GBA’s 2016 Legacy Award Honoree is Dr. Jared Cohon

Dr. Jared Cohon

Image: Jim Judkas

GBA is excited to announce our 2016 Legacy Award honoree: Dr. Jared L. Cohon, Carnegie Mellon University’s Director of the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, President Emeritus, and University Professor.

As Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) third-longest president and current director of the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, Dr. Cohon has been a devoted catalyst for CMU’s sustainability policies, practices, and successes, starting with energy efficiency and conservation, and leading to renewable energy, green buildings, sustainable product research, and much more. Under Dr. Cohon’s leadership, Carnegie Mellon offered its first environmental ethics course, built the first LEED certified dormitory in the world, and became the first institution in the nation to have the largest fraction of its total energy come from green power. Since 2011, 100% of the university’s electricity has come from renewable energy. In his first few years in the presidency, Dr. Cohon prioritized environmental sustainability through reducing dining hall waste by switching to washable dinnerware and banning plastics, unveiling a new central recycling education center, and creating a full-time environmental coordinator staff position.

In his 16 years as CMU’s president, Dr. Cohon drove the university’s commitment to pursue LEED Silver certification for all new construction and significant renovations on campus – and LEED-CI where applicable. Today, Carnegie Mellon boasts 14 green buildings, 12 of which are LEED certified. These spaces incorporate solar panels, salvaged materials, on- and off-site renewable energy, indoor air quality plans and sensors, high-quality ventilation, natural daylight, and plenty of accessible green space (including a large number of green roofs). From Stever House’s designation as the first LEED certified residence hall in the world to external views in all public spaces, CMU continues to provide high-quality learning environments that maximize efficiency, minimize negative environmental impact, and provide tangible, interactive models of sustainability, mindfulness, innovation, and leadership.

Dr. Cohon’s current position as the director of the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation at CMU has placed him in a pivotal research and policy-centric effort, focusing on the research, development, and demonstration of technologies, systems, and policies needed to help the world transition to a sustainable energy future. Under his direction, the Scott Institute concentrates on using and delivering energy more efficiently; expanding energy sources in clean, reliable, affordable, and sustainable ways; and creating innovations in energy technologies, regulations, and policies.

CMU's Scott Hall, home of the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation / Image: Carnegie Mellon University

CMU’s Scott Hall, home of the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation / Image: Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. Cohon is a national authority on environmental and water resource systems analysis. In 2012, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional distinctions granted to an engineer. He has chaired several National Academies of Science and Engineering committees, producing two groundbreaking reports: “The Hidden Costs of Energy” and “Fuel Economy of Light Duty Vehicles, Phase II.” Dr. Cohon was the Legislative Assistant for Energy and Environment under U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, and co-chaired the Commission to Review and Evaluate the National Energy Laboratories.

During his tenure at CMU’s presidential helm, Dr. Cohon championed the university’s unprecedented growth and global expansion. Under his leadership, enrollment grew significantly, research dollars ballooned, and CMU’s endowment increased. He helped CMU move from offering extremely few international degree programs to 16 programs in 14 countries. He continues to impact the university across its curriculum by teaching courses in both the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Department of Engineering & Public Policy. In 2013, Dr. Cohon was named a University Professor at Carnegie Mellon, the highest academic distinction that a university faculty member can achieve.

Prior to his work at CMU, Dr. Cohon was a professor of Geography and Environmental Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, where he also served as Vice Provost for Research and Assistant and Associate Dean of Engineering. Afterward, at Yale University, he served as the dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and professor of Environmental Systems Analysis.

Dr. Cohon has written, co-written, or edited more than 80 publications. He earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania and both his M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Green Building Alliance is thrilled to present Dr. Jared L. Cohon with our 2016 Legacy Award at Emerald Evening on September 15, 2016. Please join us in honoring and thanking Dr. Cohon for his work, dedication, and passion to interlacing and prioritizing green building, efficiency, sustainability, and education in the Pittsburgh region.

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