Free Online Brown Bag Sustainability Webinars
Enjoy Your Lunch Break With Us, Our Brown Bag Webinars are Back!
Our renowned Brown Bag Webinars provide a 40-minute presentation on a variety of industry related topics followed by a 20-minute Questions and Answers Session.
If you’re an LCA practitioner (technical), student, researcher, or a sustainability director, sustainability consultant, or a packaging and product designer, please bookmark this page and look for our emails to alert you on new webinar topics.
Upcoming Brown Bag Webinars
Environmental Impacts of the Life Cycle of Alluvial Gold Mining in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest
Alluvial gold mining activities in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest are responsible for mercury emissions and deforestation.
This study uses life cycle assessment methodologies on currently available gold recovery systems to identify the direct relationships between environmental impacts on human toxicity, freshwater ecotoxicity and climate change. Results show that human toxicity values are governed by mercury emissions in gold recovery activities, and freshwater ecotoxicity is driven by diesel engines used in ore extraction and transportation. Moreover, deforestation is contributing to the impacts of climate change. Important to note is that, beyond the environmental burdens related to alluvial goldmining, there are impacts affecting the social, cultural, and economic dimensions that will still need to be analyzed to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the system. In this study, four predominant extraction systems and three scenarios that reflect currently available gold recovery systems were modelled; the USEtox and IPCC life cycle impact assessment methodologies were used.Presenter: Ramzy Kahhat, Ph.D, Professor Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
Ramzy Kahhat is a Professor at the Department of Engineering at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Ramzy obtained his PhD and MSE in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Arizona State University. He is a broadly trained civil and environmental engineer applying concepts and methods from Sustainable Engineering, Industrial Ecology, and Earth Systems Engineering and Management. He is particularly skilled in the use of Material Flow Analysis (MFA) and Life Cycle Assessments (LCA). His expertise in these areas have been used in several research studies, such as sustainable management of solid waste, LCA of civil infrastructure, energy systems and agricultural products, MFA of electronic materials and construction materials, urban stocks, characterization of debris generated by natural disasters, others.
Thursday, October 17, 2019 - 1:00 EDT
The Lifecycle of Building Materials and The "Other" Carbon, Embodied Carbon
The built environment as an end user of fossil fuels accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector. The current gold standard for reducing emissions from buildings is to build new, zero net energy buildings - super efficient buildings powered by renewable energy. This is an important step in getting to a carbon neutral build environment, but there is a problem with this strategy: building new zero net energy buildings still generates a lot of emissions when taking the lifecycle of building materials into account.
Research shows that greenhouse gas emissions that occur before we occupy buildings from extracting and manufacturing building materials, often termed 'embodied carbon', are more critical than commonly believed. When it comes to climate change, we need strategies that produce large savings fast. This webinar will expose the often hidden embodied carbon footprint as a critical piece in realizing emissions reductions targets and identify the steps now being taken across the building sector to calculate embodied carbon in materials and to realize the reduction of embodied emissions.
As the Corporate Sustainability Officer for Thornton Tomasetti, Amy Seif Hattan is responsible for "greening" the corporation's business operations across more than 50 office locations and for achieving greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals internally and externally in the firm's engineering projects. She leads Thornton Tomasetti's Embodied Carbon Lab and is on the Board of the Carbon Leadership Forum. With 25 years experience working in the field of sustainability, Amy was an early initiator of campus sustainability efforts at the University of New Hampshire and Middlebury College, and she worked across campuses as senior staff at Second Nature, the organization that founded the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. She received a Masters of Public Administration of the Harvard University Kennedy School, where she focused on climate change policy and organizational change.
Thursday, May 30, 2019 - 1:00 EDT
The Financial Case for High Performance Buildings
An organization’s physical spaces – offices, retail stores, etc. – play a critical role in occupants’ wellbeing. Sustainable and healthy design strategies can transform buildings into tools for enhanced employee engagement and wellness, improved productivity and experience, and greater values-alignment. And now new, cutting-edge industry research compiling studies from over the past 4 decades makes the staggering business case for high performance buildings that integrate these sustainable and healthy design strategies.
