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Susanna Sutherland

Environmental and Climate Sciences


Supervising Faculty: Brennan Smith

Susanna runs a small consulting firm that works nationally and globally with foundations, networks, and governments to advance the urban sustainability field. She is also pursuing a doctorate in Energy Science and Engineering. She started her career in a utility (Tennessee Valley Authority’s Environmental Policy and Planning division). She later joined TVA’s River Operations and Environment division, scheduling river flows for the 7-state system. In 2007, Susanna was recruited by the City of Knoxville to oversee final design of the waterfront redevelopment plan. In 2009, Susanna was tapped to develop the City’s first Sustainability Office with federal funds. While building the office into an established locally funded program, she co-founded the Southeast Sustainability Directors Network and contributed to publications with the National Academy of Sciences and the Environmental Law Institute. In 2013, she resigned to develop next steps in her academic and professional careers.


Susanna has completed Bredesen Center program coursework, as well as the Qualifying and Comprehensive exams. She plans to complete her dissertation work in 2017. Her ongoing dissertation research centers on the energy water nexus in urban water systems. The research objective is to provide tested, usable methodology for decision makers and urban water and energy system managers. This methodology is being designed so they can best determine: 1) opportunities for energy storage in urban water systems, 2) the benefits and costs of increasing energy storage capacity in urban water systems, and 3) translating increased energy storage capacity into increased water system resiliency.


Master of Science in Biosystems Engineering Technology with a focus on Water Quality, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources - University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies with a minor in Forestry, College of Arts and Sciences - University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Professional Service

  • Member, Foothills Land Conservancy (2016-2019)
  • Member, American Water Resources Association
  • Member, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
  • Member, Gamma Sigma Delta, the Honor Society of Agriculture

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2014 Green Achiever, Knoxville Business Journal
  • 2013 Knoxville’s 40 Under 40
  • 2013 U.S. Green Building Council East TN Chapter Advocacy Award
  • 2013 IBM Smart City designation (wrote and won grant for Knoxville)
  • 2013 Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Grant Award
  • 2013 & 2012 Southeast City Network Co-Chair with Asheville, NC (9 States)
  • 2013 & 2012 United Way Allocations Committees: Health, Income, Basic Needs
  • 2012 Top 20, Bloomberg Mayors Challenge (wrote grant for Knoxville)
  • 2012 Honorable Mention, Siemens Sustainable Communities Award
  • 2011 AIA Sustainable Design Award Juror
  • 2011 Outstanding Achiever, Renewable Energy Financing, Knoxville Chamber
  • 2011 ICLEI Southeast Advisory Board & Planning Committee Member
  • 2011 & 2010 United Way Loaned Executive
  • 2009 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfield Grant Recipient
  • 2004 The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, Chancellor's Citation for Extraordinary Academic Achievement


Google Scholar profile: Susanna Sutherland

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