How likely is a new teenage driver to trade in his or her keys for an electric bike? That’s a question some UT professors are trying to answer. Together, professors from four different departments within the College of Engineering have won a $15,000 grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency. The grant is phase one of the EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet annual student design competition, which offers students quality hands-on experience that brings their classroom learning to life.
UT is on the leading edge—a green edge. It is one of the first large universities in the Southeast to offer a major in sustainability. The interdisciplinary major offers a curriculum that enables students to learn the policy and procedures behind reducing the impact on the natural environment to create a healthy economy and meet the needs of citizens.
Massey Hall has won the eighth annual Make Orange Green POWER Challenge, earning the title of “greenest” residence hall on campus. Hosted every October by the Office of Sustainability, the POWER Challenge encourages resource conservation, recycling, and environmental awareness in the university’s twelve residence halls.
Over the past four years, the campus community has worked together to avoid more than $5 million in energy costs through changing their daily habits as part of our Switch your Thinking effort. The winter months offer a significant opportunity for Volunteers to conserve energy and have a positive impact on the campus’s environment—and its wallet.
By altering our daily habits, students, faculty, and staff have prevented the release of 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. This reduction in greenhouse gases is equal to the annual emissions from 9,400 passenger cars, the electricity use of 5,900 homes, or the burning of 260 railcars’ worth of coal.
As the holiday season draws closer, Facilities Services requests your continued support for campus energy conservation efforts. With fewer visitors on campus during holidays and other campus closures, we have a tremendous opportunity to realize additional energy and cost savings.
Since UT launched its ‘Switch Your Thinking’ campaign in September 2008, campus electricity use per square foot has decreased by approximately 7 percent. With this improvement, the university has cut more than 68,000 megawatt-hours in electricity usage equaling a cost avoidance of $5.2 million.
The Knoxville News Sentinel interviewed UT’s Eco CAR2 team about their three-year challenge to convert a Chevrolet Malibu into a more eco-friendly car. The team is rebuilding it to run off ethanol and electricity. Their designs, though similar to hybrid cars already on the market, will be different in how the systems interact, said Mitchel Routh, a mechanical engineering graduate student set to finish his degree next week.
What provides Wi-Fi connectivity, security, shelter, lighting, seating, and uses net-zero energy? A new Solar Secure station now installed on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus. UT is the first university in the country to house a Solar Secure SunStation. The structure was unveiled on July 12 outside Perkins Hall on the Hill.
About 40 percent of energy in the US is produced by coal. Yet this power leaves behind the largest carbon footprint. A professor in the College of Engineering has received funds from the U.S. Department of Energy to help change that. Professor Peter Liaw and colleagues have received a $300,000 Clean Coal Research Award for Improved Structural Materials.