Sustainable Systems Science for Accelerating Clean Energy Transitions and Climate Solutions

The next few years are critical. Immediate and deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are necessary across all sectors or limiting warming to 1.5 °C will be beyond reach.  Sustainable systems science provides a useful framework and tools to characterize mobility, buildings, food, and other systems and to guide and accelerate sustainability transformations.  Systems analysis tools such as life cycle assessment can be used to evaluate incumbent systems as well as outcomes from interventions addressing and aligning technology, design, policy, market, and consumer behavior – levers that are key to accelerating clean energy and climate solutions.

Life cycle-based tools are valuable systems analysis methods because they encompass production and consumption processes, can map to stakeholder decisions, generate a wide set of performance metrics (e.g., energy and carbon footprints, cost), and can uncover tradeoffs in outcomes that exist across space and time.

This seminar will demonstrate the utility of life cycle-based methods including life cycle design and optimization tools.  Key findings from Center for Sustainable Systems research on automobiles (e.g., ICEV, BEV, CAV), buildings (e.g., whole buildings, appliances, lighting), infrastructure, and food systems will be highlighted to inform future carbon neutrality research, technology development, consumer choices, and policy.

Dr. Greg Keoleian is the Peter M. Wege Professor of Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan and serves as Director of the Center for Sustainable Systems, which he cofounded in 1991.  He has appointments as Professor in the School for Environment and Sustainability and in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and co-directs MI Hydrogen, a cross campus enterprise to create hydrogen solutions that accelerate clean energy transitions.

His research focuses on the development and application of life cycle models and sustainability metrics to guide the design and improvement of products and technology.  He analyzes life cycle energy, greenhouse gas emissions, costs and other impacts of conventional and alternative vehicle technology, renewable energy technologies, buildings and infrastructure, and food systems to improve their sustainability.

He has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan and was recently named to the Reuters Hot List of the world’s top climate scientists.

New Wine in Old Bottle: Evolution of the Texas Electricity Market Since 2021 Blackouts and Broader Electricity System Implications

In February 2021 winter storm Uri left hundreds dead and tens of billions of dollars in losses in Texas. This talk will take an integrative stock of the lessons and insights that have emerged regarding the functioning of the ERCOT electricity market in the aftermath of Uri. By examining the nature of recent changes in electricity policy and regulation in ERCOT amid a vastly different federal policy landscape since Uri, the talk will explore the drivers of those changes and the implications for electricity system design and operations.

Dr. Varun Rai is the Walt and Elspeth Rostow Professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, with a joint appointment in Mechanical Engineering. His interdisciplinary research, delving with issues at the interface of energy systems, complex systems, decision science, and public policy, develops policy solutions for a sustainable and resilient energy system. During 2013-2015 he was a Commissioner for the vertically-integrated electric utility Austin Energy and from 2019-2021 he served as director of the UT Austin Energy Institute. Dr. Rai was awarded the 2016 David N. Kershaw Award and Prize, which “was established to honor persons who, at under the age of 40, have made a distinguished contribution to the field of public policy analysis and management.” He received his Ph.D. and MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur.

Energy Planning and Emissions Reductions: AEC-EMIT, SCC, and Equity

A brief introduction to applied work in the areas of energy planning and emissions reductions modeling. This presentation will include examples from the presenter’s work on emissions modeling in Puerto Rico, social cost of carbon analysis, and equity analysis within the climate and energy space. Attendees should review the work of the Applied Economics Clinic (here) and come prepared with questions on particular projects or reports.

Dr. Elizabeth A. Stanton is the founder and director of the Applied Economics Clinic. For bio and CV please see:

Student Job Opening: Graphic Design // Creative Specialist

Motivated to tell stories through visual communications? The Energy and Efficiency Institute (EEI) at the University of California, Davis, is seeking a graphic designer/creative specialist student to put their design skills to work assisting EEI’s Creative Specialist. Guided by EEI’s Creative Specialist, this position requires a student with a desire and motivation to learn and grow—to be curious and ask questions with the goal of becoming a graphic design professional. This person’s task will include creating website graphics, signage, logo design, brochure design, social media, photography, motion-graphics, and videography for EEI and its sister centers (Western Cooling Efficiency Center, Center for Water-Energy Efficiency).

