(SAVANNAH, GA) –  The Savannah chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council will host a panel discussion about coastal climate change issues and how energy choices affect the coast. The discussion on Tuesday, Sept. 25 is free and open to the public.

“Though global warming contributes to the degradation of many types of landscapes and habitats, Georgia’s coast is singularly threatened by our current energy production and consumption habits,” said panel moderator Patty McIntosh, Vice President for Coastal Programs at the Georgia Conservancy. “For coastal residents, supporting sustainable energy is key in providing a prosperous future that respects the land and resources that make this area so enticing and embracing.”

One topic for the panel will be “Ocean Wave and Tidal Energy Potential for the Southeast U.S.” Kevin A Haas, Ph.D., will discuss the amount of ocean energy available as well as methodologies for extracting the energy on small scales. Haas is an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Savannah campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“As the world's population continues to migrate closer to the coasts, and energy demands continue to increase, clean and renewable ocean energy becomes a more attractive option to incorporate into a balanced energy portfolio,” Haas said.

The other topic will be ocean acidification and offshore generation of energy from wind power. Richard Jahnke, Ph.D., of the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography will briefly review the role of the coastal ocean in climate change. He will focus on impacts of climate change on coastal ecosystems such as sea level rise and ocean acidification, the role of the ocean in mitigating the influence of rising greenhouse gases, pressures on coastal areas by climate change and human population growth, and the potential for offshore wind energy generation.

The meeting will be held Tuesday, Sept. 25 from 5:45-7 p.m. on the second floor of Wild Wing Cafe in City Market. RSVP to Tommy Linstroth by Sept. 21 at: tlinstroth@melaver.com

Haas joined the Georgia Tech Institute of Technology as part of the Georgia Tech Regional Engineering Program based in Savannah in January 2003.  He is part of the team developing a new program in Coastal Engineering at Georgia Tech Savannah.  Haas’ research interests are in nearshore processes including the study of waves, currents, sediment fluxes, beach evolution and the exploitation of the ocean as an alternative energy source. He received the Delaware Sea Grant award for most outstanding research by a student for his Ph.D. research.

In addition to his work with the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, Jahnke has served as the Director of the Ocean Research Interactive Observatories Network (ORION) Program, a $331M National Science Foundation initiative to install research observatories in the ocean. He currently serves as the Chair of ORION's advisory board, the Chair of the Science Steering Committee of the National Science Foundation's Coastal Ocean Processes Program and as the Institute's Associate Director.

McIntosh manages the Conservancy’s coastal office and oversees the organization’s program activities related to coastal growth management and protection of coastal resources. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Georgia Conservancy is a statewide, non-profit organization that collaborates, advocates and educates to protect Georgia's natural environment.

The Savannah Chapter of the United States Green Building Council is dedicated to promoting sustainable design and green building throughout the Creative Coast. The group meets monthly on the fourth Tuesday of the month on the second floor of Wild Wing Cafe in City Market. The meetings are open to the public, and everyone is encouraged to attend. The USGBC-Savannah Chapter seeks to educate the public on the long-term benefits of green building and how sustainable design can be integrated or implemented into one's life.


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