Top students recognized for innovative concepts in environmental sustainability

Top students recognized for innovative concepts in environmental sustainability

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– Four university teams each awarded $25,000 in the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation $100,000 Go Green Challenge –

TORONTO, March 17, 2010 – Thinking green has paid off for four groups of Canadian post-secondary students. TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF) today announced the winners of the third annual $100,000 Go Green Challenge, a national competition that invites university and college teams to share proposals and ideas that would have a positive environmental impact on communities.

124 teams from 45 schools across the country participated in this year’s Go Green Challenge. The four winning teams were students from the University of British Columbia, University of Manitoba, University of Western Ontario and Université de Sherbrooke. TD FEF will award each winning team with $25,000, which can be used towards putting their innovative idea into action or for other expenses such as tuition, textbooks and rent.

“When it comes to building a greener future through innovation, Canadian students continue to rise to the challenge,” says Mary Desjardins, Executive Director, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. “This year, students collectively wrote nearly half a million words on environmental sustainability, with ideas ranging from tea farms to stormwater systems to biofuels. We’re extremely proud of all of the students who took the time to share their vision.”

The winning submissions are:

UBC Farm Sustainabili-Tea – University of British Columbia (UBC)

  • While tea has become incorporated into the diet of many Canadians, it is often overlooked as a food item. This team’s plan for the UBC Farm Sustainabili-Tea project outlines how a local herbal tea enterprise can contribute towards a more sustainable food system in the city of Vancouver. Teaming up with the acclaimed Centre for Sustainable Food Systems on UBC’s Farm, a 363 sq. ft. plot will be cultivated with plants suitable to grow in the mild west coast climate. This proposal consisted of a thorough analysis of the current tea industry, the production process of a local herbal tea and addressing the challenges and the advantages of a business plan.
  • Student members: Queenie Bei, Jessica Cho
  • Faculty sponsor: Brent Skura, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Food Nutrition and Health

Uncovering Water: Exposing the Stormwater System Through Sustainable Design – University of Manitoba

  • With no true beginning or end, water is constantly moving and interacting with its surroundings. Through varying forms and states, water alters every element it contacts, shaping both immediate and distant environments. This team developed a plan that involves the investigation of stormwater management issues in an urban context, and provides design-based alternatives for creating a more sustainable city. Contributing factors such as peak stormwater flow, runoff, and pollution are examined and the principles of bioretention are proposed as a method to mitigate these issues.
  • Student members: Kathryn Voroney, Aileen Zubriski
  • Faculty sponsor: Anna Thurmayr, Landscape Architectures

Softening our footprint–one step at a time – Université de Sherbrooke

  • This project proposes an integrated multidimensional global approach that supports initiatives designed to soften our carbon footprint. The team proposed a model that could be applied to cities with a population of 100,000 or more, where more than 65 per cent of the Canadian population is concentrated. The model city integrates a vertical farm to increase yield and promote local production, thereby reducing emissions associated with agriculture and food transportation. An intelligent electric network that will enable the electric production to be delocalized and will promote renewable energy is also a part of the model city, and a highly efficient public transit system, combined with active transportation (cycling, walking, etc.), allow the city to be without cars.
  • Student members: Mariane Maltais-Guilbault, Nicolas Vincent
  • Faculty sponsor: Alain Webster, Vice President, Sustainable Development and Government Relations

Sustainable Food and Energy Production: Closing the loop from farm field waste – University of Western Ontario

  • Currently, organic matter from municipal waste is often landfilled, thereby wasting precious stored energy and nutrients. This team’s plan involves proposed technology that will utilize organic waste diversion systems to create renewable energies and organic fertilizers. This would be done by anaerobically digesting separated municipal organic waste to create methane gas, by taking the nutrient rich liquid bi-product to grow algae for the production of biodiesel and other bio-products, and by taking the nutrient rich solid digestate from the anaerobic digesters to replenish lost nutrients in farm fields.
  • Student members: Hilary Booth, Peter Schnurr
  • Faculty sponsor: Amarjeet Bassi, Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Members of the TD FEF $100,000 Go Green Challenge judging panel included: Henry Sauvagnat, Vice President, Sustainable Development, Cascades Inc.; Karen Clarke-Whistler, Chief Environment Officer, TD; Jed Goldberg, President, Earth Day Canada; and Cynthia Wright, Acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Stewardship Branch, Environment Canada. Together they selected the winning four teams based on creativity, originality, viability and the positive impact the submission would have on the livability of Canadian communities.

“The high degree of sophistication and sheer variety of the proposals we received this year made it difficult to select only four winning teams,” says Jed Goldberg, President, Earth Day Canada and judging panel member. “The forward thinking that Canadian students applied to their ideas is a testament to the keen understanding and ongoing curiosity they have of environmental issues and the importance they place on protecting the planet.”

For more information on the TD FEF $100,000 Go Green Challenge winners and the winning submissions, visit www.tdfef.com/gogreen.

About TD Friends of the Environment Foundation:

Since 1990, TD FEF has provided more than $53 million in funding to over 19,000 grassroots environment and wildlife projects across Canada.  In 2009, TD FEF provided more than $4.1 million in support of 899 projects.  Thousands of donors give to TD FEF on a monthly basis and TD Bank Financial Group contributes in excess of $1 million annually.  TD also covers the management costs of running TD FEF, which guarantees 100 per cent of every dollar donated goes directly to funding environment and wildlife projects in the community where the donation was made.  For more information on how to donate and get involved in your community, visit www.tdfef.com.

 

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