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 2016 REI Annual Symposium on May 4th
(Left to Right: Ian Montgomery, Ian Stewart, Timothy Lee, and Michaela Murr)
1st Place for $2,500: A Model-Based Approach to Optimizing Rutgers Transportation Efficiency
Timothy Lee and Michaela Murr
Lee Major: Chemistry
Murr Major: Mathematics Minor: Economics and Computer Science
Abstract: A model of the current bus transportation system was created and analyzed to propose a more efficient model system. This proposed model can decrease travel times between campus centers by 23.5-66.6% and increase the maximum number of students transported between campuses by 16.1% while using six fewer buses. Reallocating these projected savings to a bike-share program can encourage eco-friendly practices and offer alternative and convenient means of travel for Rutgers students. Over a ten-year period, we expect to save over $740,000 and prevent over 190,000 kilograms of greenhouse-gas emissions.
2nd Place for $1,500: Submetering Rutgers Housing and Nudging Positive Behavior
Major: Environmental Policy Institutions and Behavior
Abstract: A coalition of student and faculty members will be formed to bring awareness to energy reduction methods. Competitions with rewards between residence halls, apartments, and campuses can bring additional motivation for energy reduction to people who do not currently pay for electricity. This requires data that is currently unknown but can be solved through an installation of more extensive submetering of buildings and analysis software and will provide a fast return on investment through cost savings.
3rd Place for $1,000: Integration of Solar Thermal Energy at Rutgers University
Major: Physics Minor: Biological Sciences & Mathematics
Abstract: Installation of solar water heaters on the flat top roofs of residence halls on College Avenue and Cook-Douglass campuses represents an efficient means of lowering the university’s energy consumption from the grid and its effective carbon footprint. With an estimated total cost of $1,102,104 for hardware, permitting, inspection, and installation of these systems on nine dormitories and three laboratories at Rutgers, the systems could potential save $742,894 per year on hot water when displacing electrical water heaters or $62,160 per year when displacing natural gas. The total energy savings of the installed systems is estimated at 208,620 Therms or 6,108,000 kWh annually. This is equivalent to a reduction of approximately 1,106 metric tons of CO2 according to figures from the EPA . Furthermore, implementation of solar water heaters at Rutgers University could raise public awareness of solar thermal systems as efficient renewable energy sources both domestically and commercially.