The internet is killing the environment. These students came up with a brilliant design fix

Last year, Google teamed up with an interdisciplinary group of students from the University of Washington, the University of Arizona, and the University of Pennsylvania to design more sustainable data centers. The yearlong exploration, supported with funding from Google and expert input from Microsoft, resulted in proposed data centers that use 100% renewable energy.

“It’s a really complex problem,” says architect Julie Kriegh, who led the design studio at the University of Washington along with Hyun Woo “Chris” Lee, a professor in construction management. “We thought of it as a moon shot. So it had to be something where the rules didn’t really apply anymore.”

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Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative Wins $1M Grant

The Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative and Co-PI’s Mark Jarzombek and Vikram Prakash are happy to announce its receipt of funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This $1,000,000.00, three year award will allow GAHTC to fund the production of teaching modules, as well as Teacher-to-Teacher Workshops and Global Connections Fellowships. This is the third installment of a grant that was first awarded in 2013 for a total of $3.5 million.

Mission

At a time of rapid technological change and professional specialization, we can easily forget that the most important mission of schools and universities is to offer inspiring and horizon-expanding teaching to the next generation. Survey courses play a particularly important role as they open the world to students and help give them critical purchase on their own landscapes and lives. A good survey course balances breadth with depth, but in an ever-expanding world that balance can be lost, meaning that the problem is not just how to teach students, but how to prepare teachers. The GAHTC’s mission is to provide cross-disciplinary, teacher-to-teacher exchanges of ideas and material, in order to energize and promote the teaching of all periods of architectural history in a global way, especially at the survey level. Via our online platform, our workshops, grants and conferences, we support teachers in the class room.

Goals and Implementation

We will therefore focus less on outreach and digital innovation and more on the primary mission of GAHTC, providing member-made quality teaching material free of charge to teachers. We will use the upcoming grant term to round out our library content and work toward a sustainability for the digital platform, through the auspices of MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning.

We will strengthen the breadth of our library content by focusing on under-represented areas that we feel are important to the discipline, such as gender studies, aboriginal studies, African studies and First Societies.

By focusing on these core goals, we can make sure by the end of the grant cycle that GAHTC’s materials are well curated, easily accessible and known to the broader community interested in global architectural history teaching content. Having a reputable body of material that is easily accessible and known to the community gives GAHTC the best chance to become a lasting resource.

The Carbon Leadership Forum, in partnership with more than 30 industry leaders, announces breakthrough tool to easily evaluate carbon emissions of building materials

As the world builds the equivalent of an entire New York City every month, reducing the carbon emissions of materials is an imperative.

The Carbon Leadership Forum, in partnership with a coalition of more than 30 forward looking and innovative building industry leaders announce that they have taken on a long-elusive goal – measuring and reducing the carbon footprint of building materials. The result is the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (“EC3”) tool, an open source tool for architects, engineers, owners, construction companies, building material suppliers and policy makers to compare and reduce embodied carbon emissions from construction materials.

Between now and 2060 the world’s population will be doubling the amount of building floorspace, equivalent to building an entire New York City every month for 40 years. Most of the carbon footprint of these new buildings will take the form of embodied carbon — the emissions associated with building material manufacturing and construction. As a result, owners, designers, engineers and contractors are turning their attention to building materials and seeking information on these products so they can make informed, smart choices. This task has been fraught with problems – from the lack of data to data too complex to evaluate.

In response to this problem, Skanska USA and C Change Labs conceived of a solution that would enable the building industry to easily access and view material carbon emissions data, allowing them to make carbon smart choices during material specification and procurement. Initial development was jointly funded by Skanska and Microsoft, who determined that an open platform would provide maximum impact for the industry and society at large. To accelerate development of this solution, the Carbon Leadership Forum incubated the project with strong leadership and additional financial support from Autodesk, Interface, the MKA Foundation and the Charles Pankow Foundation, lead sponsor and grant manager. Subsequently, more than 30 other industry-leaders joined in.

“Our mission is to accelerate the transformation of the building sector to radically reduce embodied carbon,” said Kate Simonen, director of the Carbon Leadership Forum and professor in the College of the Built Environments at the University of Washington. “The EC3 tool is a great example of what can happen when our passionate and collaborative network comes together around a need.”

Industry sponsors include: Grant Administrator: Charles Pankow Foundation; Pilot Partners: Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Microsoft Corporation,
Perkins and Will, Port of Seattle, Skanska USA, Walter P Moore and Associates, Inc., and Webcor; Association Partners: American Concrete Institute (ACI) Foundation, American Institute of Architects (AIA), American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and the BlueGreen Alliance; and Material Partners: Armstrong Ceiling and Wall Solutions, BASF Corporation, CarbonCure Technologies, Interface, Inc., Kingspan Group, and USG Corporation.

Additional support is provided by Technology Partners including Autodesk, Climate Earth, Sustainable Minds and Tally; EC3 Tool Methodology Partners: Arup, Brightworks Sustainability, Central Concrete Supply Co., Inc., Climate Earth, Katerra, KieranTimberlake, LeMessurierr, LMN Architects, National Ready Mixed Concrete Co., Owens Corning, Thornton Tomasetti, Urban Fabrick, WAP Sustainability and WRNS Studio. View the full list of collaborators at www.carbonleadershipforum.org.

The EC3 Tool: A Closer Look

Increasingly the building industry and owners are becoming aware that materials matter and are seeking ways to evaluate the emissions associated with making these materials, but they have not had a reliable or efficient way to compare them. As a result, while awareness and a desire to enact change have been high, few have found an avenue to effectively examine and evaluate the available material choices. The EC3 tool, an open-source tool, simplifies this complex problem and will allow users to easily see the embodied carbon impacts of the materials before consumption. Now users will have the information they need to make more informed decisions on embodied carbon, allowing them to enact positive change. Details on the EC3 tool will be made available November 2019. Collaborating partners will be demonstrating the product at Greenbuild, November 19-22, 2019 at the Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA.

Learn more

For more information on the Carbon Leadership Forum and the EC3 tool, including links to our partners’ announcements visit www.carbonleadershipforum.org
Visit www.buildingtransparency.org and register to have access to the EC3 tool. The tool will be released November 19, 2019.
List of all collaborators, including spokespersons, media contacts and quotes, available upon request.

Additional embodied carbon resources:

About the Carbon Leadership Forum

The Carbon Leadership Forum, built on a collective impact model, has amassed the largest network of architects, engineers, contractors, material suppliers, policy makers and academics to reduce the carbon impact of materials in buildings. Together, we have developed an extensive body of research and resources necessary to inform and empower our members, while building a robust collaborative network – the Embodied Carbon Network – that is inspiring and connecting our members to enact change. This has resulted in member-led initiatives, including the recent structural engineers embodied carbon challenge (SE 2050) and the development of the EC3 Tool. For more information visit: www.carbonleadershipforum.org.

Contacts

Kate Simonen
Director, Carbon Leadership Forum
ksimonen@uw.edu

Anne Banta
Media Contact, Carbon Leadership Forum
anne@banta.org

Download the PDF
Press Release announcing EC3 tool – Sept. 23, 2019.pdf

UW colleges, offices share three-year NSF grant to make ‘internet of things’ more secure

Several University of Washington schools and offices will team up to research how organizational practices can affect the interagency collaboration needed to keep the “internet of things” — and institutional systems — safe and secure.

Cooperating in the work, funded by the National Science Foundation, will be the UW College of Built EnvironmentsCollege of Arts & Sciences and Jackson School of International Studies as well as UW Facilities and UW Information Technology.

Devices connected to the internet of things, now becoming standard components in new buildings, can increase energy performance while reducing costs. But such highly connected sensors can also bring potential security vulnerabilities.

And though technical solutions to such security concerns exist, implementing them can be impeded by differences in communication and work cultures between workers in information technology, and operations and maintenance. These challenges, together with a policy environment that rarely regulates internet of things devices, can increase risks and leave buildings vulnerable to attack.

