Skip to content Skip to navigation

Michael Lepech

Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment

Bio
Professor Lepech's research focuses on the integration of sustainability indicators into engineering design, ranging from materials design, structural design, system design, to operations management. Such sustainability indicators include a comprehensive set of environmental, economic, and social costs. Recently his research has focused on the design of sustainable high performance fiber-reinforced cementitious composites (HPFRCCs) and fiber-reinforced polymers (FRPs), the impacts of sustainable materials on building and infrastructure design and operation, and the development of new life cycle assessment (LCA) applications for building systems, transportation systems, water systems, consumer products. Along with this he is studying the effects that slowly diffusing sustainable civil engineering innovations, and the social networks they diffuse through, can have on achieving long term sustainability goals.
Academic Appointments: 
Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Education: 
MBA, University of Michigan, Finance and Strategy (2008)
PhD, University of Michigan, Civil and Environmental Engineering (2006)
Academic and Contact Information
Alternate Contact: 
Administrator
Teaching
Courses Taught: 
Advisees: 
Postdoctoral Advisees: 
Publications
Cradle-to-gate sustainable target value design: integrating life cycle assessment and construction management for buildings JOURNAL OF CLEANER PRODUCTION Russell-Smith, S. V., Lepech, M. D. 2015; 100: 107-115
Integrating durability-based service-life predictions with environmental impact assessments of natural fiber-reinforced composite materials RESOURCES CONSERVATION AND RECYCLING Miller, S. A., Srubar, W. V., Billington, S. L., Lepech, M. D. 2015; 99: 72-83
Static versus Time-Dependent Material Selection Charts and Application in Wood Flour Composites JOURNAL OF BIOBASED MATERIALS AND BIOENERGY Miller, S. A., Lepech, M. D., Billington, S. L. 2015; 9 (2): 273-283
Techno-Ecological Synergy: A Framework for Sustainable Engineering ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY Bakshi, B. R., Ziv, G., Lepech, M. D. 2015; 49 (3): 1752-1760

Abstract

Even though the importance of ecosystems in sustaining all human activities is well-known, methods for sustainable engineering fail to fully account for this role of nature. Most methods account for the demand for ecosystem services, but almost none account for the supply. Incomplete accounting of the very foundation of human well-being can result in perverse outcomes from decisions meant to enhance sustainability and lost opportunities for benefiting from the ability of nature to satisfy human needs in an economically and environmentally superior manner. This paper develops a framework for understanding and designing synergies between technological and ecological systems to encourage greater harmony between human activities and nature. This framework considers technological systems ranging from individual processes to supply chains and life cycles, along with corresponding ecological systems at multiple spatial scales ranging from local to global. The demand for specific ecosystem services is determined from information about emissions and resource use, while the supply is obtained from information about the capacity of relevant ecosystems. Metrics calculate the sustainability of individual ecosystem services at multiple spatial scales and help define necessary but not sufficient conditions for local and global sustainability. Efforts to reduce ecological overshoot encourage enhancement of life cycle efficiency, development of industrial symbiosis, innovative designs and policies, and ecological restoration, thus combining the best features of many existing methods. Opportunities for theoretical and applied research to make this framework practical are also discussed.

