Faculty members protect environment

Lave gets environmental award

On June 24, Carnegie Mellon’s Lester B. Lave will receive the prestigious 2010 Richard Beatty Mellon Environmental Stewardship Award, given by the Air and Waste Management Association. Lave is the Harry B. and James H. Higgins professor of economics. He also acts as the director of Carnegie Mellon’s Green Design Initiative and is the co-director of the university’s Electricity Industry Center.

The Richard Beatty Mellon Environmental Stewardship Award is annually awarded to an individual whose actions have greatly encouraged the betterment of the environment, especially in the control of air pollution and waste management. Lave will accept the award at the Air and Waste Management Association’s annual meeting, held this year in Calgary, Canada.

Lave has accomplished much during his time at Carnegie Mellon, advancing the effort to encourage environmental responsibility. In 1970, Lave, with his Ph.D. student Eugene Seskin, published a research paper in the journal Science titled “Air Pollution and Human Health.” This paper linked high levels of air pollution with the shortening life spans of people in American cities — a concept which, while angering industries, would eventually revolutionize the environmental responsibilities of corporations. In 1982, Lave was elected to the National Academies Institute of Medicine for his contributions in air quality and health.

Lave earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Reed College in 1960 and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1963.

Hendrickson tracks water use

Chris Hendrickson, a Carnegie Mellon professor of civil and environmental engineering, is leading a team of researchers who are studying the amount of water used in the production of various goods such as pet food and sugar.

The goal of the group’s study is to help industries track and make better management decisions about how they use water during the creation of their products.
Hendrickson, along with civil engineering Ph.D. candidates Michael Blackhurst and Jordi Vidal, has committed to studying industrial water usage with the hopes of discovering the indirect usages of water that are not often reported.

Hendrickson’s team found that most companies’ consumption of water is hidden because water usage is not measured when used in indirect processes like production.

In 96 percent of sectors evaluated, indirect uses exceeded direct uses throughout the supply chain.

Through the study, the researchers discovered that it takes almost 270 gallons of water to produce $1 worth of sugar, 140 gallons to make $1 worth of milk, and 200 gallons of water to make $1 worth of cat and dog food.

The team hopes that their results will encourage effective and appropriate water usage in industry.

More information on Henderson and his team’s research can be found at