, University President Rev. Peter Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D. signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, the goal of which is to make Villanova a climate-neutral campus. The University has also received accolades from the Sierra Club, Sustainable Endowments Institute, and The Princeton Review & U.S. Green Council.