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MS ’14

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Dec 2016
For me, being an engineer is being a problem-solver. One thing I’ve learned: The bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity.

This is one of the reasons why I chose to study civil engineering, and even more specifically, construction. Right now, my work focuses on asking and attempting to answer the question: What if everyone could have access to a healthy, comfortable, energy-efficient home that’s built without damaging the planet and produces very little waste?

Some time ago my parents decided to build their dream home in Montreal, Canada. It was not a good experience. The construction was way over time and over budget; a classic story. That’s when my dad, who had worked in the aerospace industry, came up with the idea for our family business. He thought we should bring the same engineering principles that are used in aerospace to the homebuilding industry. BONE Structure is a building system inspired by human beings, in the sense that we’re all completely different, but we all have the same 206 bones. So we build completely custom sustainable homes, but with the same structural parts. Our first project in California is here on campus. We built an almost entirely self-sufficient home in the faculty housing neighborhood for a professor in the Atmosphere/Energy program. There is no connection to a gas outlet. It’s completely powered by renewables, with a solar system and some Tesla Powerwalls to store the extra energy produced during the day.

Amanda Law