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Environmental Engineering seminar: Making better decisions: Integrating socioenvironmental...

Friday, February 09, 2018, 9:00AM - 10:00AM


Emily Grubert

UC Berkeley



Full title

Making better decisions: Integrating socioenvironmental assessment tools with decision science to improve energy systems analysis


Civil infrastructure systems like water infrastructure are essential to society and play major roles in two of the greatest global challenges of our time: environmental degradation and social inequity. Advancing environmentally sustainable and socially responsible natural resource management around the world will require interdisciplinary solutions to complex challenges. One major area of need is for more robust tools to support multicriteria decisions, particularly in situations with uncertain impacts and widely varying priorities. I argue that by integrating decision science and life cycle assessment, a common engineering tool that aspires to comprehensively characterize socioenvironmental impacts for a subject of interest, policy and other decisions can be more sustainable and responsive to community needs. This talk will investigate two major projects associated with improving life cycle assessment as a decision support tool. The first investigates data quality, using a case study of water requirements for the US energy system. The second investigates multicriteria prioritization, using empirical research in American and Australian communities to present a set of archetypical value systems that can be used to test a decision's robustness given societal preferences. Together, these efforts support better decision making in high-stakes socioenvironmental contexts.


Emily Grubert studies multicriteria decision making, primarily using socioenvironmental assessment tools in natural resources management contexts. Her work focuses on the water-energy nexus, life cycle sustainability assessment, and decision support for civil infrastructure. She is currently a postdoctoral scholar in Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley and holds a PhD in Environment and Resources from Stanford.


Free and open to the public.