AASHE Award Winner Webinar - Developing Energy Efficiency and Water Conservation Strategies Through Student Research

AASHE Webinars

Webinar Recording and Presentation Materials are available in the Campus Sustainability Hub.

Webinar Date
February 15, 2017, 3:00-4:00PM ET

Student groups at the University of Houston and University of Michigan have developed strategies for energy efficiency and water conservation on campus through research.

At the University of Michigan, a team of six graduate students worked closely with Johnson Controls, Inc. and campus stakeholders to establish a baseline for energy consumption at the University, and to identify key areas for improvement. Over the course of sixteen months, the team: developed campus-wide electricity, steam and cost flow diagrams; conducted comparative building analyses on 20 campus buildings; created organization charts of campus energy stakeholders; and performed an in-depth audit of one building. In their final report, they provide a series of campus-wide and building-specific recommendations for the University to further improve energy efficiency on campus, improve efforts towards their sustainability goals, and to work towards doubling energy efficiency on campus by 2030.

At the University of Houston, a student group made it their mission to investigate areas of high on-campus water consumption, discover practical conservation methods and map out implementation strategies for the University of Houston. The responsibility for ensuring a sustainable water future lies within the community as a whole. However, the first steps towards developing a campus water conservation plan may seem quite daunting, especially from a student’s perspective. In this webinar, the students will lead you through their research process and proposal, which aims to maximize campus water conservation through rainwater harvesting, landscaping and irrigation, restroom utilities, and public outreach and education. They will also highlight current UH sustainability initiatives as well as the university’s Energy & Sustainability minor program.

Brittany Szczepanik, University of Michigan (Winner of 2016 Campus Sustainability Research Award)
szczepanik.jpg Brittany Szczepanik is a dual Master's degree student at the University of Michigan studying Sustainable Systems in the School of Natural Resources and Environment, and Energy Systems Engineering in the College of Engineering. ​In her graduate career, she has focused on improving demand-side energy systems in the built environment; greenhouse gas analysis and mitigation strategies; life cycle analysis; and energy efficiency management and consulting. In addition to working with Johnson Controls, Inc. in her team's project, "Doubling Energy Efficiency at the University of Michigan by 2030," she also worked as an intern for the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan, The Dow Chemical Company, and NSF International. After graduation, she hopes to continue driving progress towards energy efficiency and sustainability, particularly in local school districts, where she had previously spent her career as a high school English teacher.

Joanne Ma and Itay Porat, University of Houston (Winner of 2016 Campus Sustainability Research Award)
ma.jpg Joanne Ma is a sophomore currently pursuing a Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Houston’s Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design with a minor in energy and sustainability. Prior to her architectural studies, Ma served two years on local nonprofit Keep Sugar Land Beautiful’s Youth Advisory Board and interned with international nonprofit The Pangea Network. Ma joined the University of Houston Office of Sustainability in July 2015 as an outreach assistant and has gained experience with community outreach, zero-waste event planning, social media and graphic design. Her professional interests include urban development, waste management systems and landfill architecture.

porat.jpg Itay Porat is a senior pursuing a Bachelors of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of Houston's Cullen College of Engineering and a minor in Energy and Sustainability. Throughout his studies Itay has conducted research in materials for flexible energy storage devices and currently participates in NASA sponsored atmospheric and auroral research project. His main professional interests include sustainable infrastructure and building systems, water resource management and waste management.