In 2010, my expertise and research interests led me to partner with interdisciplinary faculty within the newly-formed Environmental Change Initiative (ECI) to develop the masterplan for a near-site, cutting-edge research facility to support critical climate and land use change research at Notre Dame. This initiative was part of a larger Strategic Research Investment by the University of Notre Dame (SRI 2009), under the leadership of Biology Faculty David Lodge and Gary Lamberti, with interdisciplinary co-investigators: Aimee Buccellato, Michael Lemmon (Electrical Engineering), and Jennifer Tank (Biology).

ND-LEEF Masterplan rendering by Aimee P. C. Buccellato

View fly-through animation of the future of ND-LEEF

The motivation for the campus is centered on the potential to design a series of structures that faculty, like me – and others from across the University – can design in and around experiments that are central to our work, to advance the capacity of our research at ND, and meanwhile achieve buildings that are truly at the forefront of building performance and sustainability; utilizing model technologies that can be developed for ND-LEEF, and developed further, for industry.

Applied Research at ND-LEEF

Examples of current and previous GSRP research efforts that can be advanced in a unique research environment, like ND-LEEF:


Environmentally Opportunistic Computing: a novel networked energy Technology to be deployed and advanced at ND-LEEF.


Kuert + TDTW

Industry-sponsored case studies (like those conducted with Kuert Concrete and Trillium Dell Timberworks) measure the impact of locality on material selection and manufacturing.

Case studies directly influence data structure research and collaborations with Semantic Web and LCA communities, EPA.

See GSRP Data Methods and Frameworks


Development of the first integrated life-cycle assessment for building design, capable of modeling the critical dependencies between multi-hazard resilience and sustainability, across the multiple contributing dimensions of environmental impact.

See NSF proposal


Using tools, like the GST, in the ND-LEEF campus design process to achieve state-of-the-art sustainable structures and to embed in the design of the structures full-scale experiments for anticipating and measuring building performance.

Develop novel building-and-occupant-networked feedback technologies to advance the design tools developed by GSRP; using machine-learning (Artificial Intelligence) to make GSRP decision-support frameworks even smarter and better at influencing sustainable building design.

See GSRP Decision Support

Additional research topics for potential development at ND-LEEF include research focused on climate control modeling, distributed sensing, and building automation systems. The Building Energy Research Group (BERG) was initiated in 2012 to explore potential research synergies across the University, including these areas suggested by Mechanical and Electrical Engineering faculty Panos Antsaklis, Sam Paolucci, and Mihir Sen.

Fly-through animation of the future of ND-LEEF video

ECI Mission video

AB appears after 2:47.

Digital Learning Modules video

Four Digital Learning Modules on Sustainable Building, an Education and Public Engagement Project

  • Interactive Digital Learning Modules on Sustainable Building
    Implementation Grant – Notre Dame Office of Digital Learning
    PI’s: A. Buccellato (ARCH with Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative/ ECI)
    PI effort: 50 hours; Production Team: 200 hours

Module 1

Module 2

Module 3

Module 4

@ A Glance
See All

Jennifer Tank

Biological Sciences
Director, ECI and ND-LEEF

Gary Lamberti

Biological Sciences

David Lodge

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Director, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future
Cornell University

  • SmithGroupJJR
  • TrilliumDell Timberworks
  • Kuert Concrete
  • Inovateus Solar
Affiliated Orgs