Past Projects

Bicycle Transit Planning:

Bicycle Transit Planning:

To promote bicycle riding in the city of Santa Cruz and reduce carbon emissions, the City of Santa Cruz Climate Action plan includes promotion of biking as an alternative mode of transportation. To help City of Santa Cruz meet the needs of current and future cyclists in Santa Cruz, an isolated study of transit to and from the University of California Santa Cruz has been conducted by the Impact Designs: Engineering & Sustainability through Student Service (IDEASS) Bicycle Transit Planning Team (BTPT). Brenden Fant (Environmental Studies ’13), Austin Seller (Environmental Studies and Biology ’13), and Anthony Siao (Environmental Studies and Technology Information Management ’14) worked on the project with Ross Clark, the City of Santa Cruz Climate Change Action Manager. The team compiled data from three sources and used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to construct maps outlining frequently used roads, road quality, and cycling collision locations in order to “increase the level of safety for cyclists in high traffic corridors,” said Fant. To read the full story, clickhere. Click here to read their draft report. If you have comments or questions, please emailBrenden...

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Rainwater Systems and Water Rebate Outreach:

Rainwater Systems and Water Rebate Outreach:

In 2011/2012 IDEASS students initiated a project that focused on the promotion and installation of prototypes of a rainwater-to-toilet system designed by a local engineer. The project was extended into 2012/2013 and students continue to install prototypes and collect data on system performance. Because rainwater is still classified as stormwater, rainwater-to-toilet systems have yet to be assigned or to align with building code specifications. As a result the project also involves significant policy work. Students working with Ron Duncan from the Soquel Creek Water District understand the need to design and conduct surveys, interviews and neighborhood meetings to learn about people’s motivations to save water and the kind of modifications they would be interested in investing in. The District currently offers a wide variety of rebates for water saving devices, but is not doing a good job of marketing, and is therefore seeing little participation. They hope that if they understand water users better, they will see enhanced participation.Another potential component involves building a sensor and accompanying website or mobile app to monitor water storage in rainwater systems. This would make it possible for the user to understand how much water has been saved by the system, as well as know when rainwater is running...

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Campus Energy Dashboard and Behavior Change:

Campus Energy Dashboard and Behavior Change:

Students living in UCSC dorms are an important target audience for campaigns to reduce energy consumption through behavior change. In order to influence student behavior, easy access to information on energy consumption is needed, along with a strategy and outreach campaign to influence student behavior.This project has two components. The first is designing and building a web-based and/or mobile app dashboard to display real-time building energy use in an interactive and fun way. Data for this project is available through the UCSC Physical Plant’s Tridium server, and the dashboard needs to be designed and built. The second component is publicizing this information, integrating it into a strategy to influence student behavior, and supplementing building energy use information with tips on how students can reduce their own energy usage. An IDEASS student from last year made an initial plan for campus-wide dorm energy education and competitions, but this plan would need to be revisited, completed, and implemented. Integrating the dashboard with the outreach campaign will make the overall project successful. This project requires participation from students in the Computer Science...

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The Natural Bridges High School / Green Career Projects:

The Natural Bridges High School / Green Career Projects:

The Natural Bridges Green Career Center is an alternative education program that motivates and prepares youth (ages 15-18) to pursue careers in the emerging green-tech workforce. Projects implemented by IDEASS combine educational goals with sustainable mitigation strategies. In 2010, IDEASS students decided to design, install and monitor a rainwater catchment and irrigation system to support the school’s vegetable garden and to reduce the school’s demand for municipally distributed water. Another team has been awarded funds to purchase equipment and design a system that replaces interior lighting with solar-tubes  a passive solar technology. Each of the technological solutions piloted on site are coupled with the design and implementation of hands-on-curriculum for the...

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Game Design:

Game Design:

This project involves designing and building a computer game to teach principles of green building, renewable energy, and energy efficiency to youth. The premise of the game positions players as safeguards/heroes responsible for resolving environmental problems across the globe. Players are assigned a set of tools and the solution to various problems and are prompted to proceed. Players win higher scores by making prudent decisions but also learn about the tradeoffs resulting from the choices theymake. The idea is to provide an interactive and fun way to learn about sustainability for the built environment. Students in the UCSC Game Design major were mentored by Mike Parisi, an independent game design entrepreneur, and Thomas Rettenwender of...

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Green Wharf:

Green Wharf:

The collaborative agreement between the City of Santa Cruz and UCSC to partner in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase environmental awareness has resulted in the creation of the GreenWharf project. As a research and demonstration site, the GreenWharf combines a number of more specific initiatives such as the creation of a renewable energy test bed, mounting an electrical vehicle charging station, furthering a green business program, and the launch of the Santa Cruz Wharf EcoTour. IDEASS collaboration with the GreenWharf project is now in its fourth year enabling students to work on several initiatives including: installation of a renewable energy test bed (wind and solar sensors, a vertical axis wind turbine, and a solar panel) and data analysis; promoting Ecology Action’s RightLights program and the Monterey Green Business program to wharf businesses; design and launch of docent-led and self-guided EcoTour supported by interpretive signs and QR code access points in collaboration with Long Marine Lab; plans and preparation for a public access electric vehicle charging station. For 2012/2013 students are focused on waste-to-fuel recycling with particular emphasis on biosolids and waste grease...

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