Appointment length: Summer 2023 and the next school year
Salary: $16 hr.
Job Location:  1605 Tilia Street // Suite 100 // Davis, CA 95616
Anticipated Start Date: July 2023


  • Conceptualize, design, and produce artwork, graphics, and video for the energy cluster’s websites (EEI, WCEC, CWEE) , social media platforms, and Powerpoint presentations.
  • Design and layout brochures, Visual Abstracts, Case Studies, and Annual Reports
  • Second shooter of photography and videography for events and projects
  • Edit photos in Adobe Camera Raw
  • Edit videos in Adobe Premiere
  • Identify and implement social media/marketing opportunities through Twitter and LinkedIn



  • Graphic Design or related major
  • Portfolio demonstrating your visual capabilities (web-based preferred, but will accept printed)
  • Motivation to learn more and grow as a creative
  • Proficiency in Adobe Creative Suite (especially Illustrator, InDesign and CameraRAW)
  • Proficiency in Microsoft office suite and Google Docs
  • Excellent time-management skills: proactive communication regarding availability and deadlines
  • Hybrid work environment: Set days in the office, other days virtual


  • Demonstrates excellent illustrative talent that can create unique, visually compelling illustrations from technically complex subjects
  • Extensive photography experience with SLR and/or mirrorless SLR cameras that demonstrates a strong grasp of composition techniques and lighting
  • Videography experience that includes understanding how to utilize powered external lighting, off-camera audio, and gimbal usage
  • High proficiency in combining and editing multiple video and audio clips in Adobe Premiere and demonstrates skill in proper editing techniques
  • Experience creating motion graphics using Adobe After Effects with a heavier emphasis on animating vector graphics

Apply now on Handshake (Job #7982624)

EEI Seeking Post-Doctoral Researcher for Materials Decarbonization

The Energy and Efficiency Institute at the University of California, Davis, is seeking one post-doc to lead research in the area of low-carbon materials.  The post-doc  will participate in, lead, and develop new research projects in designing sustainable materials with an emphasis on assessing environmental burdens and integrating environmental impact assessment methods with material  performance. The post-doc will develop means to robustly assess local, regional, and global burdens from materials consumption. The research will focus on cement-based materials (e.g., concrete), bio-derived materials (e.g., wood), alloys (e.g., steel), and/or polymeric materials (e.g., plastic).

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MDSP: Contact & Support

Sabbie Miller
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
University of California Davis

Professor Alissa Kendall Wins Outstanding Faculty Award

Recognizing excellence in research and teaching, the College of Engineering celebrates its faculty members with outstanding faculty awards yearly. Departments nominate faculty members who are selected to receive the honors by the college’s Faculty Awards Committee.  

Alissa is one of four faculty members that will receive an outstanding faculty award at the College of Engineering Awards Celebration on May 25.

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MDSP: Research and Publications

TitleAuthorsTypeJournalPublish DateDescriptionDownloadCenter
OpenConcrete: a tool for estimating the environmental impacts from concrete productionAlyson Kim, Patrick R Cunningham, Kanotha Kamau-Devers and Sabbie A MillerPeer-reviewed ArticleIOP Science2022As the increasing global consumption of concrete drives notable environmental burdens from its production, particularly greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, interest in mitigation efforts is increasing. Yet current environmental impact quantification tools rely on user decision-making to select data for each concrete constituent, have inconsistent scopes and system boundaries, and often utilize third-party life cycle inventories. These factors limit customization or tracking of data and hinder the ability to draw robust comparisons among concrete mixtures to mitigate its environmental burdens. To address these issues, we introduce a cohesive, unified dataset of material, energy, and emission inventories to quantify the environmental impacts of concrete.Read Reportmdsp

MDSP: People

Sabbie Miller
Faculty Director

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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John Harvey
Faculty Affiliate

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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Alissa Kendall
Faculty Affiliate

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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Somayeh Nassiri
Faculty Affiliate

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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Kelly Kissock
Faculty Affiliate

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

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Barbara Linke
Faculty Affiliate

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

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Industrial Decarbonization Solutions Hub

Convenes industry, utilities, regulators, and researchers to reduce industrial GHG emissions and increase resiliency and load flexibility.

The Industrial Decarbonization Solutions Hub develops decarbonization roadmaps for industry that link efficiency, renewable energy and resiliency.

April 2022 held the first Industrial Decarbonization Solutions Symposium with over 100 attendees from California, US and abroad.