View details for DOI 10.1021/es5041442

View details for Web of Science ID 000349060300063

View details for PubMedID 25560912

Impact of progressive sustainable target value assessment on building design decisions BUILDING AND ENVIRONMENT Russell-Smith, S. V., Lepech, M. D., Fruchter, R., Littman, A. 2015; 85: 52-60
Sustainable target value design: integrating life cycle assessment and target value design to improve building energy and environmental performance JOURNAL OF CLEANER PRODUCTION Russell-Smith, S. V., Lepech, M. D., Fruchter, R., Meyer, Y. B. 2015; 88: 43-51
Incorporating spatiotemporal effects and moisture diffusivity into a multi-criteria materials selection methodology for wood-polymer composites CONSTRUCTION AND BUILDING MATERIALS Srubar, W. V., Miller, S. A., Lepech, M. D., Billington, S. L. 2014; 71: 589-601
A multi-objective feedback approach for evaluating sequential conceptual building design decisions AUTOMATION IN CONSTRUCTION Basbagill, J. P., Flager, F. L., Lepech, M. 2014; 45: 136-150
Firm-level ecosystem service valuation using mechanistic biogeochemical modeling and functional substitutability ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS Comello, S. D., Maltais-Landry, G., Schwegler, B. R., Lepech, M. D. 2014; 100: 63-73
Probabilistic design and management of environmentally sustainable repair and rehabilitation of reinforced concrete structures CEMENT & CONCRETE COMPOSITES Lepech, M. D., Geiker, M., Stang, H. 2014; 47: 19-31
Application of multi-criteria material selection techniques to constituent refinement in biobased composites MATERIALS & DESIGN Miller, S. A., Lepech, M. D., Billington, S. L. 2013; 52: 1043-1051
Behavior of Concrete and ECC Structures under Simulated Earthquake Motion JOURNAL OF STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING-ASCE Gencturk, B., Elnashai, A. S., Lepech, M. D., Billington, S. 2013; 139 (3): 389-399
Network-Level Pavement Asset Management System Integrated with Life-Cycle Analysis and Life-Cycle Optimization JOURNAL OF INFRASTRUCTURE SYSTEMS Zhang, H., Keoleian, G. A., Lepech, M. D. 2013; 19 (1): 99-107
Application of life-cycle assessment to early stage building design for reduced embodied environmental impacts BUILDING AND ENVIRONMENT Basbagill, J., Flager, F., Lepech, M., Fischer, M. 2013; 60: 81-92
Improvement in environmental performance of poly(beta-hydroxybutyrate)-co-(beta-hydroxyvalerate) composites through process modifications JOURNAL OF CLEANER PRODUCTION Miller, S. A., Billington, S. L., Lepech, M. D. 2013; 40: 190-198
Durability of strain-hardening cement-based composites (SHCC) MATERIALS AND STRUCTURES Van Zijl, G. P., Wittmann, F. H., Oh, B. H., Kabele, P., Toledo Filho, R. D., Fairbairn, E. M., Slowik, V., Ogawa, A., Hoshiro, H., Mechtcherine, V., Altmann, F., Lepech, M. D. 2012; 45 (10): 1447-1463
Cradle-to-Gate Life Cycle Assessment for a Cradle-to-Cradle Cycle: Biogas-to-Bioplastic (and Back) ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY Rostkowski, K. H., Criddle, C. S., Lepech, M. D. 2012; 46 (18): 9822-9829

Abstract

At present, most synthetic organic materials are produced from fossil carbon feedstock that is regenerated over time scales of millions of years. Biobased alternatives can be rapidly renewed in cradle-to-cradle cycles (1-10 years). Such materials extend landfill life and decrease undesirable impacts due to material persistence. This work develops a LCA for synthesis of polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) from methane with subsequent biodegradation of PHB back to biogas (40-70% methane, 30-60% carbon dioxide). The parameters for this cradle-to-cradle cycle for PHB production are developed and used as the basis for a cradle-to-gate LCA. PHB production from biogas methane is shown to be preferable to its production from cultivated feedstock due to the energy and land required for the feedstock cultivation and fermentation. For the PHB-methane cycle, the major challenges are PHB recovery and demands for energy. Some or all of the energy requirements can be satisfied using renewable energy, such as a portion of the collected biogas methane. Oxidation of 18-26% of the methane in a biogas stream can meet the energy demands for aeration and agitation, and recovery of PHB synthesized from the remaining 74-82%. Effective coupling of waste-to-energy technologies could thus conceivably enable PHB production without imported carbon and energy.

