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Sustainable Energy

IUP possesses several unique areas of faculty expertise, research interests, and academic curriculums that can support research partnerships, collaborative projects, and educational outreach in traditional and alternative energy sectors. Interdisciplinary teams of faculty members led by the Department of Geography and Regional Planning and the Department of Geoscience spearhead the university’s energy initiatives in research, resource development, and education/outreach. Below are links to the many energy-related projects.

Beaver Run Reservoir

Quick Facts about PA Energy:

  • Pennsylvania was the fourth largest coal-producing state in the nation in 2012, and the only state producing anthracite coal, which has a higher heat value than other kinds of coal.
  • Pennsylvania’s annual gross natural gas production, primarily from the Marcellus Shale, exceeded 2 trillion cubic feet in 2012, a 72 percent increase over 2011 production.
  • The first commercial U.S. nuclear power plant came online in 1957 in Shippingport and operated until 1982; in 2013, Pennsylvania ranked second in the nation in electricity generation from nuclear power. 
  • Pennsylvania generated 40 percent of its net electricity from coal and 35 percent from nuclear power in 2013.
  • Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards require 18 percent of electricity sold by compliance year 2020–21 to come from approved renewable or alternative sources, including at least 0.5 percent solar photovoltaic power. In 2013, renewable energy accounted for almost 4 percent of Pennsylvania’s net electricity generation.
  • Natural gas (38 percent) provides heat to more Pennsylvania homes than any other fuel, but electricity (29 percent), fuel oil (20 percent), and propane (9 percent) are also widely used in the state, according to EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey.

(source: U.S. Energy Information Administration)

Current Initiatives:

  • GIS and Database Management
  • Environmental Geophysics
    • Abandoned gas well mapping
  • Water Quality
  • Forest and Wildlife Ecology
  • Safety Sciences
    • Accident analysis
    • OSHA Consultation Program
  • Air-quality
    • Hydrocarbon emission modeling
  • Community Outreach, Education, and Planning
  • Workforce Development
    • Energy resources: Geosciences 
    • Energy geotechnology/environmental compliance: Geography and Regional Planning
    • Safety, health, and environmental applied science: Safety Sciences 

Department of Geography and Regional Planning

Energy Research Capabilities:

Spatial Environmental Analysis, Geographic Information Systems/Cartography, Underground Mine Mapping Research, Wind-Energy Placement Planning, Transporta-tion, Infrastructure, Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) Technology

Related Research:

Wind-Energy Planning, Modeling of Wildlife/Wind Energy Conflicts, Geographic Information Systems for Acid Mine Drainage Remediation Planning, Monitoring Beaver Run Reservoir


Spatial Environmental Analysis Laboratory, James E. Payne Geographic Information Systems/Cartography Lab

Department of Geoscience

Energy Research Capabilities:

Subsurface stratigraphy, particle size and shape analysis, stream discharge, sediment flow, environmental geophysics

Related Research:

Sedimentology, Paleontology, Structural Geology and Tectonics, Steam Flow, Hydrology, Environmental Geo-physics, Mineralogical Analysi


Sedimentary Geology, Paleontology, ICP-OES Geochemistry, Structural Geology and Tectonics, X-ray Dif-fraction, Stream Monitoring, Geophysical Subsurface Charac-terization

Department of Anthropology

Energy Capabilities:

Cultural resource investigations, ethnographic studies, community education and outreach 

Related Research:

Shallow subsurface surveying, community education and survey training, social impacts of energy development, sustainable development in Appalachia 

Research Centers or Laboratories:

Archeological Services, Mobile Spatial Data Acquisition Laboratory, Visual Anthropology Laboratory 

Department of Safety Sciences

Energy Capabilities:

Occupational safety and health, safety management, construction safety, environmental safety, workforce training, wind safety and manufacturing, natural gas drilling (shallow and deep). Safety Sciences highly differentiates IUP for energy research and workforce training and can add a unique perspective to energy research design. Safety Sciences helps to secure the safety of all workers while also increasing the knowledge of federal, state, and local compliance and regulatory matters.


  • Occupational safety and health
  • Industrial hygiene
  • Systems safety
  • Legal aspects of safety, health, and environmental regulations
  • Fire safety
  • Safety management
  • Ergonomics
  • Construction safety
  • Environmental safety
  • Hazardous materials
  • Emergency preparedness

Department of Chemistry

Energy Capabilities:

Water-Quality Testing

Related Research:

Investigating the Effects of Acid Mine Drainage and Marcellus Shale Wells on Water Quality

Department of Sociology

Energy Capabilities:

Organize and facilitate community-based participatory research to promote citizen/public involve-ment and education, collect and interpret data, implement communication initiatives, and assist local government with public policy decision-making. 

Department of Biology

Energy Research Capabilities:

Forestry and Wildlife Ecology, including Wildlife Conserva-tion, Habitat Management, Impacts of Human Disturbance on Biodiversity and Ecosystem carbon cycling

Related Research:

Forest reclamation, wildlife ecology and conservation, habitat management and restoration, wildlife-habitat relationships, large mammal restoration, small population biology

Department of Physics

Energy Research Capabilities:

Computation of material properties and modeling of modern multi-junction solar-cells using silicon and novel III-N semiconductor materi-als. Experimental measurement of electric, electronic, magnetic and optical properties of materials and novel devices.

Related Research:

Actively pursuing air quality measure-ments in the vicinity of conventional and unconventional natural gas wells at Beaver Run reservoir in West-moreland County, PA. Investigating methods for finding and assessing fugitive natural gas emissions from aban-doned wells as part of a Dominion 2014 Higher Educa-tional Partnership grant.


gas chromatography, mid-wave and long-wave IR optical absorption laboratory, laser-based gas sensing. 


Dr. Deanne Snavely 
Dean, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

IUP Magazine, Spring 2013

Read about IUP’s energy sustainability initiatives in the IUP Magazine cover story.

  • Energy Sustainability Initiative
  • Weyandt Hall, Room 305
    975 Oakland Avenue
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-2609
  • Fax: 724-357-5700
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.