Letter of Intent
Project Size: 
Large, >$1,000
Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: 
$21,931
Letter of Intent: 

Energy consumption is a global issue, and on an innovative college campus like the University of Washington, students need to be exposed to alternative forms of energy in order to be the most successful of tomorrow’s leaders and thinkers. Conscious students are willing to alter their behaviors to reduce their energy consumption, but for the average individual, libraries and building don’t make it easy to be mindful of energy consuming behaviors. EcoReps, our student group, is working to implement a form of sustainable energy to benefit students by providing an educational and inspirational hub, along with adding a practical and health beneficial structure to campus. Our innovative solution to the issue of energy consumption is to install a number of solar charging tables on campus. Solar charging tables allow people to be outdoors, and to see the source of the energy they are utilizing. By seeing the source of power first hand, and reading signage posted at the tables, we hope to change student’s mindsets and to increase awareness and mindfulness of energy consumption, leading to behavioral changes across campus.

 

In addition to the physical and technical use of the tables, the goal of this project is to expose the University to solar power. Many people have heard of solar power but most likely associate it with large panels out in fields or on the top of buildings. By giving students the opportunity to interact with solar power in a convenient and useful way, we hope to change student behaviors for the better as well as increase solar power installations across campus.

 

ConnecTable™ solar charging tables have the ability to charge 75-150 devices a day, and store four days’ worth of charge. They can also function in overcast weather, a common occurrence in Seattle. The tables are light enough to be moved with a forklift and do not require grounding, so their location can be changed if necessary. The locations of these tables will target areas of high traffic and visibility. We picture a lawn full of students experiencing solar power first hand. Exposure to solar energy is an important step in increasing education, awareness and acceptance. One potential location is the Husky Union Building lawn, a central location on campus, where many students will have daily access to the tables.

 

The EcoReps team has started to work with the grounds and management team on campus to determine where placement of these tables is feasible. Our proposal included nine locations, of which we hoped to have one or two approved. We left the meeting pleased with approval for six out of the nine locations. With support from the Sustainability office and the Architects on campus we see great potential to expand the number of locations to every corner of campus.

 

The basis of EcoReps, a student organization, is to elicit behavioral changes on campus by project development. The University of Washington deeply values sustainability and is mindful of the impact our campus has on the environment. With many initiatives and projects on campus, little by little, we have worked to expose students to a way of living that can reduce waste, improve energy conservation, and educate those in the surrounding community. We hope that the presence of solar tables on campus will work to expose, educate, and change behaviors. 

 

Contact Information
Primary Contact First & Last Name: 
Paul Zuchowski, HUB Director
E-mail: 
badgers@uw.edu
Full Proposal

This will display after the CSF committee has reviewed and approved your LOI, and after you have received the link to edit your application.

Executive Summary: 

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Students on the University of Washington campus lack awareness and exposure to solar energy and therefore lack in energy consumption mindfulness. They walk into libraries and buildings on campus and plug in to charge phones and laptops at all hours of the day, but rarely do they stop to consider the source of the energy they are benefiting from. Solar charging tables on campus will allow for hands on experience interacting with energy alternatives. The tables are visible and located centrally on campus; in front of the Husky Union Building (HUB). Our hope is that this one table will act as a pilot test, and will pave the way for increased excitement towards solar energy and its many applications, including installation of more solar charging tables throughout our diverse campus. Students across campus will be able to interact and benefit directly from the charging capabilities of the table and its longevity will ensure that students will have access to the table for over 25 years. The grant money received would go directly to the purchase and implementation of the solar charging tables, while the maintenance funding will come from the HUB facility. The Associate Director of the HUB, Paul Zuchowski, has agreed to take on the maintenance that will accompany the table for a 6 year time period, after which a reassessment of the value to table contributes to the HUB and our campus will dictate whether maintenance is continued by the HUB or whether responsibilities are transferred to UW Solar, or Facilities Services. We are two students that are passionate about sustainability and are hoping to leave a lasting mark on the University of Washington campus. We held executive positions for the RSO EcoReps this past year and gained experience in executing sustainability based projects and surveys across our campus, this has lead us to pursue funding for this project that we hope will increase energy consumption mindfulness and pave the way for solar projects in the future.