View details for DOI 10.1021/es204541w

View details for Web of Science ID 000308787800002

View details for PubMedID 22775327

Human Health Impact as a Boundary Selection Criterion in the Life Cycle Assessment of Pultruded Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composite Materials JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL ECOLOGY Basbagill, J. P., Lepech, M. D., Ali, S. M. 2012; 16 (2): 266-275
Project-Level Assessment of Environmental Impact: Ecosystem Services Approach to Sustainable Management and Development JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT IN ENGINEERING Comello, S. D., Lepech, M. D., Schwegler, B. R. 2012; 28 (1): 5-12
Multi-objective building envelope optimization for life-cycle cost and global warming potential 9th European Conference on Product and Process Modelling Flager, F., Basbagill, J., Lepech, M., Fischer, M. CRC PRESS-TAYLOR & FRANCIS GROUP. 2012: 193–200
Structural modeling of corroded reinforced concrete bridge columns 6th International Conference on Bridge Maintenance, Safety and Management (IABMAS) Rao, A. S., Lepech, M. D., Kiremidjian, A. S. CRC PRESS-TAYLOR & FRANCIS GROUP. 2012: 1008–1014
USING LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT METHODS TO GUIDE ARCHITECTURAL DECISION-MAKING FOR SUSTAINABLE PREFABRICATED MODULAR BUILDINGS JOURNAL OF GREEN BUILDING Faludi, J., Lepech, M. D., Loisos, G. 2012; 7 (3): 151-170
ECOLOGICAL PAYBACK TIME OF AN ENERGY-EFFICIENT MODULAR BUILDING JOURNAL OF GREEN BUILDING Faludi, J., Lepech, M. 2012; 7 (1): 100-119
INTEGRATED PROBABILISTIC LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT AND DURABILITY DESIGN FOR SUSTAINABLE SHCC INFRASTRUCTURE 2nd International RILEM Conference on Strain Hardening Cementitious Composites (SHCC2-Rio) Lepech, M. D., Stang, H., Geiker, M. R I L E M PUBLICATIONS. 2011: 157–164
A Framework for Multiphysics Modeling of Natural Environments for Valuation of Privately Owned Ecosystem Services IEEE International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST) Comello, S. D., Lepech, M. D. IEEE. 2011
Life-Cycle Optimization of Pavement Overlay Systems JOURNAL OF INFRASTRUCTURE SYSTEMS Zhang, H., Keoleian, G. A., Lepech, M. D., Kendall, A. 2010; 16 (4): 310-322
Dynamic Life-Cycle Modeling of Pavement Overlay Systems: Capturing the Impacts of Users, Construction, and Roadway Deterioration JOURNAL OF INFRASTRUCTURE SYSTEMS Zhang, H., Lepech, M. D., Keoleian, G. A., Qian, S., Li, V. C. 2010; 16 (4): 299-309
Design of Sustainable Pavements Using Probabilistic LCA/Durability Design Proceedings of International Workshop on Energy and Environment in the Development of Sustainable Asphalt Pavements Lepech, M. D. XIAN JIAOTUNG UNIV PRESS. 2010: 16–21
Improving infrastructure sustainability using nanoparticle engineered cementitious composites International Conference on Advanced Concrete Materials (ACM) Lepech, M. D. CRC PRESS-TAYLOR & FRANCIS GROUP. 2010: 153–161
Time varying risk modeling of deteriorating bridge infrastructure for sustainable infrastructure design 5th International Conference on Bridge Maintenance, Safety and Management (IABMAS) Rao, A. S., Lepech, M. D., Kiremidjian, A. S., Sun, X. Y. CRC PRESS-TAYLOR & FRANCIS GROUP. 2010: 2501–2508
Water permeability of engineered cementitious composites CEMENT & CONCRETE COMPOSITES Lepech, M. D., Li, V. C. 2009; 31 (10): 744-753
Application of ECC for bridge deck link slabs MATERIALS AND STRUCTURES Lepech, M. D., Li, V. C. 2009; 42 (9): 1185-1195
Introduction of Transition Zone Design for Bridge Deck Link Slabs Using Ductile Concrete ACI STRUCTURAL JOURNAL Qian, S., Lepech, M. D., Kim, Y. Y., Li, V. C. 2009; 106 (1): 96-105
Transition Zone Analysis and Design for Bridge Deck Link Slabs using Ductile Concrete ACI Structural Journal Qian, S., Lepech, M., Kim, Y., Y., Li, V., C. 2009; 1 (106): 96-105
Sustainable Infrastructure Systems using Engineered Cementitious Composites Lepech, M., D. 2009
Treatment of Uncertainties in Life Cycle Assessment Baker, J., W., Lepech, M. 2009
Improving Infrastructure Sustainability using Nanoparticle Engineered Cementitious Composites Lepech, M., D. 2009
Autogenous Healing of Engineered Cementitious Composites Under Wet-Dry Cycles Journal of Cement and Concrete Research Yang, Y., Lepech, M., D., Yang, E., H., Li, V., C. 2009; 39: 382-390
Design of Green Engineered Cementitious Composites for Improved Sustainability ACI MATERIALS JOURNAL Lepech, M. D., Li, V. C., Robertson, R. E., Keoleian, G. A. 2008; 105 (6): 567-575
