The area of standards-based approaches for improving environmental conditions and energy use is an area that is relatively unexploited despite the fact that it is a potentially very large area of endeavor. The topic covers literally hundreds of application areas, including those by the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) 14000 Environmental Management series of standards and the ISO 50000 Energy Management series of standards, which have now been adopted by 164 nations. U.S. domestic examples include the LEED certifications of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Energy Star certifications by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, both of which are large and rapidly growing.
EEMI research aims to improve non-regulatory, standards-based approaches for environmental conditions and for managing energy resources, including their methodological development, assessment, and measurement. This is a broad, multidisciplinary area of investigation that is just beginning to receive substantial attention within Federal environmental, energy and natural resource agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture, as well as the international standards bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Substantial opportunities exist for improving environmental protection and reducing energy use by finding ways in which corporations and other organizations can go beyond traditional compliance prescriptions.
EEMI is interdisciplinary and has included the active participation of faculty from the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Milken Institute School of Public Health, School of Law, and the College of Professional Studies. In addition, other GW organizational components already have been actively involved with it, including the Office of Sustainability and the George Washington Institute of Public Policy. Furthermore, activities pursued by EEMI are coordinated and undertaken in concert with GW’s overarching Sustainability Collaborative.