UNT engineering professor receives prestigious NSF grant to research gaps in sustainability knowledge

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 15:05

DENTON (UNT), Texas --  University of North Texas Engineering Professor Yong Tao has received a prestigious National Science Foundation grant to identify gaps in sustainability knowledge and better understand human behavior related to sustainability.

Tao received $652,846 as part of the National Science Foundation’s Research Coordination Networks – Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability program.

The project, titled “Predictive Modeling Network for Sustainable Human-Building Ecosystems,” will bring together about a dozen researchers who focus on sustainability from engineering, construction, computer science, environmental science, business, architecture and social science backgrounds. The researchers have experience and access to data from various sustainable building projects, and will work together to identify and fill in knowledge gaps.

“Uncertainty in human behavior – or why people use energy the way they do - can affect energy consumption by 40 to 60 percent,” Tao said. “We can design energy-efficient buildings and create new technologies, but without a strong understanding of these issues in human behavior, as well as government policy and business, those technologies won’t be put to their best use.”

 Tao also is chair of the Department of Mechanical and Energy Engineering in UNT’s College of Engineering. He has more than 20 years of experience in researching energy engineering, thermal sciences and renewable energy sources. He also is director of UNT’s Zero Energy Laboratory and PACCAR Technology Institute. The Zero Energy Laboratory is the only laboratory of its kind in Texas, and is a testing ground for current and future sustainable technologies.

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