Summer 2023 marked the seventh year of the Carbon Reduction Challenge, organized by the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business at the Scheller College of Business and the Georgia Tech College of Sciences. Over a three-month period, the program challenged interns to propose real-world sustainability solutions that can help their employers reduce carbon emissions while saving money.
In this year’s Challenge, students from Georgia Tech, Clemson University, Indiana University, Penn State University, University of Delaware, University of Louisiana, University of North Carolina Greensboro, and University of Texas stepped up to serve as sustainability advocates on top of their regular internship duties. Partner organizations included Georgia Tech, Delta, Mortenson Construction, Sam’s Club, and Truist Bank. Students’ efforts were supported by the Challenge’s technical leads: Scott Duncan, research engineer in the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory; Jairo Garcia, adjunct professor in the School of City and Regional Planning; Jacqueline Garner, senior lecturer in the Scheller College of Business; and Samantha Wilson, academic professional in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.
The Carbon Reduction Challenge Final Expo, held August 17, showcased a plethora of creative ideas from student teams.
For the second consecutive year, first prize was awarded to the team from Electrify GT, a student-led campus organization. The team included Georgia Tech undergraduates representing various major, including Rohan Datta (chemical and biomolecular engineering), Victory Ekpekurede (civil engineering), Jason Juang (business administration), and John Schmidt (computer science). They tackled the challenge of reducing carbon emissions and costs at the Holland Plant on the Georgia Tech campus. Their innovative solution centers around the installation of a heat recovery chiller. This chiller captures and reuses waste heat generated during the water chilling process, effectively producing heating without the need for natural gas combustion. This not only promises substantial cost savings but also has the potential to significantly reduce emissions, making it an environmentally responsible choice.
Second place was awarded to Nikhila Alavala (business administration), Chase Aucoin (electrical engineering, University of Louisiana), and Angela Landry (computer science, University of Texas). The team worked in partnership with Sam's Club and Walmart. Their project focused on implementing high-speed freezer doors in the employee-facing cooler and freezer areas inside Sam’s Clubs. This simple yet effective solution promises substantial energy savings and reduced carbon emissions.