Institute produces winning team in UTSA Campus Greening Idea Contest

Institute produces winning team in UTSA Campus Greening Idea Contest
May 16, 2012 | posted by The Institute

By Nicole Chavez

Development Assistant, College of Architecture

UTSA Today Article 

(May 14, 2012) -- Students who won the UTSA Campus Greening Idea Contest were honored at a ceremony last month with certificates and cash prizes for the seven winning teams.


The first-place project proposal, "Smart Campus," was submitted by team members Clare Cloudt (Architecture), Michelle E. Garza (Environmental Science), Norma Gomez (Mechanical Engineering) and Daniel Fisher (Environmental Science). The team proposed that UTSA create a network of "smart" buildings in which sensors placed in breaker boxes would detect the amount of energy being consumed by different zones of the building. To encourage positive energy behavior, data points would be transmitted and analyzed, then shown on a screen show building occupants their zone's energy consumption in real time.


Thanks to generous support from the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Institute for Capacity Building, each winning entry received a cash award with $1,500 to the first-place team.


The contest was launched in late 2011 when UTSA students were invited to submit implementable and sustainable ideas to aid the greening of UTSA. With an emphasis on multidisciplinary collaboration, each idea team was required to have at least three members representing at least two UTSA colleges. Twenty teams submitted entries with 71 UTSA students participating and representing all eight colleges.


A seven-member jury of UTSA faculty, staff and students judged submissions. The contest organizer was Taeg Nishimoto, associate dean of the College of Architecture.


"This contest was a wonderful opportunity for so many students to think about sustainability initiatives," said Gage Paine, vice president for student affairs, who was a jury member. "The students who participated put a lot of time and thought into their submissions, and many of these proposals have a great chance to be implemented at UTSA in the future."

"Instant feedback really changes people's attitudes and actions, and that's what I liked about this project," said Pam Bacon, associate vice president for administration and contest jury member. "This project goes beyond metering because it's interactive."


Several of UTSA's leading organizations in sustainability were partners in the contest including the UTSA Sustainability Council, The Movement and the Green Fund Committee. The Movement, a UTSA student organization that focuses on sustainability and philanthropy, will work with all of the winning teams to help make their ideas more implementable and turn them into Green Fund applications. The Green Fund is a student-led committee that reviews and recommends funding for sustainability projects submitted by students, departments, faculty and staff.


>> See the list of the winners of the UTSA Campus Greening Idea Contest.


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For more information about the contest, email Nicole Chavez.