The Institute for Materials Research (IMR) cast a wide net to land the diverse collection of students and faculty taking aim during the most recent INNOVATE-O-thon at improving energy efficiency at the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.
Faculty members hired through different focus areas of the Ohio State’s Discovery Themes Initiative joined nearly 50 students from across colleges to try their hands in helping shape the future of energy consumption at the land-grant university.
The students’ challenge: Develop a strategy to inspire nearly 60,000 students at the 485-building campus to alter their day-to-day, energy-use habits and, ultimately, push the Columbus campus toward its lofty goal to improve energy efficiency by at least 25 percent over 10 years.
“INNOVATE-O-thon, I’ve done it twice in the past, and it’s always kind of fun to interact with people from different backgrounds,” said Muhammad Shao, a major in mechanical engineering. “It’s good to hear different perspectives. I’ve realized, from the past, that design majors are just as important as engineering majors.”
The students’ strategies were pitched to a panel of representatives from ENGIE, which makes up half of a joint venture with Axium Infrastructure called Ohio State Energy Partners, responsible for the operation and maintenance of the central utility systems that heat, cool and power the Columbus campus.