Dr. Norris Directs SHINE (the Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise) at MIT; SHINE is an MIT/Harvard joint initiative. His research focuses on advancing and applying methods for Net Positive sustainability: creation and assessment of positive social and environmental “handprints” that exceed the actor’s footprints. Greg teaches Life Cycle Assessment at Harvard, and directs graduate student research there. He serves as Chief Scientist with the International Living Future Institute, where he helped design and launch and now helps to advance the Living Product Challenge. In 1996 he founded Sylvatica which applied and advanced LCA methods and tools through 2010. He founded the non-profit New Earth in 2003 to promote collaboration between industry and civil society on community-driven sustainable development at a global level. In 2015 he co-founded NewEarth B, a public benefit corporation focused on bringing the Social Hotspot Database and the Handprinter platform both to scale for maximum possible positive impact. He lives in Southern Maine.
Dr. Gregory is the Executive Director of the Concrete Sustainability Hub and Research Scientist at the MIT Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. He studies the economic and environmental implications of engineering and system design decisions, particularly in the area of materials production and recovery systems. Research topics include product and firm environmental footprinting, manufacturing and life-cycle cost analysis, and characterization of sustainable material systems. He has applied these methods, often with industry partners, to a range of different products and industries including pavements, buildings, automobiles, electronics, consumer goods, and waste treatment and recovery.
Randolph E. Kirchain
Dr. Kirchain is the Co-Director at the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub and the Principal Research Scientist. His research focuses on the environmental and economic implications of materials selection. The choice of material potentially has sweeping implications on the realization of a product. Materials affect not only properties, but also dictate available production processes, and therefore the physical constraints within which a designer must work. Similarly, the synergism of design, materials, and process affect the environmental impacts associated with a product’s manufacture, its use, and its ultimate disposal. As such, understanding the implications of a material selection decision requires understanding throughout the design and production systems.
To address this, Dr. Kirchain’s research deals with two broad topic areas: 1) the development of methods to model the cost of manufacture, using limited design information and 2) the sustainability of current and emerging materials systems. To these ends, Dr. Kirchain has focused on automotive manufacturing systems, including working on projects for all three major automobile manufacturers. These projects include extensive study of the functioning of the system for reclaiming materials from end-of-life vehicles. The specific focus of this work has been to understand the economic implications of changing vehicle composition and emerging policy strictures on the successful operation of this system.