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ODU’s ECOnference ’13 to Address Issues from Environmental Sustainability to Sea Level Rise

Majora Carter

An internationally renowned urban revitalization eco-entrepreneur will deliver the keynote address at ECOnference '13, Old Dominion University's annual engineering, energy and environment conference, on Tuesday, April 16.

Majora Carter, a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster who is responsible for the creation and successful implementation of numerous green-infrastructure projects in the New York area, will give the lunchtime address at 12:15 p.m., at ODU's Ted Constant Convocation Center.

The event, co-sponsored by ODU Business Gateway and the Hampton Roads business journal Inside Business, brings together leaders in fields where engineering and the environment intersect, including leaders of green industries, the military, academia and interested citizens.

"We're proud to host the ECOnference at Old Dominion University every spring," said ODU President John R. Broderick, who will welcome participants to the daylong conference at 8 a.m. "The issues of environmental sustainability, economic development and alternative energy will be solved only if everyone is at the table. An event like the ECOnference is a perfect venue to spark meaningful debate."

ECOnference is expected to attract as many as 400 participants, who will come together to share ideas and information. Expert presenters include Tim Cole, chief sustainability officer for Virginia Beach City Public Schools; Christy Everett, director for Hampton Roads of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation; and Heather Wood, director of environmental affairs with the Virginia Port Authority.

Among the ODU faculty presenters will be Sylvain Marsillac, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and a national expert in solar energy research; Erika Marsillac, assistant professor of supply chain management who specializes in so-called "green" supply chain research; and Adrian Gheorghe, professor of engineering management and systems engineering.

Breakout sessions will cover green energy, greenhouse gas reduction for cities, industry challenges for environmental compliance, and connecting green building construction to economic sustainability.

Members of Team Tidewater, the joint Old Dominion University/Hampton University team that is competing in the Department of Energy's 2013 Solar Decathlon, will also appear at an afternoon session, discussing this year's entry in the worldwide event, Canopy House. It was a chance meeting at the 2010 conference that led to the creation of Team Tidewater, matching architecture students from HU with engineering students from ODU. At the 2011 Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C., Team Tidewater finished 14th.

ECOnference will also feature, for the first time, a panel dedicated to sea level rise, and the multi-pronged challenge it poses to low-lying coastal areas worldwide, especially Hampton Roads.

ODU's Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative (CCSLRI), founded three years ago, is an effort to draw academic experts from every ODU college in collaborative efforts to seek proactive solutions to the issues raised by rising sea levels.

CCSLRI director Larry Atkinson, Slover Professor of Oceanography at ODU, believes the discussion on climate change and sea level rise will be a good fit for the ECOnference.

"The challenge of adapting to increased flooding because of sea level rise and apparent increased storminess is something the whole mid-Atlantic region is facing," he said. "I'm glad to see as many forums as possible presenting the factual information on the topic, helping us all do what we can to make better and the most economical decisions."

For more information about ECOnference, visit the conference website at www.ECOnferenceVA.com, or call 757-683-5479.