Tag Archives: sustainability

Eco-Challenge Competition: Reusable to-go boxes

Nathan Arnett

Nathan Arnett,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 30 November 2017

Along with some other Engineering Ambassadors, I was fortunate enough to compete in this year’s Ohio University Eco-Challenge! The competition involved members of the Cutler Scholars Program, the Russ College of Engineering and Technology Robe Leadership Institute, and the College of Business Select Leaders program.

The purpose of the project/competition is to present a sustainability solution for a current issue at Ohio University or in the Athens area to panel of judges, and the top idea(s) are selected to be implemented. However, the project involves much more than this. It is also an opportunity to work with students outside of engineering and to make a “sales pitch” of your ideas, which are both things you don’t really get to do in the engineering curriculum alone.

My team’s project was to replace the current compostable to-go boxes from the dining halls with reusable, recyclable to-go boxes—and I am happy to report that my team’s proposal received first place! Because of this, the Culinary Services program at Ohio University is beginning a pilot program for this upcoming spring semester, and if this goes according to plan, all dining halls will have these reusable boxes come Fall 2018.

So, if you’re a future student reading this, you can thank Eco-Challenge Team 4 when you get to use the durable, reusable boxes! We hope the transition is smooth, and we are excited about the positive environmental impact this change will have.

Eco-Challenge: Residence Hall Heating

Brandon Mahr

Brandon Mahr,
Senior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 28 November 2017

If you’re looking for a challenge outside of your normal homework and projects, you won’t have to look far at Ohio University. Feeling a little bold earlier this semester and looking to improve my problem solving skills, I engaged in Ohio University’s Eco-Challenge, and it was an awesome experience.

The Ohio University Eco-Challenge is a competition that involves students from the Russ College Robe Leadership Institute, students from the College of Business’s Select Scholars, and the Cutler Scholars organization. Students from each of the organizations are mixed and put into teams, where they then
are tasked with developing a sustainable concept supported by a savings analysis.

My team got to work in early September developing a concept to improve Ohio University’s sustainability efforts. The concept we came up with was implementing occupancy-sensing thermostats in Ohio University’s dorms, so that when students left their dorm rooms, the AC/Heating would automatically kick-off, thus eliminating AC/Heating energy waste.

Then the real work began. Not only did we have to come up with the concept, we had to prove that it would save Ohio University money.

Thankfully, Dan Squiller, an alumnus of Ohio University and CEO of Aquam Corporation in California, was there to guide us along the way. With the support of Dan and other professors, my team was able to develop a feasible implementation strategy that could save Ohio University almost $40,000
dollars a year if implemented in Bromley Hall!

Unfortunately, our concept proposal did not win, but OU facilities is still looking into implementing our concept.

The experience was awesome, and I can’t thank Dan Squiller and Ohio University enough for providing me the opportunity to solve a real world problem and engage in problem solving with a cross-functional team.

Eco-Challenge: Aquatic Center

Landon Rehmar

Landon Rehmar,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 26 November 2017

This semester I had had the amazing opportunity to be selected into the Robe Leadership Institute. RLI is a unique course for graduating seniors in the Russ College. The purpose of the course is to develop engineering students’ leadership skill-set through valuable leadership insight and techniques. The course is led by one of the best professors in the Russ College, Dr. Bayless, a faculty member of the Mechanical Engineering Department.

One part of the RLI is a project called the Eco-Challenge. The Eco-Challenge is a competition to come up with sustainability projects around campus. It is a unique project with teams made of a combination of engineering students from RLI, business students from Select Leaders, and a wide variety of students from the Cutler Scholars Program.

This challenge helped everyone learn how to work in a diverse group and practice leadership skills. The interdisciplinary teams required us to work with students with entirely different backgrounds, mindsets, and problem solving skills.

My team’s project was to retrofit the aquatic center with new high efficiency LEDs. The project was a great learning experience and a huge success: if our recommendations are implemented we projected that the University will save over $14,000 and over 350,000 lbs of CO2 per year.

The competition concluded with presentations to our professors and various stakeholders around campus. My team ended up taking second place and on top of that, our project will most likely be implemented.

Eco-Challenge

This course and project have allowed me to learn things about leadership that most students don’t get the opportunity to learn. I really enjoyed working on the Eco-Challenge and would highly encourage anyone with the opportunity to take RLI to do so!