Dissertation Award

SURESH MUTHULINGAM, University of California, Los Angeles
"The Adoption of Sustainable Operating Practices "


Suresh Muthulingam of the UCLA Anderson School of Management has been named a winner of The Aspen Institute's 2008 Dissertation Proposal Award. His primary research interest, which he is investigating in a series of essays for his dissertation, is the adoption of environmentally sustainable operating practices. Further, he hopes to develop models which aid businesses in understanding the benefits of adopting these sustainable practices.


The first essay of Muthulingam's dissertation pertains to the “Adoption of Green Building Practices”. He is studying this because of the significant impact building have on the environment. In the US, buildings account for 37% of primary energy use, 35% of CO2 emissions and 49% of SO2 emissions. Green building practices evolved as a way to reduce the negative environmental impact across the complete lifecycle of buildings.


The second essay of the dissertation pertains to the “Diffusion of Energy Conservation

Measures”. The energy literature asserts that there exists an energy efficiency gap between energy use on one hand and optimal energy use on the other hand. Many explanations have been put forth in the literature to explain the energy efficiency gap, however the literature has not been able to clearly ascertain the magnitude of the gap and determine if the gap is changing over time. This study plans to use the data on the energy audits done by the Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC) under the auspices of the US Department of Energy, which contains more than 13,000 assessments of various small and medium companies done by the IAC across the US from 1984 to 2007. The data pertains to over 100,000 recommendations on specific energy saving, pollution reduction and productivity improvement initiatives. The dataset will enable Muthulingam to determine the energy-efficiency gap across various firms, geographies,

industries and usage technologies.


The third essay of Muthulingam's dissertation focuses on the “Cost of CO2 reduction”. He is looking into the costs required to reduce CO2 emissions, and expects to use the same data on the energy audits done by the IAC's. The data will enable him to ascertain the costs required to save each additional unit of CO2 and thus establish CO2 abatement costs curves, and establish the costs related to various classes of energy conservation measures and their impact on reducing CO2 emissions. He hopes to ascertain a prioritization of possible measures that can be adopted by firms in their efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. This study will thus provide a roadmap to managers of the possible strategies they can adopt in order to meet their requirements under a probable cap and trade regime for carbon emissions.


You can view Suresh Muthulingam's CV here.



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