Why We Need More Accurate and More Useful Environmental Assessment of Infrastructure | 18-19 Distinguished Lecture Series

Distinguished Lecturer Arpad Horvath

Date: Friday, May 10, 2019
Time: 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Registration and lunch at 12:00. Lecture begins at 12:30.

Cost: $20, includes lunch and beverage ticket

Location: Galbraith Building, Room 202

Click here to register online; or call us at 416 978 0235.


As an alum of Civil and Mineral Engineering, we would like to invite you to join us on Friday, May 10, 2019 for our final installment of the 2018-2019 Distinguished Lecture Series to learn about the issues surrounding environmental assessments and infrastructure.

While we don’t fully understand the external costs of infrastructure, they are sure to be enormous. So, it is an obligation of all professionals involved with infrastructure to help lower environmental and other societal costs, which will be important components of a more sustainable future. We need to manage the life cycles of infrastructure components with resource depletion, rising economic costs, changing societal expectations, climate change, and an ever-changing global society in view.

There is widespread manifestation that we have not done enough about our civil infrastructure. While the energy system, vehicle manufacturing, and a handful of other industries have already spent significant research and development resources to reduce their external costs, we can do much more about our buildings, mobility, water, and waste management systems with respect to smarter and more sustainable material selection, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and end of life. These systems are interconnected, and the way to reduce their impacts will have to come through multifaceted approaches that simultaneously consider the various systems and the grand challenges of society. We need to start asking questions that span multiple infrastructure systems, and develop models and methods that simultaneously improve them. Using average data and assuming that all infrastructure components are the same throughout their life cycle around the world is unhelpful for robust decision making.

Arpad Horvath is the Peirano Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, Vice Chair for Graduate Studies, Head of the Energy, Civil Infrastructure and Climate Graduate Program, and the Director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center. He has conducted studies on the environmental implications of various products, systems, and services, in particular, transportation, water and wastewater, buildings, concrete, biofuels, and pavements. He serves on the Executive Board of Environmental Research Letters and the Editorial Board of the Journal of Industrial Ecology. Among others, he is an immediate past member of the Science Advisory Board’s Environmental Engineering Committee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.