The Rutgers Energy Institute annually challenges Rutgers undergraduates to develop implementable plans for reducing energy consumption on campus. The three winning entries were awarded prizes at the 2013 REI Annual Symposium on May 7th.
The REI gratefully acknowledges sponsorship of the Energy Contest by Sapphire Energy Inc.
1st Place for $2,500: Reducing Utility Consumption via Incentives (RUCVI)
Joe Woo, Matthew Lu, Moiz Rauf
Major(s) Materials Science & Engineering (all). Abstract: Proposal for the implementation of a novel incentivisation program which, in close collaboration with the Residence Hall Association, can serve to reduce utility consumption to the greatest extent possible. Step 1: Measure average electricity, heating, and water usage per residence hall; set a realistic target for reduction of energy expenditure (i.e.: reduce 10% of this measured consumption) for subsequent years. Step 2: Implement a monetary reward system, coupled with real-time visual feedback of energy savings, to maximally incentivize students to reach and surpass this target figure. Step 3: Carefully monitor term-by-term statistics to revise the program implementation strategy and further optimize revenue.
2nd Place for $1,500: RU New to Eco-Friendly Transportation
Major: Landscape Industry. Abstract: The RU New to Eco-Friendly Transportation consists of a multiyear process to introduce two new forms of transportation to this university. Those two methods include a purely electric-powered monorail system and a series of bike lanes. Both will provide easy access for students to each campus without the distraction of local roads and traffic. The monorail track itself will supply a shelter for the bike lanes that will be installed underneath. To ensure the use of these lanes, Rutgers will promote a bike sharing system. This system has been around for dozens of years as it is utilized mostly in Europe and has shown to be effective. These bike sharing rental stations will be located on each campus and only be exclusive for students and faculty. With the introduction of these two methods, the use of busses will be minimized.
3rd Place for $1,000: Alternative Lawns - Using clover as an eco-sustainable alternative to grass
Kelsey Noll, Steven Daniels
Major(s): Genetics Minor(s): Spanish Daniels Major(s): Marine Sciences - Biological Oceanography. Abstract: Traditional grass lawns are costly, time-consuming, and not a sustainable, environmentally friendly option. Planting a White Dutch Clover (Trifolium repens) lawn as opposed to a traditional Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratenis) lawn reduces the fiscal and physical investment of lawn maintenance and promotes more sustainable practices, all while maintaining the green lawn appeal. This project investigates this lawn alternative, among others, and considers the advantages and disadvantages when compared to a traditional grass lawn. We have compiled our findings as a proposal to benefit Rutgers University and homeowners alike. We have created plans to implement clover lawns on both the engineering quad on Busch Campus and at Rutgers Gardens, which will make on-campus lawn maintenance more efficient while also educating the public about this alternative. Additionally, the project includes a start-up guide to planting a clover lawn to educate any interested individual who would like to grow such a lawn.
Honorable Mention: Tray-less Dining Halls
Pooja Pancholi, Sara Yesalavich, Rashmi Singh, Erin Conner
Abstract: Dining halls are significant contributors to water usage, food waste, and electricity usage, along with other forms of energy. Because of this, they can have a profound impact on the environment, even when compared to other parts of college campuses. Our program aims to eliminate the use of trays by slowly fazing them out over time. By eliminating trays throughout the New Brunswick campus, Rutgers will save significantly on water usage and food waste, as well as electricity, detergents, and such. Food waste will decline because students will no longer be able to pile their trays with multiple plates and cups. These reductions in food and water will not only help the environment but also save money for the university and students: a decrease in food waste will likely result in a decrease of ordered food and help control rising meal costs for students. Additionally, the removal of trays from dishwashers creates more space and allows more dishes to be washed using the same amount of water. By this simple action, multiple factors of energy use and consumption can be addressed in a significant way for a lasting effect.
- Click here to read the entire proposal