Sarah Marie Jordaan

Sarah Marie Jordaan

Assistant Professor
Energy, Resources and Environment
Canadian Studies

1740 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036


  • Climate Policy
  • Comparative Regional Analysis
  • Energy Technology Innovation
  • Land use and Water Consumption of Energy Developments
  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Spatial Analysis of Energy and Environmental Policies
  • English
  • French

Background and Education

Dr. Sarah Jordaan's research is aimed at uncovering the environmental and economic trade-offs related to energy decisions and more typically those trade-offs related to the life cycle of energy technologies.  Her research is at the intersection of science, technology, and policy, so her publications focus on not only life cycle assessment but also more broadly on technology assessment, energy policy, and innovation. 

Her former students, research associates, and postdoctoral fellows come from a broad spectrum of academic disciplines ranging from engineering to business, economics, and political science.  Her courses are aimed towards educating students from all of these disciplines and enabling them to tackle the toughest problems in energy and environment using defensible approaches.  Her students and scholars have carried on to advanced academic education, government, and industry.

Prior to joining Johns Hopkins SAIS, Dr. Jordaan was an Assistant Professor of Energy Policy and Politics at the University of Calgary. There, she supervised graduate students in completing their degrees in either political science or sustainable energy.  She taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in political science and engineering.  She has also supervised graduate students from Lehigh's Energy Systems Engineering program.  She seeks to bridge disciplinary knowledge for students and prepare them to take on challenges in decision-making regardless of whether they want a career in academia, industry, the public sector, or working for a non-profit.

Professor Jordaan has over a decade of experience researching energy and the environment with award winning publications on climate policy and the water implications of energy technologies. Her foundations in government and public policy were strengthened at Harvard University with the Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group at the Kennedy School of Government and she gained greater insight into climate science at the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. She has held positions with the Electric Power Research Institute, Shell Canada, the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the University of California, San Diego, and the Ocean Sciences Center at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. She earned her PhD in 2010 at the University of Calgary in Environmental Design at the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Economy, and Environment. Her Bachelor's degree is in Physics with a minor in Computer Science from Memorial University.

Download Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

2016-07-19 00:00:00 
The evolution o...
The evolution of our energy systems depends not only on economics, resource availability, and technology but also the policies we employ to encourage or discourage decisions.  Society faces a variety of competing and pressing concerns, including energy security, climate change, and economics. The influence of these factors in decision-making and the subsequent policy response by government varies across countries. How do decision-makers in the United States and Canada respond to energy challenges? What policies have been politically palatable and employed in practice? In this course, the driving forces for decision-making in energy as well as the subsequent policies that are applied in Canada and the United States will be covered.   
Life cycle asse...
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is technique that is widely used by businesses, government, and civil society to quantify environmental impacts of products and processes from cradle-to-grave (or even cradle-to-cradle).   Studies employing this technique have uncovered surprising environmental findings, including the trade-offs between plastic and glass bottles, the upstream impacts of gasoline produced from the Canadian Oil Sands, and the hidden impacts of zero emissions vehicles.   Results from this assessment tool can improve decisions about products and processes due to hidden environmental impacts and benefits across the life cycle, but defensible methods must be employed.
This course will provide a comprehensive introduction to LCA, an internationally recognized tool that is promoted by organizations such as the United Nations Environmental Program (through the Life Cycle Initiative).   LCA methodology will be introduced, including goal and scope definition, inventory analysis, impact assessment and interpretation. Software employed in LCA will be introduced.  While LCAs of different products will be examined, an emphasis will be placed on energy technologies.