Sustainable Engineering Education

Educating the next generation of engineers so that they practice their profession in a more sustainable way is arguably one of the single greatest points of leverage in the grand challenge of sustainability. Teaching sustainable engineering requires an understanding of whole systems thinking. The BBISS engages in a variety of sustainable engineering education projects, from undergraduate classes, to curriculum development, to "teach the teacher" seminars.

Sustainable Engineering Education Initiatives

BBISS Graduate Fellows Program

The BBISS Graduate Fellows Program is a 2-year program for grad students who work, study, and train as an interdisciplinary sustainability research team. Launched in the Fall of 2021 with funding provided by a generous gift from Brook and Shawn Byers and guidance from a Faculty Advisory Board, the BBISS Fellows will receive supplemental training in sustainability, team science, and leadership. They will apply their skills and talents, working directly with their peers, faculty, and external partners on a long-term, large team, sustainability relevant Vertically Integrated Project. They will participate in the organization and hosting of a seminar series in which they will invite and meet global leaders in sustainability, and they will have additional opportunities to develop professional networks, to publish, to draft proposals, and to acquire knowledge and develop other skills critical to their professional success and relevant to their intellectual interests.

Micro-Grants Community-Based Research

Devised by the BBISS and sponsored by the Kendeda Building Advisory Board, the Micro-Grants Research Program solicits proposals for very small scale ($50 to $500), short term, sustainability related, research studies to be conducted by members of the Georgia Tech community. Community investigators are encouraged to explore ways in which the Georgia Tech campus can continue to innovate, demonstrate, prove, and promote the adoption of best and next practices in regenerative design and operations. Researchers were also encouraged to use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for research design. All members of the Georgia Tech community are encouraged to apply. The program especially sought proposals from students and staff that had little or no prior research experience.

Sustainable Engineering Course

BBISS Director, John Crittenden, teaches his Sustainable Engineering course every fall.
Sustainable Engineering - 86066 - CEE 6345
CEE 6345 Syllabus (1.4 MB PDF)

Sustainable Undergraduate Research Fellows - SURF

BBISS Deputy Director, Michael Chang, led a group of undergraduates in their investigations and prototyping of novel building monitoring and feedback systems for the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design.


The Ray C. Anderson Foundation awarded a grant to Georgia Tech for the VIRTUES (Vertical Integration of Research, and Technical, Undergraduate, and graduate Education for Sustainability) Project. Headed by Michael Chang, Deputy Director of the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems, and Mary Hallisey-Hunt, Director of Special Projects for the Strategic Energy Institute, VIRTUES is a step towards incorporating sustainability practice throughout the workforce. The project focused on the early stages of educational experiences and workforce development when minds and practices are still forming.

Center for Sustainable Engineering Curriculum Modules eLibrary

The Center for Sustainable Engineering at Syracuse University hosts an online repository of peer-reviewed sustainable engineering curriculum modules, several of which were contributed by the BBISS.

Sustainable Engineering Education Publications

A Guide to Shortening the Time from Submission to Publication in Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

Jiao Zhang, Xia Huang, Jiming Hao, John C. Crittenden, 2020, Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 14, 35, DOI: 10.1007/s11783-020-1231-3.

Seven Approaches to Manage Complex Coupled Human and Natural Systems: A Sustainability Toolbox

Zhongming Lu, Osvaldo Broesicke, Michael E. Chang, Junchen Yan, Ming Xu, Sybil Derrible, James R. Mihelcic, Benedict R. Schwegler, John C. Crittenden, 2019, Environmental Science and Technology, 53, 16, 9341-9351, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b01982.

FESE’s Best Papers of 2015

Jiming Hao, John C. Crittenden, 2016, Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 10 (4), 1, DOI: 10.1007/s11783-016-0858-6.

Key Findings of the 2016 Symposium on the Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering: Environment and Sustainable Development

Zhongming Lu, Duo Li, John C. Crittenden, 2017, Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering, 11(3), 305–307, DOI: 10.1007/s11705-017-1666-7.

VIRTUES Summary Findings Report

The final report, "VIRTUES Summary Findings: Roadmap for Post-Secondary Sustainability Education and Training" is available. Download the report here.

Nanoscale Analysis for Designing Nanomaterials for Environmental Applications

John Crittenden, Yongsheng Chen, Xiaoyang Meng, Yue Peng, Jinming Luo, Guangshan Zhang, Wen Zhang, Junfeng Niu, Qizhou Dai, presented at the Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering Conference, February 24 – 26, 2016 Beijing, China. Download PDF (~1.6 MB)

Welcome to Mars: A Toolbox for Sustainable Science and Engineering

Presented at the National Academy of Science Conference - Transition Toward Sustainability after 15 Years: Where Do We Stand in Advancing the Scientific Foundation, Newport Beach, CA, January 14-15, 2016. Download PDF (~3.6 MB)

Nanoscale Analysis for Designing Nanomaterials for Environmental Applications

John C. Crittenden, Yongsheng Chen, Xiaoyang Meng, Yue Peng, Jinming Luo, Guangshan Zhang, Xubiao Luo, Wen Zhang, Junfeng Niu, Qizhou Dai, presented at the International Water Association (IWA) Nano and Water Regional Conference, Dalian, China, May 20 – 23, 2015. Download PDF (~4.2 MB)

Transitions and Tipping Points in Complex Environmental Systems

A Report by the NSF Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education. 56 pp. Download PDF (~3.5 MB)