[IQP] Improving Sustainability Index at Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá

Sponsor: Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá
Student Team: Alp Piskin
Marciella Ramirez
Michael MacCormac
Quincy Rhodes
Abstract: Universidad Tecnológica de Panama (UTP) seeks to create a greener campus. The goal of this project was to create an initial implementation for an air quality measuring system and to document students’ sustainability awareness using a survey. Information gathered from the surveys and interviews was used to determine shortcomings in energy savings and an air quality monitoring module prototype was built. UTP will have a blueprint to work from to reproduce their own air quality modules and create a network on all their campuses. Recommendations were also be provided including a control system to be implemented for classroom lights and sustainability events to be developed to increase student awareness. Due to the findings and the analysis, the recommended steps along with the projects planned by UTP’s Department of Energy Savings would increase sustainability on UTP campus.
Links: Final Report

Executive Summary

Universidad Tecnológica de Panama (UTP) is the oldest engineering college in Panama, despite this the sustainability initiatives at UTP have only been implemented within the last decade. In recent years Panama has grown much due to its economy but one major concern among engineers is the toll of inefficient systems on the environment for future students & faculty. UTP is lacking in many key areas of sustainability such as power efficient appliances, waste management, and water conservation. The Department of Electrical Engineering and Department of Energy Savings have been working to resolve these issues. The International university sustainability index, GreenMetric is one of the methods UTP is using in an effort to make a greener campus. This sustainability index allows UTP to report their progress, receive a score, then adjust or continue their plans based on how well they scored. The goal of this project is to help UTP take steps towards improving their GreenMetric score, in turn becoming a more sustainable campus.

The Energy & Climate Change section of the GreenMetric is the heaviest weighted category in the GreenMetric. Thus, this category will be the focus of this project. A part of the Energy and Climate Change category asks for CO2 emission calculations and a greenhouse gas reduction program. To aid in implementing these two sub-goals, an air quality monitoring system was started. To aid in determining energy efficient equipment and practices as well as calculating carbon footprint, staff interviews and student surveys were carried out.

The air quality monitoring process resulted in a functioning prototype for future modules. A student survey gave insight into energy use and sustainability awareness. A staff interview resulted in gaining knowledge of the Department of Energy Saving’s involvement in increasing sustainability on UTP campus.

The projected resulted in UTP receiving a blueprint to reproduce air quality modules and create a network on all their campuses. Sustainability events provided through UTP should be developed and advertised to increase student involvement and awareness. These steps along with the Department of Energy Savings’ projects would increase UTP’s GreenMetric score and overall campus sustainability.