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The Green Building Matters Podcast with Charlie Cichetti

Oct 10, 2018

Vivian Loftness is a University Professor and former Head of the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University.  She is an internationally renowned researcher, author, and educator with over thirty years of focus on environmental design and sustainability, climate, and regionalism in architecture and design for performance in the workplace of the future.  Her research has contributed to innovative design projects with leading architectural firms, the General Services Administration, and international governments. She has served on ten National Academy of Science (NAS) panels, the NAS Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment, and has given four Congressional testimonies on sustainability.


Vivian Loftness – Sustainability Minded Early

Vivian received her BS and MS in Architecture form MIT and has served on several National Boards.  She is a registered architect and a LEED Fellow. She knew as early as high school she wanted to be part of the environmental movement.  Vivian had the opportunity to travel to Finland on a Rotary Scholarship and focused on modern architecture and continues to be sustainability minded.


Mentors with Different Backgrounds

Vivian’s first mentor was her father.  He was a Physicist focusing of energy from the supply side while Vivian was on the demand side.  He gave her incredible insight and taught her the way energy was going to change practice. She credits John Everhart, an MIT Advisor and Fred Dubin, an engineer she worked with.  Lastly, she had the privilege of joining her husband, Volker Hartkopf at Carnegie Mellon who was involved in the heart of both energy and environmental design.

“It’s absolutely invaluable to have a partner and a spouse who is as dedicated to the same kind of revolution you are.” – Vivian Loftness.         


Greatest Achievements

Vivian’s proudest achievements include serving on several boards in advocacy roles.  Hence, accomplishments in research and practice. Vivian was part of a collaborative team that built a 7,000 square foot Living Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon to explore and research the next generation of lighting, facades, mechanical, networking and interior systems.

”It’s a real wonder to know that we’ve been able to transform education and practice to a certain extent.” – Vivian Loftness


Book Recommendations:

Vivian recommends to start with books on biophilic foundations, cities and patterns.  There is a series by author Stephen R. Kellert that she believes everyone should read.  

Amazon Link to Stephen R. Kellert books


To hear more about Vivian’s connection with sustainability, download and listen to the episode!

Learn more about Vivian Loftness:  


University Website Profile


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