A woman with long blonde hair smiling into the camera. She is wearing a black blouse. The background is of a lawn with some evergreen trees in shadow.
Professor Sabbie Miller. (Reeta Asmai/UC Davis)

Sabbie Miller Receives $1.5M to Develop Life Cycle Assessment Tools for Carbon Negative Buildings

Civil and environmental engineering professor Sabbie Miller has received $1.5M in federal funding from the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E agency to advance the methods and metrics necessary to quantify greenhouse gas (GHG) sequestration in building materials.

This project was selected as a part of the Harnessing Emissions into Structures Taking Inputs from the Atmosphere Exploratory Topic. Miller and her team focus on building materials but aim to shift the paradigm in how novel sequestering systems are assessed, ranging from new fuels to fertilizers.

“It feels fantastic to receive this award,” said Miller. “This is such an important area to be working in, and it is an honor for our group to have been selected to advance this field.”

Miller’s research group focuses on lowering the environmental impacts of the built environment, specifically devising methods to quantify, assess and mitigate the climate and health burdens from materials demand.

They are also developing methods for improving materials design procedures to concurrently assess the environmental impact and material performance by linking structural engineering, materials engineering and life-cycle assessment concepts.

“To mitigate further anthropogenic impacts on the climate, we need technological breakthroughs,” said Miller. “The uptake and sequestration of GHGs in materials can help counter our negative impacts while creating products that benefit society.”

Because there are many ways to uptake GHGs from the atmosphere and sequester them in materials, Miller and her team are working to determine systematic quantitative methods for analyzing all materials that could perform this function to allow for robust comparisons and selection among them.

“Our goal is to change the world for the better. Advancing the tools to do this sort of change is critical to ensure we mitigate our damages to the environment,” said Miller.

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