Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 58.19
Liaison Emma Blandford
Submission Date March 2, 2021

STARS v2.2

Georgia Institute of Technology
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Anne Rogers
Sustainability Program & Portfolio Manager
Office of Campus Sustainability
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Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Campus Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Campus Engagement:
The Urban Climate Lab out of the City and Regional Planning Program at Georgia Tech has developed a project to assess how the physical context of the campus is changing and affecting the urban heat island effect. Called the Georgia Tech Climate Network, the Urban Climate Lab has established a dense network of temperature and relative humidity sensors throughout the campus to identify the location of hot spots, measure the impact of ongoing development on micro-climatic conditions, and assess how the use of vegetation and cool materials around campus can moderate warming trends. The network consists of 24 HOBO sensors across the entire campus, representing many micro-climatic conditions including both 3-meter and rooftop locations. Several sensors are in areas which are transitioning from impervious surfaces to green space and will therefore record the impact of these changes on climate. This study is the first of its kind for a US university and lays the groundwork for the establishment of a more extensive network across the Atlanta metropolitan region.

http://urbanclimate.gatech.edu/HOBO.html

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/more-construction-less-green-area-leads-hotter-tem/nmGyP/

The EcoCommons at the Living Building has been designed to include more than 20 sensors and the data will be made available to the entire campus community to utilize for research and academic purposes.

http://facilities.gatech.edu/eco-commons

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Public Engagement:
The Scheller College of Business launched in 2019 a Sustainability Fellows and Ambassadors program. Scheller College Graduate Sustainability Fellows and Undergraduate Sustainability Ambassadors deepen their engagement in environmental and social issues for business by working on projects. Two ambassadors created GreenEDU, an interactive website with education modules on general sustainability and Georgia Tech initiatives. The aim is to educate students on a holistic view of sustainability, designed to give to students during their first year of orientation. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are utilized as the overall framework.

https://www.scheller.gatech.edu/centers-initiatives/ray-c-anderson-center-for-sustainable-business/empowering-students/sustainability-student-projects.html

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Air & Climate?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Air & Climate:
Professor Kim Cobb teaches EAS 3110, a class where 6 teams of students have 8 weeks to design and research a project to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. One team explored two large scale carbon reduction initiatives that fell on opposite sides of the financial spectrum. The first initiative was planting more trees on campus and the second initiative was the application of window tinting on a Georgia Tech building. The team calculated the costs and the amount of carbon reduction for each project and calculated a total carbon dioxide reduction of over 1M lbs. The window tinting project is currently a potential project to get implemented through the Tech’s Green Revolving Loan Fund.

https://www.carbonreductionchallenge.org/

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Buildings?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Buildings:
The High Performance Building Lab in the College of Design is utilizing computer-vision drones to analyze our building envelopes. They are comparing their findings against other building sensor data in an effort to identify possible building envelope weaknesses which could greatly impact occupant comfort, indoor air quality and energy efficiency at the building level.

See AirBEM project write-up:

https://arch.gatech.edu/high-performance-building-lab

Facilities Management is partnering with Dr. Shelton Jeter with the School of Mechanical Engineering to develop building-level systems modeling. The primary objective of this partnership is to create a repeatable process which allows Facilities (or researchers) to take an original energy simulation model of a new building and modify the model to reflect the actual building construction. This will allow owners to more accurately compare the simulated energy use of the building with the actual metered data. Three to four Facilities Management team members meet with Dr. Jeter and his student researcher on a weekly basis for approximately 1.5 hrs. So far, the outcomes of this research have been helpful in identifying utility outliers and possible dysfunctions. An example of a positive outcome is the identification of an unusually high usage of natural gas during cooling months. After the model‐to‐actual comparison identified the outlier, a building investigation uncovered that there was a flaw in the HVAC controls programming logic that caused the boiler to remain on when it should have been scheduled off.

http://www.news.gatech.edu/2015/05/26/tech%E2%80%99s-campus-gets-%E2%80%98smart%E2%80%99

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Energy:
Yes, Georgia Tech does used its campus as a living laboratory. Two examples are available. Faculty member, Dr. Kim Cobb, created a course known as the Carbon Reduction Challenge. Through this work, students collaborate with Facilities Management staff to identify, implement and track energy reducing products for campus systems.

Smart Energy Campus: A Smart Grid Testbed for Advanced Modeling, Simulation, and Decision-Making is a research project involving students to monitor and trend utility data with goals of identifying outliers and considering new methods of efficiency based on learnings. The research is conducted on various what-if scenarios over campus to see which the most efficient are for reduce energy consumption. New and innovative programs are being used to compile and visualize the data.

https://www.ece.cmu.edu/~electriconf/abstracts_2015/Zhang_Xiaochen_20150216105450_CMU_workshop_abstract_Feb.16.pdf

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Food & Dining?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Food & Dining:
Georgia Tech Dining has long made an effort to include student learning within their operations whenever possible. A prominent recent example of this was the 2020 Inventure contest, a high-profile interdisciplinary innovation competition, where the winner was an app developed with partnership with our dining operations designed to reduce wait times at on-campus dining locations. The project team partnered closely with Tech’s Dining provider, Aramark, in order to make a useful program that has had real life implications. More information can be found at: https://www.news.gatech.edu/2020/03/11/how-longs-line-queues-app-wins-2020-inventure-prize?utm_campaign=daily-digest&utm_medium=email&utm_source=dd-article-secondary-tlink%3A13459%7C2020-03-13.

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Grounds:
Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) are projects, teams, and participants that are elevated by the broad knowledge, talents, and experiences assembled by engaging individuals from diverse disciplines and backgrounds. Dr. Emily Weigel has developed a VIP for the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design. The purpose of the Living Building Science team is to evaluate the impact of the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design on the non-human living and nonliving environment using sustainable scientific methods.

Issues Involved or Addressed

Monitor the water quality of potable water in the building and evaluate how rainfall and building usage affects biological and chemical properties.

Characterize the chemical and biological properties of water exiting the constructed wetland/ gray water treatment system.

Determine the effects of building utilization and weather on indoor air quality

Evaluate the effects of solar panel arrays on building heat capture and surrounding environment.

Examine the effect of compost infusion treatment on garden soil microbiome composition.

Develop methods to increase carbon capture by soils.

Quantify resident and migratory wildlife populations through remote sensing technology.

Examine the effects of pollinator diversity and abundance on fruit production in urban agricultural settings.

Develop low/no impact laboratory protocols that minimize energy and water utilization and waste production.

Engage Atlanta community with twice-yearly LBS research open houses.

Maintain and add to a searchable database of biodiversity found at the site suitable for community-engagement biodiversity events (BioBlitzes)

https://www.vip.gatech.edu/teams/living-building-science

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Purchasing?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Purchasing:
In 2019, a graduate student with the School of City and Regional Planning, in partnership with Professor Jon Sanford of the School of Industrial Design and The Office of Campus Sustainability, explored ways in which issues of food insecurity could be address amongst Georgia Tech students. This information was used to inform the development of the Georgia Tech Community Market and led to a grant from Anthem to subsidize bringing local, sustainable produce to campus.

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Transportation:
Georgia Tech Parking and Transportation has a strong history of partnering with student research groups to allow for learning opportunities in actual operations, which provides hands-on experience for students and operational benefits for the department. One example of this was a transit-focused VIP (Vertically Integrated Projects) team, a program that integrates students from multiple disciplines with a faculty sponsor around a multi-year research topic. The transit VIP team worked closely with PTS to review campus bus operations and develop technological operations that improved bus route efficiency. More information on the program can be found at http://vip.gatech.edu/itrs/VIP-iTrans-S2014.pdf, the program ended in 2018.

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Waste:
The Developer Student Club is creating an app to increase the efficiency and available data from Georgia Tech’s recycling crew collections and routes across campus. The group shadowed crew members to learn about the collection process and integrated this information into the user experience of the app. Also, each year a presentation and tour are given to Environmental Engineering students in the Energy and Resource Recovery course. This presents students with a detail description of the operations of waste campus and shows them firsthand how materials are collected and removed. Additionally, student involvement in waste audits helps create an understand of the waste make up on campus.

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Water?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Water:
The Scheller College of Business launched in 2019 a Sustainability Fellows and Ambassadors program. Scheller College Graduate Sustainability Fellows and Undergraduate Sustainability Ambassadors deepen their engagement in environmental and social issues for business by working on projects. Fellows created the Ecolab Smart Water navigator, a tool to assess water consumption in a facility. The goal was to assess water consumption at Scheller College and the Georgia Tech campus at large. This assessment will be used to highlight areas of improvement and make recommendations for improving sustainable water consumption in the future.

https://www.scheller.gatech.edu/centers-initiatives/ray-c-anderson-center-for-sustainable-business/empowering-students/sustainability-student-projects.html

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Coordination & Planning:
Ferst Drive Cycle track study – Student Capstone Project

Design Objective

To redesign Ferst Drive to improve safety for all users and encourage more of the Georgia Tech community to commute by bicycle and other means of Light Individual Transportation (LIT).

● Evaluate and select LIT lane conditions to increase riders’ comfort, safety and accessibility

● Suggest intersection and roadway improvements to decrease conflicts and improve safety

● Propose rideshare zone locations to facilitate easier pedestrian accessibility to campus, improve traffic flow and improve safety

The student project has resulted in a professional study to validate their recommendations which is in progress.

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability:
The Living Building Equity Champions (LBECs) are students charged with fully engaging in the development and realization of the Equity Petal of The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design at Georgia Tech. Aligning with The Kendeda Building Equity Work Group Recommendation No. 1 ("Engage Underrepresented Groups on Campus In Building Design"), the LBECs work closely with the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion to provide programmatic and thought leadership, expertise, and advocacy to continue promoting the Institute’s diverse student initiatives, programs, and efforts that facilitate our collective goal of student diversity and inclusion.

LBEC Responsibilities

Provide input and feedback to the design and development of The Kendeda Building.

Engage current students in The Kendeda Building’s equity, sustainability, and diversity efforts.

Connect access to The Kendeda Building with the greater Atlanta community, particularly K-12 students.

https://csdi.gatech.edu/living-building-equity-champions#:~:text=The%20Living%20Building%20Equity%20Champions%20(LBECs)%20are%20students%20charged%20with,Equity%20Work%20Group%20Recommendation%20No.

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance:
Scheller College Graduate Sustainability Fellows and Undergraduate Sustainability Ambassadors deepen their engagement in environmental and social issues for business by working on projects. A fellow utilized existing research by Alice Favero (School of Public Policy) to research the feasibility of implementing a carbon price at Georgia Tech. A carbon price allows the Institute to understand the environmental impact associated with its actions. The fellow explored the implementation of a neutral carbon charge system.

https://www.scheller.gatech.edu/centers-initiatives/ray-c-anderson-center-for-sustainable-business/empowering-students/sustainability-student-projects.html

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work:
Advisory Council (SSAC) and with the STAMPS Office of Health Initiatives as a Healthy Jacket Peer Educator, I have been exposed to the clear and strong relationship between being a steward of the environment and an advocate for well-being, as both are required components for healthy communities. One very pivotal example of this crossover is on the topic of food! For a few weeks in our SSAC meeting agendas, we focused on the lobbying for greater access to locally-grown, lower environmental-impact options at our dining halls and food vendors. The passion of our board members was undeniable, and in the coming months since these considerations were reflected all around campus, it has been empowering to know that student voices have an impact in making meaningful contributions to sustainability. At the same time, in our work as Healthy Jackets, we are constantly addressing various aspects of what it means to maintain well-being, a clear factor of which is the way we eat! Most recently, we have held workshops on the concept of intuitive eating, where emphasis is placed on nourishing the body physically and emotionally through food, without the many negative aspects associated with diet culture. Whether it comes to how we eat, our living and working space, or the social norms that underlie our perspectives of sustainability and well-being, it is clear that these two components of healthy communities are inextricably linked.

Website URL where information about the institution’s living laboratory program is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
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