Environmental Stewardship & Social Justice
Climate change not only has a detrimental impact on local ecosystems and the environment as a whole, but can disproportionately affect the poor and disadvantaged. Many of the projects in S-lab are situated in the nexus of food, energy and water and are designed to address the social, economical, technical and environmental implications of a potential solution. Whether it is in using technology to reduce dependence on fossil fuels/biomass combustion and leapfrog communities or to better manage natural resources, the goal of these projects is to improve quality of life. Student-lead projects focused on accessibility to clean water or electricity (Renewably Powered Water Treatment), sustainable income generating activities (Rural Electrification), and/or better understanding the impact of climate change (CO2 Uptake Sensing and Library).
Success in these endeavors requires transparency in our own goals as well as in the equipment and services we use to achieve them. S-lab implements Granta Design software for sustainable development to analyze material properties while promoting cradle to cradle design principles when it comes to material selection and design. The Pico-Solar Scorecard currently under development is an instrument for vetting products and incentivizing transparency in vendors who provide pico-solar products in the global south. The project’s main goal is to influence manufacturers towards more sustainable and lower geopolitical risk material selection, performance and end of life; products are evaluated based on waste prevention, social justice, benchmarks in addition to embodied energy, water and carbon.