Total amount requested from the CSF: 
$21 931
This funding request is a: 
Grant
Budget: 
ConnecTable Pricing
ItemCost per ItemQuantityTotal CostFunding SourceLifespan
ConnecTable Cafe Solar Charging Station Base Price14999114999CSF25 Years
Bench/table top upgrade250012500CSF
Steel color upgrade5001500CSF
Additional shade panels (2)120011200CSF
Tax1888.60CSF
Shipping134311343CSF
Inverter2251225HUB10 Years
ProStar Solar Controller2001200HUB15 Years
220 AH VRLA Sealed Gel Battery7501750HUB12 Year
MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracker)3501350HUB
Battery Capacity Meter60160HUB
Digital Meter 21001100HUB
Remote Temperature Sensor50150HUB
Non-CSF Sources: 
Non- CSF Source Funding
SourceTimespanTotal Cost
HUB6 Years1735
Project Completion Total: 
$23 666
Sustainability Impact: 
Energy Use
Sustainability Challenge: 

The problem we hope to address with our project is a lack of awareness towards energy use. Students on campus are uneducated about the impact of energy consumption and energy sources in general. The implimentation of a solar powered charging table will allow students to directly interact with an alternative energy source in a postive way, establishing an openminded student body and paving the way towards an increasingly solar energy friendly campus. 

Explain how the impacts will be measured: 

Surverys conducted through UW Sustainability and EcoReps will be used to measure student impact, specifcially their thoughts aboutsolar energy and their increased awareness of alternative energy sources and behaviors. This could be done with a bi-quarterly survery that is used to chart changes to student behavior from the first week of the quarter to the last week of the quarter throughout the school year. Behavior changes could range from reduced energy use, to increased sustainable practices like composting and recycling.

Education & Outreach: 

These service learners will also employ marketing and outreach techniques, like customizing sandwich boards that help inform students of the tables and their functions. When surveying at UW Bothel earlier this year, we asked over 60 students how often they used UW Bothell’s solar picnic tables. We found that only 3 of the 60 students were aware of the function of the tables and it brought to light the necessity for marketing and outreach. While EcoReps tables at events like Farmers Markets, Earth Day, and other tabling opportunities, a poster will be used to inform students of the presence and function of the solar table. The HUB will designate a television to advertising the solar tables during the first and last weeks of the quarter so that new students have an opportunity to see the table and recognize its purpose. The table will be included in the UW Sustainability mailing list and discussed on Facebook during the weeks EcoReps service learners conduct surveys.

Student Involvement: 

This project is unique in its ability to engage the whole campus. The entire University of Washington Seattle campus will have acess to the table and its charging capabilities. The table will provide shade and rest for hundereds of students each day and also allow students to charge their devices in an outdoor setting. In addition, our project gives the opportunity for 2+ service learners to conduct surveys. From these surveys that assess student sustainable behavior, infomation will also be gained as to how frequently students use the solar table. Data will be gathered through observation and in-person surveys.

Timeline: 
Project Timeline
TaskTimeframe
OrderingMay 2017
InstallationAugust 2017
AdvertisingSeptember 2017
MaintenanceAugust 2017-August 2023
Year Tag: 
Amount Awarded: 
$21,931
Potential Funding Reductions: 
Pending the review of Facilities Services purchasing staff, alternatives providing the same product for a lower cost may be found. However, if our total funding request were to be cut, the project would certainly not happen this round of funding. This project is acting as a pilot test, and if the reception of the table is well received, additional applications may be made in the future with assistance from UW Solar and an attempt to partner with Seattle City Light.
Project Longevity: 

The HUB will maintain the table for a 6-year period, at which time the value and function of the table will be assessed and maintenance of the table will continue. UW Solar has expressed interest to maintain the table after this 6-year period. Facilities Services will help maintain the tables, restoring them from vandalism and assisting in upkeep for 5-years.

Project status: 
Completed