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Release: Immediate

UI environmental center wins energy leadership award

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa College of Engineering's Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER) has been selected as one of four Iowa organizations to receive 1998 Energy Leadership Awards from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The awards, to be formally presented at the Nov. 4 Iowa Association for Energy Efficiency banquet and conference in Des Moines, recognize the most outstanding achievements in energy efficiency and renewable energy development in the state.

In citing CGRER for the award, the Department of Natural Resources noted that it is "one of the few academic research centers in the country to successfully use its research to implement actual programs in industry and government."

Center research includes the use of poplar trees to reduce nitrates and pesticides in surface waters, the development of environmental management systems to help industry and universities reduce solid and hazardous wastes and increase recycling, and the creation of the Iowa Greenhouse Gas Action Plan and its 16 ways that Iowans can save energy and provide for renewable energy resources.

According to Jerry Schnoor and Greg Carmichael, CGRER co-directors and UI engineering professors, the action plan is a good example of CGRER leadership.

"The Iowa Greenhouse Gas Action Plan was developed by CGRER and represents one of only six state plans to meet or surpass emission reductions agreed to at the 1997 Kyoto Climate Convention." Iowa can reduce greenhouse gas emissions while improving its economy, creating jobs, and saving energy." The goal is to produce a more competitive state economy and a sustainable environment for the 21st century." Schnoor said.

CGRER promotes interdisciplinary research efforts that focus on the multiple aspects of global environmental change, including the regional effects on natural ecosystems, environments, and resources, and on human health, culture and social systems. The eight-year-old Center is composed of 66 members from 22 departments and includes faculty and professional staff from many of Iowa's colleges and universities.

The primary goals of CGRER are:
* to promote interactions between researchers interested in the effects and interactions of global change;
* to pursue funding opportunities for multi-disciplinary projects from federal, state, and private sources;
* to attract highly qualified students to campus who are interested in earth system science;
* to acquire state-of-the-art facilities and equipment essential to the conduct of global change research; and
* to assist the state and its industries in their activities related to the effects of environmental change.

Center goals are promoted by encouraging interdisciplinary research and dialogue among individuals whose disciplines touch upon any aspect of global change. The Center awards seed grants, fosters interdisciplinary courses, provides state-of-the-science research facilities and equipment, and holds seminars and symposia while encouraging students to broaden their studies and research through considering the multi-disciplinary aspects of global and regional environmental problems. Through such activities the Center attempts to assist Iowa's agencies, industries, and citizens as they prepare for accelerated environmental change that may accompany modern technologies.

Housed in the Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratories building at the University of Iowa, the Center was established by the State Board of Regents in 1990 and receives funding through the year 2001 from a public utility trust fund, as mandated by the State of Iowa's Energy Efficiency Act.

In addition to CGRER, the other 1998 Energy Leadership Award Winners being honored are the Ankeny Community School District, Skogman Construction Company, and Rebuild Webster City.