Several academic centers at Penn are engaged in research or instruction related to environmental sustainability, or perform outreach related to issues of climate change. These are non-degree granting educational units of the university grown out of a desire to integrate sustainability into existing areas of study or practice.


Center for Environmental Building and Design

The Center for Environmental Building & Design is a faculty research unit at the School of Design dedicated to improving the environmental future of contemporary buildings and cities. We must look beyond building efficiency standards and net-zero formulations to design truly resilient buildings and cities.

CEET community engagement

The mission of the Center for Excellence in Environmental Toxicology is to elucidate the mechanistic links between environmental exposures and human disease and translate its findings into action to improve the health of vulnerable individuals, and local, national and global communities.

The Environmental Innovations Initiative will be designed to bring together researchers, scholars and students to develop new ideas and innovative solutions for our global environment.

City of Philadelphia skyline

The Penn Institute for Urban Research is dedicated to advancing cross-disciplinary urban-focused research, instruction, and civic engagement on issues relevant to cities around the world.

Kleinman Center for Energy Policy opening

The Kleinman Center supports a vibrant network of energy research at the University of Pennsylvania.

Green New Deal conference from McHarg Center

The Center’s mission is to build on PennDesign’s position as a global leader in urban ecological design by bringing environmental and social scientists together with planners, designers, policy-makers, and communities to develop practical, innovative ways of improving the quality of life in the places most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

boat with Philly skyline

PPEH is a collective of scholars, students, artists, scientists, and educators whose mission is to generate local and global awareness and engagement in the emergent area of the environmental humanities.

Vagelos Professor in Energy Research Thomas Mallouk

The Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology was established in 2016 through the generosity of Roy and Diana Vagelos with the vision to make Penn home to one of the premier energy research and technology centers in the nation.

rowers on schuylkill river

The Water Center is engaging the University community with regional decision makers, national thought leaders and global water practitioners for the purpose of developing integrated and innovative urban water strategies that address public health, infrastructure, and the socioeconomic and environmental challenges of long-term urban water sustainability and resilience. 

flooding from Hurricane Katrina

The Wharton Risk Center is recognized worldwide as a leader in risk-related research and policy analysis. Through the Business, Climate, and Environment Lab, the center supports cutting edge research, provides thought leadership, and brings together stakeholders from academia, government, communities, and the private sector to design smart public and private sector policies related to climate and environmental challenges.