green buzz

Students in Georgia Tech’s School of Architecture will be researching zero energy housing concepts in studio over the next year thanks to $133,000 worth of funding sponsored by Alcoa Foundation and Architecture for Humanity and a $25,000 contribution from NY-based furniture solutions company Resource Furniture.

Bruce Stiftel, chair of the School of City and Regional Planning, was recently appointed to a United Nations (U.N.) expert group set up to advise U.N.-Habitat on the content of new international guidelines for urban and territorial planning intended for adoption by UN member states at the Habitat III gathering in 2016. 

In the past two years, the price of solar panels has dropped about 80 percent. Yet electricity from solar panels is still too expensive to compete with power from fossil fuels because the cost of all the other components and activities involved in installation— hardware, labor, permitting and inspection — hasn’t seen a comparable decline. This problem is among those being addressed at the recently-opened Carbon-Neutral Energy Solutions (CNES) Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

For the third time in as many years, Georgia Tech Bike Week is rolling through campus with events and competitions designed to encourage more people to bike on and around campus.

At the 2014 Earth Day celebration, hundreds of people will receive T-shirts that they'll wear on campus for years to come — and they could be sporting your design.

The Earth Day planning committee is holding a design contest for this year's T-shirt around the theme "Green is Global." The winning designer will earn $500. 

For owners of delivery truck fleets who may be trying to decide between electric or diesel vehicles, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are offering some advice: comparisons of the energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and total cost of ownership for the medium-duty vehicles.

The advantages of electric versus diesel depend largely on how the trucks will be used – the frequency of stops and average speeds – and the source of electricity for charging batteries. In city driving with frequent stops, the electric trucks clearly outperform diesel vehicles.

Georgia Tech's strategic plan, “Designing the Future,” calls for increasing leadership in defining and shaping the world, rather than responding to or being shaped by it. The Strategic Energy Insitute (SEI) is chasing this challenge and currently seeking proposals from the Georgia Tech community for projects that will promote thought leadership in the energy arena.

Transportation officials and researchers from several states gathered at Georgia Tech on Aug. 29 to review the results of the RS-GAMS2 Project, a 2-year, $1.9 million research enterprise that promises to revolutionize the way our nation’s roads are inventoried, managed, and maintained.

To the delight of its principal investigator, CEE’s Dr. James Tsai, this research will also change the way civil engineers do their work.

The Bicycle Infrastructure Improvement Committee (BIIC) is planning for campus improvements and wants to hear from you, regardless of whether you even own a bike.

An open survey has been developed by this campuswide group of students, faculty, and staff to determine both short- and long-term projects and priorities. The online survey takes about five minutes to complete and will be open through Sept. 27 at www.surveymonkey.com/s/GTbike.

The Office of Solid Waste Management & Recycling is in need of a social marketing student assistant for 20 hours per week for the 2013-14 school year.

The ideal candidate will be capable of managing a social media campaign, including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. He or she should be able to plan, implement, and follow up with analytics and insights.

Additional duties may include:

As Georgia Tech’s football team prepares for its season opener Saturday, another team prepares for the flood of fans and alumni who will come to campus in anticipation of the moment when toe meets leather in Bobby Dodd Stadium.

The Gameday Recycling team kicks off its sixth season with the Yellow Jackets’ home opener against Elon University this weekend, returning with its trademark blue bags for 40,000 tailgaters to use to dispose of their recyclables.

The Georgia Tech Facilities Management Energy Conservation team made the decision to switch from 32 watt, 4 foot, T8 linear fluorescent lamps to 28 watt, long life equivalent fluorescent lamps — a decision that will save the Institute more than $10,000 per year.

Rafael Bras, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs at Georgia Tech, has accepted an invitation to join the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. The 19-member panel, comprised of scientists, business executives, academics and former government officials, will serve as an independent advisory committee to U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

On a warm afternoon in August 2003, a high-voltage power line in a rural area of Ohio brushed against some untrimmed trees, tripping a relay that turned off the power it was carrying.  As system operators tried to understand what was happening, three other lines sagged into trees and were also shut down, forcing other power lines to shoulder the extra burden until they also tripped off, starting a cascade of failures throughout southeastern Canada and eight northeaster U.S. states.

Not many people can say that their commute to Georgia Tech is relaxing — but David Santa Ana can.       

For three years, Santa Ana, associate director of parking in the Office of Parking and Transportation Services (PTS), has taken the GRTA Xpress bus to work from Newnan.

“It can be faster than driving and is very relaxing,” he said. “Instead of arriving at work stressed or getting home tired, I can read or sleep on my commute, or talk with passengers that work in this area.”

Between cardboard recycling during move-in and the start of another Gameday Recycling season, the fall is a season of unrest for the Office of Solid Waste Management and Recycling.

This month's issue of The Recycling Buzz gives the details of these programs, plus how to order recycling containers for your campus office. Read or download (but please, don't print) the August Recycling Buzz (pdf).

Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business’ Center on Business Strategies for Sustainability recently named Howard Connell professor of the practice of sustainable business.

Connell, who now serves as director of the Center, previously was the global sustainability leader at Kimberly-Clark Corporation, where he led B2B sustainability efforts internationally for that $3 billion business unit, including strategy and execution, technical projects with engineers and scientists, and the development and management of multiple partnerships.

The Association for Energy Engineers (AEE) has named School of Building Construction graduate student Abe Kruger the Region II Young Energy Professional of the Year. Every year the AEE selects a young professional from each of the 5 regions in the United States to honor their outstanding contributions to the energy profession and their community.

More than 100 administrators working in athletics and sustainability sectors of universities nationwide convened at Georgia Tech last month for the Collegiate Sports Sustainability Summit. This was the first time the annual event was hosted at a participating school's facilities. 

Read more about the Summit and other recycling news in this month's Recycling Buzz. Read or download (but please, don't print) the the July issue (pdf).

If you’re tuned in to transit-related news in Atlanta, you may have recently seen or heard Georgia Tech’s own Kari Watkins any number of places.

The assistant professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering — who is also a Tech alumna (CE 97) — has several projects related to sustainability, transportation and information, two of which have been the subject of media interest in recent months.

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