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Clarkson team earns top honors in Greening Your Campus competition

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POTSDAM - A team of students from Clarkson University received first place in the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute “Greening Your Campus” student competition.

The goal of the students’ project, “Dormitory Motion Sensor Lighting,” was to reduce lighting use in residence hall corridors by using motion sensors. They projected energy and cost savings to be around $600,000 per year with a three- to five-year payback on the investment. Electrical and computer engineering Professor Thomas Ortmeyer served as faculty/staff advisor.

David Illig, a graduate student majoring in electrical & computer engineering from Norfolk, N.Y., participated as a team member in this year’s competition.

The winning team was among five competing from Clarkson University.

Other Clarkson teams addressed problems with outdated and energy inefficient refrigerators in laboratories, installed water bottle refilling stations, initiated operation of a campus food waste digester and assessed the wind speeds on campus.

Each team wrote a proposal to receive funding from the Pollution Prevention Institute and Clarkson University’s sustainability fund. Their results will be used to further Clarkson’s efforts to green the campus operations.

The student teams were visited by Assemblywoman Addie Russell and Senator Joseph Griffo during the event at the Empire State Plaza in Albany.

Team members were also introduced to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo at his cabinet meeting by New York State Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martins, as part of the Governor’s recognition of Earth Week and the announcement of recent environmental initiatives.

“We were very impressed with the enthusiasm of the students as they presented on their project concepts,” said Anahita Williamson, director of the Pollution Prevention Institute. “The competition was very close. All of the students did a great job of identifying and addressing issues of sustainability on their campus.”

As part of its research and development program, the Pollution Prevention Institute developed the student competition in which teams must identify a specific activity at their university with a large environmental footprint and define a solution for lowering the impact.

The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute is a partnership among Rochester Institute of Technology, Clarkson University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University at Buffalo and is funded by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The institute works to make New York more sustainable by assisting companies in reducing toxic chemical use, solid and hazardous waste generation and overall emissions to the environment. It also encourages industry to efficiently and effectively utilize raw materials, energy and water. For more information, go to http://www.rit.edu/affiliate/nysp2i .

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