REI Annually Challenges Rutgers Undergraduates to Develop Energy Reduction Plans with Energy Innovation Contest
The Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) annually challenges Rutgers undergraduates to develop implementable plans for reducing energy consumption on campus. The three winning Energy Innovation Contest entries were awarded prizes at the 2016 REI Annual Symposium on May 4th . First place winners, who received a $2,500 prize, were Timothy Lee (Chemistry major) and Michaela Murr (Mathematics major, minor in Economics and Computer Science) for “A Model-Based Approach to Optimizing Rutgers Transportation Efficiency.” Second place winner of $1,500 was Ian Montgomery (Environmental, Policy, Institutions and Behavior major) for “Submetering Rutgers Housing and Nudging Positive Behavior.” Third place winner of the $1,000 prize was Ian Stewart (Physics major, minor in Biological Sciences & Mathematics) for “Integration of Solar Thermal Energy at Rutgers University.”
REI Associate Director, Kevin Lyons, from Rutgers Business School Department of Supply Chain Management presented this year’s awards and commented on the REI’s longstanding commitment to education and outreach, “… in my opinion the contest is the best of any higher education institution in the nation. It’s even more gratifying to know that Rutgers can utilize the winning student proposals to cut down on energy costs, reduce our carbon footprint and redirect our saved funds to other key areas at the university. Working with our undergraduate students has proven to be a great example of the passion and quality of our students as they find innovative ways to make Rutgers more efficient, and each year I congratulate our student participants, faculty and staff advisors who had a role in this highly successful REI program.”
2016 third prize winner Ian Stewart said,” … I have seen many innovative and technically feasible ideas proposed for the contest, including geothermal energy, rooftop gardens, and piezoelectric technology. One such proposal, tray-less dining halls, was actually implemented in the New Brunswick campuses during my time at Rutgers. In many ways, the research and resourceful thinking necessary for creating a proposal provides an invaluable educational experience into the deployment of renewable technologies and the proper planning and budgeting inherent in green initiatives. This type of innovative thinking and strategizing is invaluable in finding ways to cut CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions in an ever-warming world.”
Top prize 2016 winner Michaela Murr commented, “As a student, I really appreciate the opportunity to contribute ideas to improving Rutgers. I think in higher education in general, students tend to be viewed as bystanders to innovation and research, which can lead to significant amounts of untapped potential...Before Timmy Lee and I knew about REI Energy Contest, we would hypothesize about ways to improve our community, but we never thought that there would be an opportunity for our ideas to be seriously considered by the university. This contest allowed our voice to be heard, and we look forward to taking our ideas further. “
Fellow teammate and 2016 first prize winner Timmy Lee said, “Once I created the models, I was able to manipulate distribution and routes of buses however I wanted, and it turns out that my idea was much better than I had originally thought. When I found out about the REI Energy Contest, I was delighted that there was a way to get my voice heard.”
“As an environmental policy major, I hope to initiate solid actions on improving and restoring our natural world through awareness and behavioral changes. This contest has opened many doors for me to enact my plans and meet other like-minded individuals and corporations. It will significantly help improve my chances of making a difference in the world” said Ian Montgomery, 2016 second place winner.
Student contest winners (L-R): Ian Montgomery, Ian Stewart, Timothy Lee, and Michaela Murr