The NSF in August awarded a grant of $721,104 over three years to the Communication, Technology and Organizational Practices lab in the College of Built Environment’s Construction Management Department to study how organizational policies and procedures can help — or hinder — the needed collaboration between information technology and operations and maintenance professionals. The lab is housed in the department’s Center for Education and Research in Construction.

Several UW faculty, staff and administrators are involved in the research. Co-principal investigators are Laura Osburn, a research scientist in the Center for Education and Research in Construction; and Carrie Dossick, professor of construction management.

Jessica Beyer, lecturer, research scientist and co-director of the Jackson School’s Cybersecurity Initiative also is an investigator, as is Chuck Benson, director of the UW’s new risk mitigation strategy program for the internet of things.

The three-year project will use the investigators’ expertise in communication, collaboration, cybersecurity policy and internet of things practices to study two critical areas:

  • How operations and maintenance and information technology groups currently share their knowledge and skills to improve security for the internet of things; and
  • How public policies and an organization’s own rules on privacy and security impact how information technology and operations and maintenance teams collaborate

The team will work on these issues through ethnographic research of university cybersecurity efforts, interviews with information technology and operations and maintenance professionals and case studies of cybersecurity efforts in the built environments of higher education. 

A graduate research assistant and undergraduate students from the Jackson School’s Cybersecurity Initiative also will be involved in the work.

The aim is to better understand how elements of organization, practice and policy interact and affect collaboration in keeping the internet of things safe and secure — and to provide clear examples of how such elements might help or hinder the necessary collaboration to implement smart building technologies.

The interdisciplinary nature of the project is an important part of the approach, Osburn said.

“What’s most important about this project is finding ways to help technology experts from different departments and different disciplines work and communicate better together so that they can keep our buildings safe and make sure that the data that internet of things devices are collecting stay secure.”

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For more information, contact Osburn at lbusch@uw.edu, Dossick at cdossick@uw.edu, Beyer at jlbeyer@uw.edu or Benson at cabenson@uw.edu.

Learn more at the project website.

NSF grant #1932769  

Congratulations to our 2019 Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) Olmsted Scholars

“Using ideas, influence, communication, service, and leadership to advance sustainable design and foster human and societal benefits.” 

These are the qualities of students recognized through the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s Olmsted Scholars Program, considered one of the most prestigious national awards for students of landscape architecture.

The College of Built Environments is proud to recognize two graduating students as Olmsted scholar nominees: Fatema Maswood (MLA) and Nick Zurlini (BLA). Fatema, in particular, deserves special recognition as one of six National Olmsted Scholar Finalists. 

Each year, faculty from accredited landscape architecture programs across the country nominate students with exceptional leadership potential for Olmsted Scholar recognition. Two independent juries select winners and finalists from a group of over 80 Olmsted Scholars.

Fatema Maswood crossing the stage at graduation
Fatema Maswood crossing the stage at CBE’s graduation ceremony.

Fatema was recognized by faculty and the independent juries for her approach to design and design research that uncovers overlooked narratives, critically engages political questions, and translates design processes and methods to a broader public as tools for education and mobilization. Fatema’s research explores disaster resilience and stormwater management grounded in traditional ecological knowledge, considering approaches for a decentralized water harvesting network in her mother’s native city of Tunis, Tunisia. 

Nick attributes his nomination in part to the landscape architecture faculty who serve as both role models and mentors to him. Through his studies, he has found a passion for the design process and for the landscape architecture as an academic discourse and as a profession.  

Fatema and Nick represent a strong history of Olmsted Scholars from the University of Washington. The College of Built Environments’ Department of Landscape Architecture has seen four other past finalists and two award winners, David de la Cruz, MLA ’17 and Leann Andrews, MLA ’13, Ph.D. ’18. The Olmsted Scholars will gather in November with this year’s group of Scholars and leaders from practice, academia, and industry at the LAF Benefit in San Diego.

