Simmons Advises Clinton Climate Initiative

by | Nov 3, 2009 | Pressroom

Dr. Mark Simmons, a restoration ecologist at The University of Texas at Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, has been invited to join the technical advisory group for the Clinton Climate Initiative.

The Initiative of the William J. Clinton Foundation works with governments and businesses to address climate change by looking for ways to increase energy efficiency in cities, to catalyze sources of clean energy, and to prevent deforestation.

Simmons is the lead researcher on a number of projects aimed at improving the environmental quality of  urban landscapes such as the effectiveness of manufactured green roofs at cooling buildings and providing other environmental benefits. He is also studying a mixture of grasses native to the Southwest that require less watering, mowing and other maintenance approaches than traditional lawns made of grasses such as St. Augustine.

In addition, he leads Wildflower Center landscape restoration projects at government, commercial and residential sites in Austin and San Antonio. These projects involve the re-establishment of low-maintenance native landscapes that include features such as prairie, whose deep root systems sequester global warming-related carbon dioxide better than other forms of vegetation.

Among his colleagues on the Climate Positive Technical Resource Group are the director of Arup, a global firm helping lead the planning and building of China’s first eco-cities; and the president of Mithun, a leading architecture firm focused on sustainable design and urbanism. In 2007, Simmons and Wildflower Center colleagues worked with Mithun to design an online calculator for determining the carbon footprint of construction steps to improve the design of buildings.