Frugal Innovation Hub

Sustainable Construction Lab

Welcome to the Sustainable Construction Lab!


This lab is dedicated to structural and earthquake-resistant structural engineering, with an emphasis on locally-attuned and more sustainable materials and building systems.

Dr. Mark Aschheim is the lead of the Sustainable Construction Lab in the Frugal Innovation Hub. He has a strong interest in performance-based earthquake engineering. He is currently developing techniques for performance-based seismic design and improved structural systems made with conventional and more sustainable (green) building materials.

Other professors who do have done amazing work in Sustainable Construction are Dr. Tonya Nilsson and Dr. Ed Maurer.




Examples of projects in this lab:

Humanitarian Award 2015

Students: Greg O’Neill and Jonathan Tadros

Advisors: Mark Aschheim and Tonya Nilsson

This project researches Arundo donax—a type of giant, perennial cane plant—to examine its use as a viable structural building material. Used alongside other traditional building methods, this material may offer new technologies for housing in developing countries.

Students: Bryson Kam, Andrew Spencer

Advisors: Mark Aschheim and Tonya Nilsson

Our project focuses on the construction and testing of a proposed structural system in which bamboo and concrete masonry block are incorporated with a plastic hinge mechanism. This structure would primarily be used in Haiti and other developing countries that are prone to seismic activity.

Students: Margaret Ackerson, McKenna Williams

Advisor: Mark Aschheim and Tonya Nilsson

Our seismic test series will analyze the effect of mesh wire type on ductility and the validity of the existing wall slenderness limits. By performing four tests in a consistent lab environment, the results can be reliably compared to each other and used as evidence to improve code.

Contact Us


Santa Clara University
School of Engineering
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053

Guadalupe Hall, Bldg. 455, 3rd Floor

(408) 554-2334

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