Livable City Year celebrates partnership with city of Bellevue

group discussing projects at the LCY/Bellevue celebration eventThis year’s Livable City Year partnership with the City of Bellevue mobilized 285 students from a variety of schools and colleges, representing all three UW campuses, to work on 30 projects in the city. The students’ research, findings and recommendations were on display at a celebration at Bellevue City Hall on Monday, June 3.

The Bellevue City Council, residents and others in attendance saw posters summarizing the work and were able to discuss them with students and faculty who worked on the projects.

“This has been an outstanding partnership for the City of Bellevue,” Mayor John Chelminiak said. “The knowledge, research and energy the University of Washington participants brought to bear on our civic challenges is invaluable. Their recommendations reflect solid research and out-of-the-box thinking.”

Projects focused on livability and sustainability, such as a small business incubator, food truck permitting and neighborhood planning. Other projects included:

  • For trail-oriented development, a team from UW’s Community, Environment and Planning is recommending policies and code changes to could facilitate placemaking next to trails.
  • UW Urban Design and Planning developed an urban design image gallery permit applicants could consult for examples that meet city code requirements and stress livability for pedestrians.
  • UW Landscape Architecture offered impressive ideas for a redesign of the Wetland Sun Terraced Garden at the Bellevue Botanical Garden.
  • A team from the UW Industrial and Systems Engineering program developed a model to make winter weather plow routes more efficient and cost-effective.

“The UW’s Livable City Year in Bellevue has been a wonderful example of the good that comes from innovative and motivated students collaborating with a community to address real-world challenges,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce. “They’ve demonstrated how experiential and project-based learning helps students learn and honors our public service mission. We are grateful to the city of Bellevue for their engagement and partnership, and we can’t wait to see how these proposals bear fruit in the future.”

“This year’s partnership with Bellevue gave UW students an opportunity to work on projects addressing a broad spectrum of topics that will have real impact on the city’s residents. Bellevue was a great partner,” said LCY co-director Jennifer Otten, associate professor in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.

The University of Washington Livable City Year program selected Bellevue to be its community partner for the 2018-2019 academic year, following partnerships with the cities of Auburn and Tacoma the previous two years.

At the June 3 event, posters summarized each project and results, with students and faculty on hand. Mayor John Chelminiak and Sally Clark, director of UW regional and community relations, both spoke.

Quotes

“This has been an outstanding partnership for the City of Bellevue. The knowledge, research and energy the University of Washington participants brought to bear on our civic challenges is invaluable. Their recommendations reflect solid research and out-of-the-box thinking.”
– Mayor John Chelminiak

“The UW’s Livable City Year in Bellevue has been a wonderful example of the good that comes from innovative and motivated students collaborating with a community to address real-world challenge They’ve demonstrated how experiential and project-based learning helps students learn and honors our public service mission. We are grateful to the city of Bellevue for their engagement and partnership, and we can’t wait to see how these proposals bear fruit in the future.”
– UW President Ana Mari Cauce

“The opportunity that this partnership provides for the City of Bellevue is unique. The students’ work, in collaboration with our staff, has created real solutions to real challenges. I’m excited to see the implementation process.”
– Deputy Mayor Lynne Robinson

“This year’s partnership with Bellevue gave UW students an opportunity to work on projects addressing a broad spectrum of topics that will have real impact on the city’s residents. Bellevue was a great partner.”
– LCY co-director Jennifer Otten, associate professor in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.

“The commitment that these UW students showed toward their projects and the City of Bellevue was simply amazing. Each unique project addressed an aspect of Bellevue life, from preserving our tree canopy to improving snow removal efficiency from our residential streets. They’ve created starting point to improve and enhance the quality of life for Bellevue residents.”
– Councilmember Jared Nieuwenhuis

Crowd at the LCY Bellevue celebration event

CBE PhD candidates take home awards

Barbara Rodriguez Droguett wins UW Three Minute Thesis Competition

In front of a panel of judges, graduate students from a variety of disciplines competed to receive recognition and cash prizes in this year’s Three Minute Thesis Competition. Each student was tasked with the simple, but unenviable task of summarizing months worth of research and planning in just three short minutes. Winners have been announced and Built Environments Ph.D. candidate Barbara Rodriguez Droguett has won the first place prize of $1,500. Droguett’s research aims to develop an open-access tool for the building industry to assess the embodied carbon of heating, ventilation, air conditioning as well as refrigerant systems using a simplified life cycle assessment (LCA) method. She and her team have found that though the initial embodied carbon in HVAC systems in these buildings is low, with up to four replacements across the 60-year lifespan of some buildings, the carbon footprint can be significant.

