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Earth Day: Lawrence Tech practices the environmental principles it teaches

Release Date: April 20, 2010

Southfield, Michigan – Lawrence Technological University has taken the lead in sustainability and environmental education for decades, and many concepts that are taught in the classroom have been put into practice on campus.

On Earth Day this Thursday, Lawrence Tech will be part of the inaugural class of Michigan Green Leaders selected by the Detroit Free Press for 2010.

“We really do try to practice what we teach,” said Joseph Veryser, the university architect who is also associate dean of the College of Architecture and Design, and director of Lawrence Tech’s Center for Sustainability.

Lawrence Tech offers courses, student projects, concentrations and tracks in sustainability in engineering, the sciences, architecture, design, and management. Last fall Lawrence Tech introduced a five-year program for a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree in architectural engineering, which emphasizes the use of engineering principles to maximize the sustainability of buildings.

Certificates are offered in alternative energy engineering technology, energy and environmental management, energy engineering and sustainable architecture. Lawrence Tech students can now earn a bachelor’s degree in environmental chemistry.

Sustainability is also a top priority at Lawrence Tech’s A. Alfred Taubman Student Services Center, which opened in 2006 and has earned Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). It serves as a “living laboratory” of sustainable site development and construction, water and energy efficiency, recycled materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. A system of 120 geothermal wells heats and cools the building. The center’s 10,000-square-foot living green roof absorbs most of a normal rainfall, and the remainder drains into a 12,000-gallon cistern to be used as “gray” water.

Lawrence Tech’s Center for Sustainability advances education and research in sustainable design, manufacturing and commerce. Its interdisciplinary academic, research, and professional programs promote sustainable design and development. It also sponsors the Seminars on Sustainability (SOS) for the Environment and has worked to integrate sustainability into the curricula of the University’s four colleges.

Lawrence Tech’s Great Lakes Stormwater Management Institute educates students, homeowners, policy makers and industry professionals on how to improve water quality in the region by implementing innovative stormwater management practices. Many best practices can be seen on campus, such as a bioswale, bioretention walls (rain gardens), riparian buffer zones (native landscaping), and the use of porous pavers. A weir system, tile fields, long-rooted grasses and trees prevent 60 percent of the rainwater that falls on the campus quadrangle from running into the Rouge River. These practices are part of Lawrence Tech’s commitment to regional watershed stewardship and advocacy of low impact development.

For more information, visit or contact Veryser at (248) 204-2818 or

Lawrence Technological University,, offers more than 100 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management. Founded in 1932, the 4,500-student, private university pioneered evening classes and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus is in Southfield, and programs are also offered in Detroit, Lansing, Petoskey and Traverse City. Lawrence Tech also offers programs with partner universities in Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.