The Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development

The Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development, a project of the U.S. Department of Energy, provides useful news, case studies, data and toolkits on the concept of sustainable development. The CESD also encourages solutions like sustainable building design and construction techniques as well as promoting excellence in cities. Read on for everything you need to know.

Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development: Education & Progress

Sustainability in this context refers to the sustainable development of communities, namely the development of ‘green’ buildings and thriving economies. The Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development focuses on concepts like land use planning, transportation, municipal energy, sustainable business, disaster planning and measuring overall progress.

The Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development has become an important educator in communities which have discovered sustainable approaches to planning and development. These approaches help to create change surrounding environmental problems - including, but not limited to, issues like urban sprawl, pollution, congestion and resource overconsumption are top of the list for the organisation.

Municipal Energy

Energy conservation occurs not only at an individual and corporate level, but on a municipal level as week. An increasing number of municipalities across the world are adopting community-wide energy conservation programs. These programs help governments and individuals to manage energy costs and lower their carbon emissions.

Resource Efficiency

Resource efficiency is often associated with non-renewable energy but the Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development takes a more holistic approach to this, citing resources on air quality, water efficiency and materials efficiency.

The organisation argues that the words efficiency and conservation have different meanings, and should not be used interchangeably. They also cite concerns over the mounting costs of air, water, and solid waste pollution, educating people on how these factors are adversely affecting the environment, local economies and human health.

Sustainability Forums & Top Sustainable Websites

Back in the 1990’s the Center of Excellence in Sustainable Development shared their top sustainable websites, lending to a tradition of sharing crucial digital resources on the topic.

Sustainability forums have been a key area of discussion thanks to the Center of Excellence too, with the organisation having shared a CESD Sustainable Development Forum online. This sustainability forum is a useful resource for sustainable development communications.

Green Buildings

The concept of sustainable building design, or ‘green’ buildings, is deemed important as design and construction have a tremendous impact on our natural environment. There are millions of residential buildings in the US today which account for at least two-thirds of the energy consumed by the U.S, not to mention the scale of energy use globally.

The main challenge for sustainable building designers is to construct smart homes and buildings. Features like smart meters, are examples of the kinds of smarter living solutions that promise a more sustainable future. Features like this tend to be good for communities as they can help save ‘energy dollars’ and aid in the fight against fuel poverty.

Lower energy consumption is not the only concern for commercial buildings and residences, with lower pollution levels offering many a better quality of life, especially when it comes to safety, health and the longevity of the planet.

Want to learn more about reducing your home energy consumption?Read our guide on reducing energy consumption for all you need to know about saving precious energy.

Sustainable construction techniques

The Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development also notes that construction in general, including at a municipal level, can be performed sustainably.

A sustainable business is innovative and factors in the importance of energy efficiency, waste reduction and pollution prevention. Contrary to popular belief, sustainable businesses can also make more sense economically, saving money and improving life for workers.

Businesses are a major source of the pollution that causes urban air quality problems, with industry emitting the pollutants that cause climate change - accounting for a huge amount of overall global emissions.

Case StudiesCase studies are an important part of understanding sustainable development programs. In San Jose, California, for example, a program called the Sustainable City Project develops urban planning methods that signal, rank and implement energy policies that facilitate urban sustainability.

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