UW 3MT is a partnership between the Office of Graduate Student Affairs and the UW Libraries Research Commons. The competition is designed to drive students to be able to discuss their research effectively and succinctly and to do so without the use of industry-specific jargon. This year’s theme was Impact

Chester Fritz International Research and Study Fellowship awarded to Supasai Vongkulbhisal

Each year, one dedicated student is rewarded with the opportunity to study abroad thanks in part to funding provided by the Chester Fritz International Research and Study Fellowship. The award includes a generous monthly stipend and paid health insurance during a full quarter of study. This year, the recipient was Built Environment Ph.D. candidate Supasai Vongkulbhisal. Candidates are selected based on their explanation of the necessity to spend time abroad to complete their research and how that research relates to their program of study at the UW.

As a researcher, Vongkulbhisal is interested in modernism and its relationship with colonialism, especially in the Asian nations. Her winning research proposal is to examine the transplantation of Modern Thai Architecture in Thailand from the 1960s to the 1980s, in regard to the geopolitical incidents occurring in the Southeast Asia region during the Cold War and its association to the United States. She will be studying in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Life Building Exchange awarded the Environmental Design Research Association Certificate of Research Excellence

The Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) has announced its 2019 Certificate of Research Excellence (CORE) recipients and UW alumni Dr. Julie Kriegh, AIA, was recognized for her submission focusing on factors in addressing climate change. Her research, entitled Life Building Exchange: Investigating the Intersection of Pro-Environmental Behavior, Place Meaning, and High-Performance Design, begins with the idea that future progress in energy conservation must center not only on the design of energy efficient buildings, but also on user behavior. She and her team of advisors, including environmental psychologist, Dr. Lynne Manzo, multivariate statistics professor, Dr. Elizabeth Sanders, and architecture professor emeritus, Joel Loveland, looked to incorporate both building science and user behavior in thinking about how progress is to be made toward the climate change goals put forward in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

A Northwest Net-zero Energy Community. (Source: Retrieved (9.2.18) from Google Images
A Northwest Net-zero Energy Community. (Source: Google Images)

Kriegh’s research found that over time people will engage in their environment in a way that is likely to be energy conserving when such behavior is supported by the places where they live, when they personally commit to pro-environmental values, and when they feel a connection to their homes and communities. These factors can have a greater impact on overall energy reduction than architectural design decisions alone. Importantly, when individuals act with reciprocity, perceiving mutual benefit among themselves and the environment, their actions are more likely to endure with respect to pro-environmental behaviors in general and residential energy use in specific.

EDRA CORE was developed to highlight research being performed in the design community.  This research is often performed outside of the peer-review processes generally associated with the publication of scholarly articles describing the research and is often overlooked by other awards and recognition. Because research by design professionals tends to focus on project delivery and business, rarely are they also able to prioritize the scientific reports needed to gain formal recognition. Though, EDRA looked to change this with a structured peer review focusing on the rigor and value of the of practice-based design research, much of the research work that CORE recognizes is a collaboration between academic universities, industry partners and/or professional practice firms. This was the case with Dr. Kriegh’s research.


Juile Kriegh is the founder and principal architect of Kriegh Architecture Studios  | Research + Design located in the Bullitt Center in Seattle, WA. She has won numerous awards including the Livable Communities Design Award which inspired her to become a Passive House consultant and begin her doctoral research in high-performance buildings and pro-environmental behavior. She is an affiliate instructor at the UW’s College of Built Environments, where she earned both her Ph.D. and Master of Architecture. Her undergraduate education was at Duke University where she studied marine ecosystems, a pursuit which has continued to inform her research throughout her career.