Public Webinar Schedule & Recordings

The following webinars are free and open to the public. Presentations are geared toward a lay audience. Dates and topics may be subject to change, please sign up for email updates via the form provided at the bottom of this page.

Upcoming Webinars

Date Topic  
Thursday, June 14, 2018 - 11AM EST

Development of a Rapid and Reliable Test Method to Better Predict ASR in the Field

Alkali-silica reaction (ASR) is second to corrosion as the leading cause of the premature deterioration of concrete structures in North America. This webinar presents work being conducted by MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHub) partners at the University of New Brunswick in Canada to develop a rapid, reliable and relevant test method to determine the resistance of “job mixtures” to ASR. 

Dr. Michael Thomas, Professor of Civil Engineering, University of New Brunswick, will present a new test method which was developed in order to better predict expansion in real structures. This was achieved by developing a test where alkali leaching is minimized by placing concrete cylinders in a solution matching the internal pore solution of the concrete under test. Long-term results up to and including 900 days are presented for a number of aggregates and compared to long-term performance data from exposure sites in Austin, Ottawa and Fredericton.

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Past Webinar Recordings

Date Recorded Topic  
May 3, 2018

Liquid, crystal, or glass? A new approach to city resilience

Some cities are laid out on a precise grid where the arrangement of buildings resembles the ordering of atoms in a crystal, while others are arranged more chaotically like the disordered atoms in a liquid or glass—this “texture” reveals a lot about how a city will respond to high winds in a big storm, or to a major environmental event like a hurricane or earthquake. More recently, texture was shown to be the most important determinant of an area’s urban heat island effect.

In this webinar, MIT Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Faculty Director of the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHUb) Franz-Josef Ulm will discuss his "Urban Physics” approach, which simplifies complicated city conditions to identify patterns like those seen in more complex materials and link those patterns to descriptions of city texture. Once a city's texture is known, the information can be used to improve city energy management strategies and to increase building, city, and community resilience.

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March 15, 2018 Streamlined Building Life Cycle Assessment
Life cycle assessment (LCA) seeks to quantify the environmental impacts of infrastructure over a life time by identifying and accounting for impacts resulting from each phase of the life cycle. LCA can be used to obtain credits in certification systems like LEED, but traditional LCA methods can be time, resource, and data intensive. For complex systems like residential buildings, these demands can lead to delayed assessments with evaluations carried out after important design decisions have already been made, reducing their effectiveness. CSHub researchers have developed a streamlined approach to LCA that requires significantly less time and data, which can reduce expense as well as uncertainty and allow assessments to be conducted earlier in the building design process when decisions can have the greatest impact. This webinar will present an overview of the CSHub’s streamlined tool, known as the Building Attribute to Impact Algorithm, and a discussion of recent work on the topic.
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February 15, 2018 Albedo, Climate, & Urban Heat Island
The United Nations predicts that nearly 70 percent of the global population will live in urban environments by the year 2050. This rapid urbanization is changing the surface of the planet, which has an impact on climate regionally and globally. CSHub researchers are studying the effects of albedo, which is the measure of the fraction of solar energy reflected by the Earth’s surface, on climate and the urban heat island effect (defined as a temperature difference between urban areas and their rural surroundings where the city temperature is higher). Lighter color surfaces have a high albedo and reflect light, while darker surfaces have low albedo and absorb light. CSHub researchers have developed an approach to quantify the impacts of changing pavement albedo on the climate and building energy demand and then translate both of those into global warming potential. This webinar describes the approach and results from recent studies.

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Download the updated Slide Deck (Revised 2/21/18)

January 18, 2018 Inspired by Antiquity: The Future of Durable, Sustainable Infrastructure The Masic Lab at MIT is working to unlock the secrets of ancient materials including Roman concrete and pigments such as Mayan and Egyptian blues. In this webinar, Admir Masic, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), will discuss what engineers could learn from his lab’s “antiqua-inspired methodology”-- where ancient technologies, practices, and techniques guide the development of future materials -- about constructing longer-lasting modern infrastructure with lowered environmental impacts. Watch the recording
December 7, 2017 Pavements: Competition
When sustained competition exists in a market, the price for similar goods is expected to go down. This webinar will present CSHub research that illustrates how this economic principle holds true with paving materials -- which could mean significant savings for DOTs and taxpayers, alike.
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September 21, 2017 Pavement Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
Life cycle assessment (LCA) considers the environmental impact of all life-cycle phases. For pavements, this includes operation, maintenance, and end of life phases, as well as factors such as traffic delay, lighting demand, and future maintenance. This webinar will present MIT CSHub models that quantify environmental impacts across phases, from manufacturing to disposal, and also offer a detailed analysis of the use phase.
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August 17, 2017

Building Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
To understand the full environmental impact of a structure over decades of use, all phases, starting before construction and continuing through demolition, must be considered. Life cycle assessment (LCA) seeks to quantify environmental impacts over the infrastructure life cycle by identifying the costs during each phase. This webinar will present a detailed look at CSHub research on this topic.

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June 29, 2017 Pavement Vehicle Interaction (PVI): Design and Maintenance
Pavement vehicle interaction (PVI), an examination of the interaction between a vehicle’s tires and the roadway surface on which it is driving, leads to excess fuel consumption (EFC) and, as a result, smog and greenhouse gas emissions. This impacts drivers, states, and municipalities financially. This webinar will present CSHub research which has led to models that quantify excess fuel consumption due to PVI for pavement segments and pavement networks.
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May 25, 2017 Building Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA), With Hazard Resistance
This webinar presents a building life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) approach developed by CSHub researchers that combines initial construction costs with several types of operational costs, including costs associated with energy consumption and repairs due to damage from hazards.
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March 30, 2017 Pavement Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA): Price Projection Modeling
Life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) enables engineers, designers, and decision makers to better understand the economic impacts of infrastructure decisions over time and identifies opportunities to reduce impacts. This webinar will present CSHub pavements LCCA research, including a study conducted in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) that showed material-specific price projections are more accurate than the conventional assumption that pavement prices follow the average rate of economic inflation.
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March 2, 2017 An Overview of CSHub Pavements-Related Research
Pavements-related research by the MIT CSHub focuses on improving structure and design, which can lead to increased fuel efficiency, lower maintenance costs, and better life cycle planning. Topics discussed will include life cycle assessment (LCA); life cycle cost analysis (LCCA); and Pavement vehicle interaction (PVI).
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January 26, 2017 An Overview of CSHub Buildings-Related Research
This webinar offers an overview of the CSHub's buildings-related research, including discussion of CSHub studies on life cycle assessment; life cycle cost analysis (with hazard resistance); building energy consumption; and city energy consumption. 
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