Students at Washington State University are making notable strides in sustainable initiatives, all while gaining recognition and awards for their efforts. The Environmental Protection Agency’s latest “People, Prosperity and Planet” grant awards up to $15,000 to develop sustainability projects to improve energy conservation and wildfire resistance. The WSU students are among 38 winning teams across the U.S. to compete and win the “P3” sustainability grants. The P3 competition is open exclusively to teams of undergraduate and/or graduate students attending U.S. colleges, universities and other post-secondary educational institutions. The University students seek to develop and test a new approach to retrofitting energy conservation in rented residential buildings. Many older rental properties are not efficient in energy conservation. WSU students were selected for their development and testing of a new approach called “TrashWall” where a temporary interior insulating envelope is built within the existing exterior wall of a rented residential building. To keep initial costs as low as possible, the insulated wall will be made by reusing and recycling scrap cloth, paper, corrugated cardboard, and polystyrene. Thus, saving energy and reducing utility bills.
Funding for the P3 competition is divided into two phases. Teams selected for Phase I awards receive grants of up to $15,000 to fund the development of their projects, which are then showcased at the National Sustainable Design Expo in the spring. Following the Expo, P3 teams compete for Phase II awards of up to $75,000 to further develop their designs and potentially bring them to the marketplace.
Interesting fact: Washington is a leading producer of Riesling and Chardonnay wine grapes. Washington State University viticulturists (cultivating grapes for wine) are currently evaluating methods to conserve water and improve the productivity and quality of Chardonnay and Riesling grapes.