Designing a Climate Program for the Puerto Rico Project Center

Project Sponsors: Puerto Rico Project Center and WPI Office of Sustainability 

Project Advisors: Prof. Scott Jiusto and Prof. Gbetonmasse Somasse 

Team: Allyson Floria, Tara Haymon, Cameron HunekeMartin Wadzinski 



Project Overview

The climate crisis is a global issue catalyzed by a steady increase in atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases. This project focused on strategies to analyze and mitigate carbon emissions generated by WPI’s Global Projects. To achieve this, we estimated the carbon emissions produced on IQP using the Puerto Rico Project Center as a case study, researched and compared carbon offset companies, and spoke to our stakeholders to generate the most effective guide and outreach methods. This work resulted in calculator tools that can be used to estimate IQP emissions, a roadmap of recommended steps towards carbon neutrality and sustainability, and a website to host our information and generate ongoing discussion around the climate crisis and sustainability initiatives. You can find our full report here: Creating a Climate Program for the Puerto Rico Project Center Final Report (PDF)

Mission, Objectives, and Methods 

This project is intended to aid the Puerto Rico project center to create a more sustainable model for the IQP program by analyzing carbon emissions, exploring offset applications, and moving toward being carbon neutral and ultimately carbon restorative. This model would lay the foundation for future emissions standards at IQP centers. The objectives and methods to pursue to meet these goals are outlined in the figure below. 

Outcomes and Recommendations 

Over the course of this project, several outcomes and deliverables were developed for the Puerto Rico Project Center, Global Projects Program, and the WPI student body. The outcomes are as listed – a sustainability proposal roadmap, PRPC case study, emissions calculators, and a website. 

Sustainability Proposal Roadmap 

The Sustainability Proposal Roadmap presents a recommended action plan for working towards a more sustainable IQP experience. Within each of the 5 sections, which are Estimating Emissions, Reducing Emissions, Carbon Offsets, Climate Projects, and Climate Literacy, specific recommendations are made based on the findings gathered over the course of this project. There is also a collection of resources after the roadmap that are publicly available and can be used to help carry out the recommendations. 

The goal of this roadmap is to offer a series of options, and a path to follow in implementing them, rather than a concrete set of policy recommendations. This should help in the application of the recommendations, as each project site is different and therefore has different needs when it comes to enacting potential policies like those mentioned in the roadmap. This approach allows for more flexibility in the deployment of any recommendations that are used. 



PRPC Case Study 

The PRPC Carbon Emissions Case Study was conducted by the team to make a gross estimate and assess the breakdown of the carbon emissions produced over the course of the term by the cohorts (Cape Town and Albania) conducting IQP at the PRPC. This case study approximates total PRPC IQP emissions as the sum of air travel, living accommodations, and ground travel estimates. In summary, the case study found that the average flight one-way to Puerto Rico produced 501kg of CO2, about 320kg of CO2 for one person’s hotel stay, and on average 62kg of CO2 for their use of ground travel, totaling 883kg of CO2 per person. According to WPI’s 2020 Sustainability Report, an average student produces about three tons of CO2 per year, or about 650kg in a term. Based on this, a student spending a term at the Puerto Rico Project Center produces about 35% more CO2. 

Emissions Calculators 

Two calculator tools were developed to provide a rough estimate of the emissions generated by various aspects of the IQP program. The PRPC IQP Carbon Emissions Calculator is a tool developed specifically for the Puerto Rico Project Center that uses student input to calculate an individualized estimate of the carbon emissions produced by their trip. The IQP Cohort Air Travel Emissions Calculator is a tool developed for all IQP Center Directors and Advisors to easily estimate air travel emissions generated by a cohort traveling to and from their Project Center. The goal of these tools is to raise awareness and promote discussion on the topic of IQP emissions. Below are the calculators used. Please note that macros must be enabled for them to function.

IQP Cohort Air Travel Carbon Emissions Calculator (Excel)

IQP Carbon Emissions Calculator for the PRPC (Excel)


A website was created to act as a hub to hold all the project information and outcomes. This website allows readers a briefer version of the information seen in the report and is also a much more efficient way to spread the information through campus more readily. Visit our website for more: