The University of Tennessee - Knoxville

The University of Tennessee - Knoxville

Knoxville, TN


University of Tennessee Students Win EPA P3 Sustainable Design Challenge

May 8, '14 10:59 AM EST

KNOXVILLE—A group of students and faculty from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has won the second phase of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's P3: People, Prosperity, and the Planet Student Design Competition for Sustainability.

Their project will receive up to $90,000 in grant funding to turn the designs into real-world applications and implement them in the marketplace.

University projects from across the country competed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. from April 25 to 27 as part of the National Sustainable Design Expo. UT's team was one of seven winners selected by a panel of experts from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The UT Green Oak Project developed oak construction techniques that use undried oak, which is known as "green" oak , as an energy-efficient and carbon-friendly wood product. The project received $15,000 in the first phase of the competition to investigate the material.

"It feels pretty awesome to be a winner," said Miranda Wright, a graduate architecture student. "It is exciting to think that our work will influence future projects. I can say, 'I worked on this,' and can look back and see my efforts in the world."

During the expo, 23 students and faculty of the Green Oak Project constructed and demonstrated a full-scale building prototype using the wood. They showed the mechanical testing and architectural construction documents that validate its viability as a sound building material.

Students from architecture, civil and environmental engineering, sustainability and environmental studies participated in the second phase of the project. Students from forestry and architecture performed independent study investigations to prepare for the Phase I application.

The other EPA contest winners are Cornell University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Iowa State University, Purdue University, State University of New York at Stony Brook and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.