The GSD’s Martin Bechthold, Holly Samuelson, and Amy Whitesides are among the grant recipients of the first Salata Institute Seed Grant Program, launched in April to enable new interdisciplinary research in climate and sustainability. The program will support 19 faculty members working across seven Harvard Schools with funding for projects ranging from exploring a new, algae-based building insulation material to researching the carbon footprint of AI-driven computing.
Martin Bechthold, Kumagai Professor of Architectural Technology and Co-Director of the Doctor in Design Studies Program, is co-principal investigator on a project with Jennifer Lewis of the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The team will research and develop a proof of concept for a carbon-negative insulation material made from microalgae, a cost-effective way to reduce buildings’ energy consumption and emissions.
Holly Samuelson, Associate Professor of Architecture, is the principal investigator on a project researching how architects can prioritize saving heating or cooling energy by analyzing the potential benefits of revising glass requirements. The optimal glass properties depend on not only building type and window orientation—variables already lumped together in today’s broad-brush building codes—but also properties of evolving heating systems and electricity generation.
Amy Whitesides, Design Critic in Landscape Architecture, is the principal investigator studying how forests play a crucial role in mitigating climate change. Agroforestry may offer means to diversify and protect lands that face encroachment and climate threats and often support lower-income communities. In support of the project, Whitesides will bring together landscape architects, planners, foresters, farmers, municipalities, and land management specialists.