WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $410,000 to 41 student teams for the 2005-2006 academic year to research and develop sustainable designs through the People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) competition. Sustainable development maintains economic growth while preserving natural resources, says EPA. The P3 student design competition was launched in January 2004, and several 2004 winners' designs have been successfully implemented into business practices.

"In an era of rising energy costs, the results of the first year of the P3 competition should make people sit up and take notice. They not only demonstrated that companies can reduce their bottom line by sustainable practices, but also the marketability of new conservation tools," said George Gray, assistant administrator for the Office of Research and Development. "In last year's competition, four student projects became new businesses with clients, two of them marketing energy monitoring systems. Other designs explored biodiesel production, solar thermal heating systems, green roofs, and storm water management."

Among the winner's for 2004, the Oberlin College team designed an energy and water use monitoring system for colleges with easy-to-read, real-time data on energy at the dormitory level, allowing the school to reduce energy costs by pinpointing areas of overuse. This project is now a business whose clients include Duke University and Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.

University of Michigan students developed a computer-based tool for homeowners to monitor their resource consumption. Real-time costs and environmental impacts show how conservation actions are reflected in dollars saved and emissions reduced. This will be used by the Ann Arbor Planning Commission in a new urban redevelopment project.

The next P3 Award Competition will be held on May 9 and 10, 2006, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

More information about the P3 winners mentioned above and their projects can be found at www.epa.gov/ncer/P3recipients/2005.

Publication date: 12/05/2005