UK’s Richard Levine and Ernie Yanarella get awards

Two of the University of Kentucky’s best-known professors and environmentalists are getting awards.

On Thursday, Ernest Yanarells will get the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration’s 2010 William E. Lyons Award.
Here’s what the invitation to the presentation ceremony says:

Dr. Yanarella is a professor of Political Science at the University of Kentucky. In addition to his scholarly contributions and teaching at the University, both of which have been recognized with University awards, he has been active in service to the University, Lexington, and the Commonwealth. His service to the University includes terms as Chair of the Senate Council, Presiding Office of the University Senate, and faculty representative to the Board of Trustees. Professor Yanarella is founding co-chair of the Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice, Founder of the Citizens for Informed Voting in the Commonwealth initiative and has served on the boards of numerous organizations including Kentucky Youth Advocates and the Kentucky Civil Liberties Union.

Levine, meanwhile, has received an international award for his “Continuing Contributions” to the field of solar energy.

Here’s the release on that:

Richard S. Levine, a long-standing innovator in solar architecture and sustainability, has been honored for his achievements with the Passive Solar Pioneer Award from the American Solar Energy Society. The award recognizes those who have contributed significant innovations to the environmentally responsive use of direct solar energy for lighting, ventilation, heating, and cooling. Levine’s “Foresight, innovative thinking, and creativity opened the doors for others,” according to Bradley Collins, Executive Director of the American Solar Energy Society. Levine’s career has spanned over 40 years, as a professor of architecture, innovative building designer, and sustainability expert. His continuing contributions in passive theory and practice have significantly enlarged the way we think about the context of solar architecture and sustainability at both the building as well as the community scale.

The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) established the Passive Solar Pioneer award in 1979 to honor “Distinguished members of the solar field who are true pioneers.” Past winners have included: Bruce Anderson- A founder of Earth Day (1990), Ralph Lewis Knowles- who documented the dynamic, interactive effects of ecological forces and was the first recipient of the prestigious gold medal for research of the AIA (American Institute of Architects) (2003); Edward Mazria –who wrote the Passive Solar Handbook and leads the 2030 challenge which promises to provide the level of building performance to reach sustainability standards (1994); Ken Haggard and Polly Cooper who conduct a pioneering practice in architecture and sustainability (1996); as well as Native Americans (1991)- whose resourceful patterns of living with nature form an enduring inspiration.

Levine is an architect and professor with over 200 publications on solar energy and urban sustainability. He is widely recognized for his achievements in environmental and passive solar architecture, solar energy, and sustainability. A holder of US patents on structural systems and solar energy applications, he is the architect of a number of award-winning solar buildings. He is the co-director of the Center for Sustainable Cities at the University of Kentucky, and the principal architect at the CSC Design Studio ( His Raven Run Solar House, built in 1975, continues to be published internationally in both professional and popular publications. The house was the first to integrate active and passive systems with an attached greenhouse and super-insulation. Its groundbreaking contribution was to show how complex synergies can emerge from the strategic use of a number of mutually supportive technologies. His work on the award-winning Hooker Chemical Building in 1978 was a true trend-setter in commercial architecture. Using only 12% of the energy of a conventional office building, its pioneering innovations were widely emulated in Europe and continue to influence energy conserving large buildings around the world. ASES cited Hooker as “The bridge between the creation of the passive solar movement in the United States and its elaboration in Europe.” Even today, when solar photovoltaic panels are often thought of as add-ons to conventional buildings, Levine’s pioneering integrative design strategies have continued relevance as cutting edge contributions to economical high performance sustainability driven building design.

Levine’s work has continued to demonstrate an artful synthesis of performance, architecture, and aesthetic contributions through integrative design for energy and architectural performance. As Levine has recently written: “Energy saving Components are much more efficient when designed and integrated into a building conceived as a whole, integrated system. Ultimately all our work in solar energy will be of greatest value when it facilitates the transition to a sustainable way of life in our towns and cities. This can only happen when major aspects of life in cities, from lifestyles to resource use, food production, and mobility are studied systemically through an Alternative Scenario Building process. The 21st century city will be a place where the urban metabolism can be balanced to work within the limits of the natural environment through democratic, participatory, scenario-building processes. ”

Writing that Levine’s multiple contributions are long overdue for recognition in the United States, the nominating committee cited Levine as an “Outstanding contributor both in character and work contribution to the entire movement.” Citing a “Unique combination of building research, design, and built projects” they went on to state: “Unprecedented energy use and worldwide urbanization has now made the continuing work of Professor Levine critically important.”

Levine’s own home, the Raven Run Solar House is Kentucky’s pioneer solar building. A recent upgrade of the attached architectural studio for his CSCDS firm with 30, 175 watt photovoltaic solar panels has rendered the entire property energy neutral. The CSC Design Studio specializes in designing livable and affordable zero-net energy homes and sustainable communities.
The Raven Run House and CSC Design Studio are sited on 30 picturesque wooded acres in Southern Fayette County. Levine and his associates host quarterly tours through Bluegrass Greenworks, and the Kentucky Solar Energy Society. When asked about his experience working at a pioneering local and national landmark, CSCDS associate Casey Mather remarked: “We knew we had hit zero-net energy when the meter reader from Blugrass Energy kept coming out to check if our electric meter was functioning correctly.”