Contact Us  |  Search:  
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Policy and Global Affairs
Home About Us STS Roundtable Sustainability Across The Academies
Quick Links


Download a description of our program

Upcoming Events

View a list of Sustainability-related meetings at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Recent Events

NELS: Ocean Sustainability and our nation's National Ocean Policy
April 14, 2016, Washington DC

Transition toward Sustainability after 15 Years: Where Do We Stand in Advancing the Scientific Foundation?: A Workshop

January 14-15, 2016, Newport Beach, CA

Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability
December 5-6, 2013

The National Academy of Sciences
2100 C Street NW
Washington, DC

Energy Water Power Plants CoverThe most recent meeting of the Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability was held on December 5-6, 2013. This was a second event of a Roundtable’s year-long initiative, addressing issues related to the energy-water nexus, a key sustainability issue, as adequate water and energy are critical to the continued economic security of the United States. Following up on the June 2013 Roundtable panel, which introduced and provided a broad overview of the energy-water nexus, the December 5 event delved deeper into this nexus and using a place-based approach, examined two examples that illustrate energy-water nexus issues associated with power plants. Specifically, the panel addressed how changing water conditions have affected the operations of power plants and the role of research on new water-saving technologies for power plants. The event was convened in collaboration with the Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences’ Board on Energy and Environmental Systems (DEPS/BEES) and the Division on Earth and Life Studies’ Water Science and Technology Board (DELS/WSTB). A brief summary of the event was issued in spring 2014.   

The December 6th event featured panel discussions addressing issues related to sustainability and public health, as sustainability efforts may affect human health and well-being in complex, crosscutting ways. A recent NRC report, Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connections and Governance Linkages, reiterated the importance of this relationship. The panel identified multifarious domains of sustainability with health implications, including urbanization and urban design, transportation, energy, and food and agriculture. The panel also discussed ways government entities and nongovernmental players could develop sustainability policies that equitably and effectively promote human health and well-being.

Roundtable members were provided with updates on recent STS publications including Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connections & Governance Linkages (June 2013) and Sustainable Energy and Materials: Addressing the Energy-Water Nexus (Summary from the June 2013 Roundtable Meeting). Updates on current and planned STS Program activities including Best Practices for Risk-Informed Remedy Selection, Closure, and Post-Closure Control of Contaminated Sites: A Workshop Series, Energy-Water Considerations for the Sustainable Reuse and Recycling of Waste Streams and Materials, Pathways to Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities as well as the ongoing Network for Emerging Leaders in Sustainability were also provided. Roundtable members also discussed strategic planning for future Roundtable activities.

Agenda and Presentations                                                                                                          

December 5, 2013

8:30 am      Welcome, Introductions and Meeting Goals
                     Thomas Graedel, Yale University/Ann Bartuska, U.S. Department of Agriculture, STS Roundtable Co-Chairs

Addressing the Energy-Water Nexus: Power Plants and Partnerships (Paulo Ferrão, Technical University of Lisbon)

9:00 am       Introduction to Panel
                      Paulo Ferrão, Technical University of Lisbon 

9:10 am       Overview of Water Use and Power Generation
                      Michael Hightower, Sandia National Laboratories 

9:30 am       Panel I: Water Availability and Power Generation  

10:10 am     Q&A and Discussion  

10:40 am     BREAK 

11:00 am     Panel II: Water Use and Power Generation: Technological Advances, Gaps, and Research Needs 

11:40 am     Q&A and Discussion

12:00 pm     LUNCH

1:00 pm       Panel III: Public Private Partnerships on Addressing the Energy-Water Nexus

2:20 pm       Q&A and Discussion 

2:50 pm       BREAK 

3:10 pm       Ron Faibish, U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources 

3:30 pm       Discussion: Developing a List of Key Questions related to the Energy-Water Nexus
                      Moderator: Steve Bergman, Shell International Exploration & Production Company 

4:00 pm       BREAK

Current Activities               

4:10 pm       Sustainability Linkages in the Federal Government
                      Thomas Graedel, Yale University, STS Roundtable Co-Chair 

4:20 pm       Best Practices for Risk-Informed Remedy Selection, Closure, and Post-Closure Control of Contaminated Sites
                      Mike Kavanaugh, Geosyntec Consultants 

4:30 pm       Energy-Water Considerations for the Sustainable Reuse and Recycling of Waste Streams and Materials
                      Carl Shapiro, U.S. Geological Survey 

4:40 pm       Pathways to Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities
                      Alan Hecht, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 

4:50 pm       STS Program and Publication Updates
                      Marina Moses, National Research Council 

4:55 pm       Wrap up and Plans for next day  

5:00 pm       Adjourn 

December 6 

8:30 am      Welcome and Feedback from Previous Day
                      Thomas Graedel, STS Roundtable Co-Chair

Sustainability, Human Health and Well-Being (Howard Frumkin, University of Washington)                       

8:40 am       Introduction to Panel
                      Howard Frumkin, University of Washington School of Public Health                                                                               

8:50 am       Panel I: Domains of Sustainability with Health Implications

10:10 am     Q&A and Discussion 

10:40 am     BREAK 

11:00 am     Panel II: Translation of Sustainability Science to Public Health

11:40 am     Q&A and Discussion 

12:00 pm     Strategic Planning for Future Roundtable Activities (Thomas Graedel, STS Roundtable Co-Chair)  

12:20 pm     Wrap up

12:30 pm     Adjourn 

This website contains unedited verbatim presentations made by workshop participants and is not an official report of the National Academies. Opinions and statements included in this material are solely those of the individual authors. They have not been verified as accurate, nor do they necessarily represent the views of other workshop participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies.