Pitt, CMU to Host 2013 Engineering Sustainability Conference April 7-9

Issue Date: 
April 1, 2013

Less than a century ago, thick, black, sooty smoke rose from Pittsburgh’s steel mills, infiltrating the city air and staining the white collars of men and dresses of women. In recent years, however, the city has moved toward incorporating greener technologies and is now a leader in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) technology.

To foster that new green spirit, leaders in and advocates for sustainable engineering will gather for the conference Pittsburgh and Engineering Sustainability 2013: Innovation and the Triple Bottom Line, hosted by the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University April 7-9 at the David Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown. The conference will encompass such major topics as green building design, sustainable urban drinking water, and sustainable transportation grids. 

The conference begins at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, April 7, with a welcome dinner at the Tonic Bar and Grill, 971 Liberty Ave., Downtown, that will be followed by two days of plenary speakers, panel discussions, and a variety of technical sessions.

The conference is cosponsored by the University of Pittsburgh’s Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation and Carnegie Mellon University’s Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research.

Registration fees vary. Visit www.mascarocenter.pitt.edu/conference for more information and to view the official conference website.

A schedule of the conference’s plenary speakers follows.

Monday, April 8, 8:30 a.m.

Alex Steffen, writer, public speaker

“How to Think Like a World Changer”

Steffen’s optimistic, solution-focused discussion will highlight sustainable world-changing solutions and those people who are aiming to creatively solve the planet’s most pressing sustainability issues. Steffen believes understanding the outlook of others will help everyone find new solutions to the problems in their own lives and workplaces.

Monday April 8, 12:30 p.m.

Khanjan Mehta, director, Humanitarian Engineer and Social Entrepreneurship Program, Penn State University

“Developing Education and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems to Actualize Social Ventures in Developing Countries”

Mehta’s session will center on his work as director of Penn State’s Humanitarian Engineer and Social Entrepreneurship Program, which challenges students and faculty to develop transformative social innovations and scalable business models. These projects have been implemented in such countries as Kenya, Tanzania, India, and China. Past ventures have included telemedicine systems, solar dryers, low-cost greenhouses, and knowledge-sharing platforms for self-employed women.

Tuesday April 9, 8:30 a.m.

Mitchell Joachim, associate professor, New York University and the European Graduate School

“The Organic City: Urbanism Redefined”

In his lecture, Joachim will outline his vision of biology and architecture as a single discipline and encourage participants to rethink their approach to urban environments. He also will share his experiences working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Smart Cities Car and discuss his Fab Tree Lab project, which used grafted cells to erect buildings and structures.