GREEN BUILDING, ENERGY, AND OUR globaL FUTURE
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Known as the "Founding Father of LEED," Robert Watson ’84 is a Principal at Upland Road Advisors, an innovator in waste separation and processing that can recycle 95% of the waste stream. Tune in as he talks with dean of the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth Alexis Abramson about the inevitable role of green building on our global future.
Robert Watson ’84
Rob Watson ’84, LEED Fellow, is an international leader in market transformation, green building, and sustainable tourism. He is best known as the “Founding Father of LEED,” (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) which he launched in 1993. Under Rob’s direction, LEED became the world’s largest, fastest-growing green building standard. Author Thomas Friedman called Rob "one of the best environmental minds in America." In 2002, Watson received the U.S. Green Building Council’s first Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2016, Watson founded the Solid Waste Environmental Excellence Performance (SWEEP) Standard, a comprehensive framework for triple bottom line performance of municipal solid waste programs and private solid waste companies. Rob currently is a Principal at Upland Road Advisors, an innovator in waste separation and processing that can recycle 95% of the waste stream. In 2019, Dartmouth Alumni Magazine recognized Watson as one of "25 Most Influential Alumni" in the College's 250-year history.
Alexis R. Abramson is the 13th dean of Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth. Prior to joining Dartmouth in 2019, Abramson was the Milton and Tamar Maltz Professor of Energy Innovation at Case Western Reserve University, where she had been a member of the mechanical and aerospace engineering faculty since 2003. From 2013 to 2018, she served as director, then co-director, of the university’s Great Lakes Energy Institute that focuses on research aimed at creating sustainable energy technology solutions. She also served as interim chair of Case Western Reserve’s electrical engineering and computer science department.
During the Obama administration, Abramson served as chief scientist and manager of the Emerging Technologies Division at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Program, which invests in the research, development, and commercialization of energy-efficient and cost-effective building technologies. In 2018, she served as technical adviser for Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a $1 billion effort launched by Bill Gates to combat human-driven climate change.
A recognized leader in sustainable energy technology and advanced energy research, Abramson’s scholarship centers on thermal characterization of nanostructures, nanomaterials for alternative energy applications, and virtual energy audits for building energy efficiency. An author of more than 60 peer-reviewed publications, Abramson earned her BS and MS in mechanical engineering from Tufts University and a PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.