Practicing the art of being greenApril 8, 2014
In an effort to train the environmental leaders of tomorrow, one innovative course at WFU focuses on how sustainability is woven into ongoing projects. Students enrolled in the course, “Green Technologies: Science and Entrepreneurship” collaborate with businesses and organizations to promote sustainable practices. During the first-half of the semester, students study select green technologies in depth. Then, during the second half, student teams conduct sustainability studies of interest to businesses and organizations. The course was developed by Dilip Kondepudi and Abdou Lachgar in the chemistry department and it is cross-listed in the entrepreneurship program. Students in the course have an opportunity to conduct studies of practices that promote sustainability and submit their findings to the organizations with which they work.
This year, teams of students will conduct the following studies:
1. With Syd Kitson, CEO Kitson & Partners, major real estate company in Florida: a student team will study sustainable ways of dealing with solid waste in “Babcock Ranch.” An ambitious project conceived by Kitson to be built in Florida, Babcock Ranch will be a town with 60,000 residents, run entirely on renewable energy.
2. With David Bates, Project Development Manager, Next Era Energy: one team will compare the economics of centralized solar energy production with distributed production, while another will analyze the solar-panel power data collected by NextEra Energy over many years and identify factors that influence long-term performance.
3. With Bailey Green, CEO of Oswald Green Technologies: a team will analyze the economics of using an innovative, environmentally friendly, wastewater treatment process developed by Oswald Green Technologies, and compare it with the current wastewater treatment Winston-Salem, NC.
4. With Rita Cruise, Executive Director of Winston-Salem Sustainability Resource Center : a team will collect energy and environmental data for Forsyth County and prepare a report. The report will become a part of Sustainability Indicator Project for Forsyth County.
According to Kondepudi, “When students conduct a study of practical value for a business, they can see how their scientific, analytical, and mathematical skills come into play. At the intersection of green technology and economics, things get really interesting.”