Materials design for sustainability through life cycle modeling of engineered cementitious composites MATERIALS AND STRUCTURES Kendall, A., Keoleian, G. A., Lepech, M. D. 2008; 41 (6): 1117-1131
Design of green engineered cementitious composites for pavement overlay applications 1st International Symposium on Life-Cycle Civil Engineering Lepech, M. D., Keoleian, G. A., Qian, S., Li, V. C. CRC PRESS-TAYLOR & FRANCIS GROUP. 2008: 837–842
Large Scale Processing of Engineered Cementitious Composites ACI Materials Journal Lepech, M., D., Li, V., C. 2008; 4 (105): 358-366
An integrated life cycle assessment and life cycle analysis model for pavement overlay systems 1st International Symposium on Life-Cycle Civil Engineering Zhang, H., Keoleian, G. A., Lepech, M. D. CRC PRESS-TAYLOR & FRANCIS GROUP. 2008: 907–912
Incorporating Life Cycle Analysis into Early Stage Office Furniture Product Development International Life Cycle Assessment and Management 2007. Conway, C., Lepech, M., VanValkenburg, D., Youngs, B. 2007
Integrated Structure and Materials Design for Sustainable Concrete Transportation Infrastructure Lepech, M., Keoleian, G., A., Li, V., C. 2007
Guiding the design and application of new materials for enhancing sustainability performance: Framework and infrastructure application Symposium on Life-Cycle Analysis Tools for Green Materials and Process Selection held at the 2005 MRS Fall Meeting Keoleian, G. A., Kendall, A. M., Lepech, M. D., Li, V. C. MATERIALS RESEARCH SOCIETY. 2006: 123–134
General Design Assumptions for Engineered Cementitious Composites Li, V., C., Lepech, M. 2006
Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering: Integrating Material and Structural Design with Life Cycle Analysis Advances in Cement and Concrete X: Sustainability Lepech, M., Li, V., C. edited by Schrivener, K., Monteiro, P., Hanehara, S. ECI. 2006: 55–60
Long Term Durability Performance of Engineered Cementitious Composites International Journal for Restoration of Buildings and Monuments Lepech, M., D., Li, V., C. 2006; 2 (12): 119-132
Durability ang Long Term Performance of Engineered Cementitious Composites Lepech, M., Li, V., C. 2006
Life Cycle Modeling of Concrete Bridge Design: Comparison of Engineered Cementitious Composite Link Slabs and Conventional Steel Expansion Joints JOURNAL OF INFRASTRUCTURE SYSTEMS Keoleian, G. A., Kendall, A., Dettling, J. E., Smith, V. M., Chandler, R. F., Lepech, M. D., Li, V. C. 2005; 11 (1): 51-60
Life Cycle Modeling of Concrete Bridge Design: Comparison of ECC Link Slabs and Conventional Steel Expansion Joints Journal of Infrastructure Systems Keoleian, G., A., Kendall, A., Dettling, J., E., Smith, V., M., Chandler, R., F., Lepech, M., D. 2005: 51-60
Water Permeability of Cracked Cementitious Composites Lepech, M., Li, V. 2005
Life-Cycle Cost Model for Evaluating the Sustainability of Bridge Decks Keoleian, G., A., Kendall, A., Chandler, R., F., Helfand, G., Lepech, M., D., Li, V., C. 2005
Life Cycle Model for Evaluating the Sustainability of Concrete Infrastructure Systems Keoleian, G., Kendall, A., Chandler, R., Helfand, G., Lepech, M., Li, V., C. 2005
Design and Field Demonstration of ECC Link Slabs for Jointless Bridge Decks Lepech, M., Li, V., C. 2005
Sustainable Infrastructure Material Design Lepech, M., Li, V., C., Keoleian, G. 2005
Self -healing of ECC under cyclic wetting and drying Yang, Y., Lepech, M., Li, V. 2005
Self-healing in Cementitious Compounds Self-healing Materials Workshop Li, V., C., Lepech, M. edited by aan Zee, N. Delft, Netherlands. 2005: 1
Development of green engineered cementitious composites for sustainable infrastructure systems International Workshop on Sustainable Development and Concrete Technology Li, V. C., Lepech, M., Wang, S. X., Weimann, M., Keoleian, G. CENTER TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH & EDUCATION. 2004: 181–191
Crack Resistant Concrete Material for Transportation Construction Transportation Research Board 83rd Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers, Paper No. 04-4680. Li, V., C., Lepech, M. 2004
Size Effect in ECC Structural Members in Flexure Lepech, M., Li, V., C. 2004
Development of Green ECC for Sustainable Infrastructure Systems. Li, V., C., Lepech, M., Wang, S., Weimann, M., Keoleian, G. edited by Wang, K. 2004
Preliminary Findings on Size Effect in ECC Structural Members in Flexural Lepech, M., Li, V., C. 2003