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Seminar: Are We Using Buildings to Motivate Sustainability?


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Location: GIS Auditorium (building 81/SUS, room 1130)

Title: Are We Using Buildings to Inspire and Motivate Health and Sustainability?

Abstract: The built environment has the opportunity to inspire, promote health and well-being, and provide meaningful solutions and strategies to combat climate change. By 2035, approximately 75% of the built environment will be new or renovated, as estimated by Architecture 2030. As engineers, designers, and scientists, we have a chance to positively influence this undeniable opportunity. We must ask if we have positioned ourselves in terms of policies, programs, and systems to aid in creating healthy and sustainable buildings. Dr. Bilec will explore this question by employing systems thinking and life cycle assessment through several of her recent studies, including a critical review of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Bio: Dr. Bilec is an associate professor in the Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; she is the Deputy Director of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation. She is also a Roberta A. Luxbacher Faculty Fellow. Dr. Bilec’s research program focuses on sustainable communities, the built environment, life cycle assessment, sustainable healthcare, and indoor air impacts. She is interested in improving system-level environmental performance of buildings, while developing a deeper understanding of indoor environmental quality, occupant impacts, and energy use. She is working with local businesses and communities to promote ambient and indoor air quality awareness through air quality monitoring, civic engagement, and citizen science. Dr. Bilec has 64 journal articles and 47 conference proceedings and has secured $6.39 million in funding, including 10 National Science Foundation grants. She has received four education excellence awards, and she developed a new M.S. in Sustainable Engineering degree and a university-wide undergraduate certificate in sustainability. Dr. Bilec’s work prior to academia included tenure at the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh where she worked on green infrastructure projects, including the conversion of a 100-year bridge into a pedestrian bridge.