The RFP for the 2013-2014 LCA+U Challenge is now available! Proposals for this year's challenge will be accepted through November 22nd. We encourage teams to discuss ideas with on-campus staff and faculty to find well-defined problems prior to submission. ESW-National is happy to review ideas before the deadline by sending them to Erin Lennox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the RFP and apply today!
Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, ESW and Sustainable Minds have run the life-cycle assessment plus universities (LCA+U) challenge. LCA+U has students work with campus staff and sustainability life-cycle assessment software to identify solutions or improvements to campus operations that have quantifiably lower environmental impacts.
LCA+U provides a way to engage students and staff on campus and arm them with tools to investigate whether popular options will be what has the most potential environmental impact. If you're interested in learning more about the challenge, contact Erin Lennox at email@example.com.
The final presentations from the 2013 Project Teams are available for viewing:
- Georgia Institute of Technology:
Campus Recreation Center Machine Cleaning: The Campus Recreation Center currently uses disposable disinfectant wipes for its equipment. This study will look at alternative means of disinfecting equipment between uses through reusable towels and several harmless chemical options. Given that the Rec Center has 53,000 visits per month, the potential impact of this study is significant.
Powering Bus Notification Systems: Electronic boards at bus shelters currently notify students of upcoming arrivals. These are powered by the campus grid currently. This study will consider alternate means of powering these boards using solar power or green power, and the effects of concentrating or distributing these resources from an economic and environmental perspective.
- The Ohio State University:
Energy and Water Consumption in the Scott Laboratory Buliding: Scott Laboratory spends $72,000 per month in electricity, expending over 3.5 milllion pounds of carbon dioxide. This study will look at means of reducing this electricity bill by reducing the temperature surrounding the building with planting, a green roof, and innovative HVAC strategies. The team will consider the impact on both cost and carbon dioxide or each strategy.
Ohio State's Final Project Report is available here.
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute:
Designing a Biofuel Production Plant: Biodiesel from waste fats and greases represents a very promising means of reducing emissions from campus buses. It is a scalable technology that can be implemented directly on the RPI campus. This study will consider the differences in life-cycle impact of implementing biodiesel compared to traditional diesel production and use.
- Rochester Institute of Technology
Take-Out Containers: What's a Better Way to Carry Our Food?: Carry out food from campus dining currently is packaged in petroleum-based clamshell containers or paper plates with aluminum foil. This study will assess biodegradable plastic containers and reusable options to determine the possibility for improved life-cycle impact from switching carry out packaging.
- University of British Columbia:
Organic Waste Management at UBC: A composting facility was installed on the UBC campus 10 years ago. The system is now reaching the end of its life, and UBC is considering sevearl options for what to do with organic waste. The University can replace the existing facility or transport its waste to private facilities off-site. This study will consider the economic and environmental impacts of these options to help identify a preferred strategy.
- University of Pittsburgh:
Improving Heating and Cooling in Hillman Library: Hillman, the largest library on the Pitt campus, was constructed in the 1960s in an energy inefficient manner. The building is due for renovation, and this study is an opportunity to assess lighting and heating strategies that are being considered to determine which will provide the best option for reducing emissions and cost from these energy intensive systems.
The press release announcing the selected projects for our first LCA+U Challenge is linked here.