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Harvard - Miniwiz Research

Massachusetts, United States

MINIWIZ teamed up with Harvard University to develop a series of joint Harvard-Miniwiz research programs. The first is a study analyzing POLLI-Bricks and other façade systems to map a blueprint for future LCA. Most existing LCA standards either lean towards the academic or commercial side of the spectrum, causing assessments to be very time or money consuming. This study attempts to isolate the most important criteria of LCA, and create a balanced approach that can be used by architects or other eco-conscious businesses to assess the environmental impacts of sustainable building materials. This study is performed by post-doctorate associates, and led by Professor Martin Bechthold of Harvard GSD.

The second Harvard-Miniwiz joint program is a course titled Life Cycle Design which is offered as part of the Harvard Design School’s curriculum. Life Cycle Design is also led by Professor Bechthold, with support from Harvard Business School’s Professor John Macomber. This course focuses on life cycle design, with an emphasis on recycled materials and applications for the building envelope. Students are introduced to the fundamentals of life cycle assessment, product developing and prototyping, and manufacturing processes. The course also covers market research and the business aspects of product development. Working in groups, students develop proposals and prototypes for building components based on recycled materials, while conducting studies on life cycle assessments, design potential, assembly, and construction integration.

MINIWIZ sponsors the program for Harvard students which includes a one-week field trip to Taiwan, where they can visit local manufacturers for a first-hand experience in recycled material processing, discuss feasibility of designs with MINIWIZ architects and engineers, and study local industry ecology, recycling streams, and sustainable product supply chain innovation. As pioneers in sustainable material R&D, MINIWIZ leads the research in material technology and provides industry know-how for ensuring mass manufacturability, and thus market competitive edge, of sustainable products.

For more information:
Harvard Course Catalogue