International Symposium, Tuesday - Thursday, March 30 - April 1, 2021

Organized by the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment

Truly sustainable design is increasingly driven by a steady stream of reliable data. What was once a field that relied almost completely on heuristics, sustainable design now leverages new methods and insights gleaned from computationally guided workflows in conjunction with robust databases. Environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) provides a fact-based scientific approach to evaluate design decisions. Grounded in a deep understanding of the environmental impacts associated with human-directed natural resource flows and the industrial processes that transform them. Tracking current human impacts on the ecosphere in increasingly detailed ways is critical to reducing and even reversing the negative environmental effects of providing for a global population of nearly 8 billion people.

This symposium unites two parallel cultures engaged in system thinking: designers working at many different scales and the LCA community of researchers, data experts, and information interface providers. It will explore areas of common cause and mission in two sectors: building and transportation. Designers working in these sectors are entrusted with at once responding to market forces by bringing novel products and systems into the world while simultaneously safeguarding public health safety and welfare. LCA experts provide ways to improve the ecological profiles of product development through quantitative analyses of clearly bounded system conditions and carefully qualified studies. Through three half days of sequential and parallel presentations and working sessions, we will come together to define current and future opportunities brought about through leaps in computational speed that promise to augment sustainable design processes at multiple scales.



*additional fees apply

TrueNorth Collective offers a workshop that introduces Design for Sustainability practice with an experience that educates and inspires. Design for Sustainability is an innovation methodology, deployed during the design of products, processes and services, that assesses and addresses the environmental and human health impacts that will occur over the complete life cycle.

Teams will utilize a simplified professional DfS toolset that guides them through divergent and convergent ideation. Representative environmental and human health impacts for common elements will be provided so that teams can express the recommended solution in a manner that balances people, planet, and profit- the “triple bottom line”. Teams will “elevator pitch” and judge each other’s designs, simulating review by business executives.


New Jersey Institute of Technology is one of the nation’s preeminent public STEM-based educational and research institutions. The J. Robert and Barbara A. Hillier College of Architecture and Design is a comprehensive design school located in this top-ranked public research university. The Hillier College of Architecture and Design at NJIT offers undergraduate degrees in architecture, digital design, industrial design, and interior design as well as graduate degrees in architecture, urban design, digital design, and urban systems. Design is intrinsically an optimistic profession. As designers, we aspire to better the conditions of human life – to elevate the spirit, stir the emotions, engage the intellect and improve the quality of human experience through intervention in the built environment at all scales. This is the spirit that infuses the graduate and undergraduate programs in architecture and design at NJIT's College of Architecture and Design

The American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA), a non-profit organization that brings together diverse organizations with a stake in the implementation and application of LCA.  

Questions: Contact Debbie Steckel