This webinar will discuss the science and research behind the demand for healthy, sustainable spaces, followed by stok’s latest research that demonstrates the business case for implementing building design strategies that support greater employee productivity, retention, and health. Participants will leave ready to rethink their real estate for impact from the inside out. Equipped with a methodology for quantifying the financial value of their sustainable, healthy real estate, participants will gain tools to implement healthy, sustainable real estate as a strategy to deliver benefits to their business and occupants alike.
Presenter: Devon Bertram, Sr. Sustainability Strategist & Project Manager, Stok
Devon is a Senior Sustainability Strategist and Project Manager at stok, a sustainable real estate services firm based in San Francisco. With a tested background in strategic sustainability action planning, Devon helps organizations define, develop, and implement sustainability programs for their building portfolios and align them with their broader strategic goals to achieve impact at scale.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) & Biomimicry
This presentation describes the creation and implementation of a sustainability approach that is an amalgam of life cycle assessment (LCA) and Biomimicry. Biomimicry is often referred to as the “conscious emulation of life’s genius” in order to solve human design and engineering challenges . This presentation focuses on the emulation aspect of the tenets of Biomimicry, which emphasizes integrating biological knowledge at the form, process, and system levels into design and engineering by identifying biological strategies and mechanisms that have evolved to survive the test of time. Printing and writing paper product life cycles are highlighted as an example to demonstrate the utility of using the amalgam to open the design space at LCA hotspots. The combined value of these eco-design tools has the potential to revolutionize how industry, analysts, and policymakers address our relationship with the built and natural environment. The quantitative value of LCA helps to make substantive assessments and measurements, while the Biomimicry approach reconnects our vision of our built environment and its place within the rest of the biosphere. It is the presenter’s hope that the amalgam can help humans raise the “sustainability” bar to not only endeavor to sustain human life but to create systems that, in the words of Biomimicry specialists, “create conditions conducive to [all] life” (Benyus 1997).
Presenter: Rebe Feraldi, M.S. Candidate in Biomimicry, Arizona State University
Rebe Feraldi, has a B.S. in Environmental Chemistry & Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, M.E.S.M. from the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California-Santa Barabara, and is expected to finish her M.S. in Biomimicry from Arizona State University& the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute in 2019.Ms. Feraldi, owner of TranSustainable Enterprises, LLC, is a cross-disciplinary scientist with experience using industrial ecology tools to perform sustainability analyses. Rebe is a LCA Certified Profesisonal (LCACP) since 2010 and a Certified LCA Reviewer (CLAR) since 2016. “There is always something happening on the frontiers of science, whether we are refining existing knowledge or making new discoveries. I am passionate about working across silos to learn how systems work, bring the industrial ecology perspective to the table, and aid in communicating this work to other researchers, businesses and their supply chain stakeholders, policy-makers, and the public.”
Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 1:00 ET
CO2 Sequestration by Methane-Eating Bacteria
Methane-oxidizing bacteria (methanotrophs) are a well-characterized and significant global sink for methane. Less appreciated is their capacity to assimilate CO2, yet both capabilities have significant implications for greenhouse gas models and biotechnology. By modifying their environments, these bacteria produce co-polymers, such as polyhydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate (PHBV), a biodegradable, nontoxic biocompatible plastic.Type II methanotrophs, in particular, have high CO2 requirements and multiple carboxylase activities. During periods of balanced growth, i.e., when nutrients are sufficient to satisfy requirements for cell division, these organisms assimilate carbon at the level of formate, funneling it through the serine cycle into biomass. During periods of unbalanced growth, carbon derived from methane or from both methane and carbon dioxide accumulates within polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) granules. When co-substrates such as valerate are present during this period, co-polymers, such as polyhydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate (PHBV), are produced. Here we report the stoichiometric and kinetic impacts of CO2 to CH4 input ratios on cell growth, accumulation of PHB and PHBV, and the fate of assimilated CO2-derived carbon in PHA granules. To assess these processes, we evaluated the effects of initial ratios of CH4 to CO2 in batch incubations. As the partial pressure of added CO2 increased, net CO2 production decreased. The PHB accumulation (% PHB) over a 10-12-hour time was limited by the moles of methane supplied. 13C-labeled CO2 was incorporated into PHB at the C1 and C3 positions. In unbalanced growth experiments with added valerate, an increase in the initial mole fraction of CO2 increased the hydroxyvalerate fraction of the polymer. This increase came at the expense of total PHBV produced when CH4:CO2 ratio decreased from 2:1 to 1:1. These results clearly establish a significant role for CO2 during growth and PHA accumulation, and suggest strategies for efficient use of methane and production of copolymer based upon manipulation of CO2 levels in the gas phase.
Presenter: Wakuna M. Galega, PhD Candidate in Environmental Engineering at Stanford University
Wakuna is a PhD student in the environmental engineering program working with Prof. Craig Criddle. Her research focuses on the microbial degradation of methane in mixtures (biogas and natural gas) for the production of biodegradable polymers called polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs). Wakuna is interested in understanding the impact these methane rich-mixtures have on microbial communities, the dynamics between the microbial interactions under certain complex conditions, while optimizing the polymer production process and bacterial growth rates.
Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 1:00 ET
Applying an Anticipatory Approach to LCA
So now you know what Anticipatory LCA is all about from Valentina Prado’s webinar. But how do you apply it? In this webinar, Lise Laurin, EarthShift Global’s CEO, will share how an Anticipatory LCA approach has been applied to support new innovations and ongoing development in the areas of sustainable hydrogen production, tire recycling and 3D printing. She’ll provide a few rules of thumb to get you started quickly on your own Anticipatory study.
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Presenter: Lise Laurin, CEO, EarthShift Global
Lise is a pioneer in Sustainable Return on Investment (S-ROI) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). She founded EarthShift in 2000, adopting these methodologies to support North American industries’ early efforts at sustainability. Lise continues to develop and leverage EarthShift Global’s training, simplified LCA tools and S-ROI tools to build organizational capacity and drive large-scale change. Her unique skillset and knowledge base has put her in demand globally by companies, organizations and governments alike.
Thursday, January 24, 2019 - 1:00 EST
Anticipatory LCA 101
As the environmental impact of products and technologies becomes a design parameter, the incorporation of environmental aspects early in the development of products and technology is necessary. However, while the LCA framework which can quantify environmental impacts, typically this applies at the end of the design pipeline when all parameters are set. To use LCA more proactively in the design process, researchers have been working in several techniques, falling under an Anticipatory LCA, approach, which enables application of LCA early in the Research and Development (R&D) phases where uncertainty, but also potential for improvement is at the highest point.
This webinar covers the basic concept and exposes some research lines making advancement in the area of anticipatory LCA.
Presenter: Valentina Prado, Senior Sustainability Analyst, EarthShift Global
Valentina brings extensive expertise in developing decision analysis tools for life cycle assessments (LCA), and hands-on experience in the Sustainable Return on Investment (S-ROI) assessment methodology. Her research focus has been in the incorporation of decision analysis to the interpretation stages of comparative LCAs, and tackles issues of normalization, weighting and uncertainty.
About Our Brown Bag Sustainability Webinars
The Brown Bag Webinar series began with Lise Laurin, when she was the founder of EarthShift, "I conceived the brown bag webinar series at a conference when I heard a number of practical and inspirational talks that I wished all EarthShift employees could hear. When I thought about it again, I knew these talks would also be beneficial for many of our clients and associates. By having the webinars around lunch time, we can offer everyone the chance to participate and learn something new and useful while eating lunch," says Laurin.