Albert Appleton

Senior Fellow with the Institute for Sustainble Design

Albert F. Appleton (Al Appleton) is an international environmental and infrastructure consultant with interlocking expertise in water resource and water utility management, infrastructure economics, public finance, land use and landscape preservation. He is recognized worldwide as one of the leading experts in the economics of sustainable development and the use of new green financial strategies such as Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) to achieve mutually supporting economic development and environmental protection goals.

During the first half of the 1990s, Mr. Appleton served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Director of the New York City Water and Sewer system, where he developed and implemented groundbreaking innovations that saved New York City billions of dollars. Since the mid-1990s, Mr. Appleton has done sustainable water resources development and ecosystem services development work in numerous foreign countries as well as the United States.

His current work, all of which is proceeding to implementation, includes assisting the Queensland Bulk Water Authority in organizing a program of catchment basin protection, assisting the United States Forest Service (Region 5) in developing and carrying out an ecosystems service strategy to fund the ecological restoration of California's national forests, advising a network of Mid-Atlantic environmental and civic groups on insuring that the use of hydrofracking to obtain natural gas from shale formations is done in a sustainable fashion, developing and carrying out an ecosystems service strategies to restore the Tisza River flood plain in Hungary, and helping design a new generation of water resource management institutions for the Province of Alberta. 

Mr. Appleton is Senior Fellow at The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design and Adjunct Associate Professor at the Cooper Union where he teaches an advanced concepts seminar on the problem of sustainability and its economics.  He has lectured widely and contributed to publications on these and other topics concerning environmental preservation and sustainable development.

Mr. Appleton is a graduate B.A. (Honors) of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington (Political Science and Mathematics) and of Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.