University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations
November 1, 2012
Contact: Dr. Andrew Whelton, Department of Civil Engineering, (251) 460-6174

USA Professors Awarded NSF Grant for Green Building Research

University of South Alabama civil engineering professor Dr. Andrew Whelton and chemistry professor Dr. Alexandra Stenson were recently awarded a $298,000 National Science Foundation grant to determine the degree plastic piping being installed in green buildings impacts drinking water odor and chemical composition.
Their project is entitled “Towards a Safer and Greener Indoor Environment: Chemical Liberation from Polyethylene Plumbing Pipe.” It addresses a critical need in better understanding how materials being used in green buildings affect their building occupants.

The USA team of professors will test more than eight brands of plastic pipe used throughout the country and identify the degree these plastics affect drinking water chemical and aesthetic quality. The researchers will also test drinking water from residential homes located in Alabama, New York and Pennsylvania to document how these plastic pipes impact drinking water quality.

A unique aspect of their project is that the professors along with Rebecca Bryant, managing principal of Watershed, Inc., will develop a green building training module for practicing engineers, architects, plumbers and contractors. This research will be directly placed into the hands of the general public and building professionals who build and renovate green buildings.

Federal and nonprofit agencies also interested in their results include the U.S. Green Building Council, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the American Water Works Association.

A real-time update of their project will be posted on Professor Whelton’s blog (

For more information, please contact Dr. Andrew Whelton at (251) 460-6174.


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