Drexel Smart House Six Month Report, January-June 2009
We thought we’d take a little bit of time to update everyone. We’d like to remind people that it has taken us a little over 3 years to get to where we are today, and we sometimes neglect to publicize our small successes along the way. So here we are going to talk about everything we can – the recent successes, current challenges, and other newsbits that are ready for release but haven’t been…
Let’s start with a summary of some big ticket happenings of 2009:
January, 2009 – Our executive council transitioned to the second generation of Drexel Smart House leadership. We hosted the first Pi Lambda Phi reunion since they left campus almost a decade ago. This fraternity used to occupy our residence at 3425 Race St.
February 5, 2009 – We co-hosted a public conference on climate change with Drexel Green. We developed an order of magnitude cost estimate for our renovation to the 3425 Race Street residence with International Consultants, Inc. in central Philadelphia.
February, 2009 – We were highlighted in the 2008 Strategic Report published by the LeBow College of Business as a large contributor to the Experience-Based Education which is a foundation of LeBow College and Drexel University.
March 2, 2009 – Members of our executive council, 3425 Race Street design team, and advisors presented the initial cost estimate to Drexelâ€™s upper administration.
March, 2009 – We received our second provisional patent. Drexel Metals (no relation to DU) agreed to donate a thin film photovoltaic system for the roof of our 3425 Race Street residence.
April 3-5, 2009 – The Smart Living Association, a spinoff organization established by a partnership between ourselves and Duke, held its inaugural conference. We sent nine of our members to engage the representatives of nearly a dozen other member programs dedicated to the concept of smarter living.
April 20, 2009 – Our cool roof coating project team was awarded the People, Planet, and Prosperity (P3) grant by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which will sustain the project for the next two years and is valued at $75,000.
April, 2009 – We planted trees for Earth Day with the Community Alumni Network at Drexel University (CAN DU) and UC Green. We applied for a Clinton Global Initiative U Award to expand our outreach program with Science Leadership Academy, a local charter high school. Haglid Engineering & Associates agreed to donate four energy recovery units for our 3425 Race Street residence.
May 13, 2009 – Members of our executive council presented to the Board of Advisors for the Lebow College of Business.
May 18, 2009 – Drexel Smart House members involved in the growing Drexel Green movement played a large part in the preparation, report and public presentation of key sustainability recommendations to upper administration at the University.
May 27, 2009 – We secured our first office and clean lab space just off of Woodring labs in the Main building. Members of our executive council met with the Provost and several Vice Provosts to discuss fundraising and the integration of sustainability and innovation into the curriculum.
May, 2009 – An article about Drexel Smart House, written by Tess Wittler, was published in the May/June edition of Keystone Builder, the magazine of the Pennsylvania Building Association. A promotional video for the renovation of 3425 Race Street was developed and shown in the College of Engineering Film Festival. We sent six students to the University Gala.
June 14-17, 2009 – Drexel Smart House and Drexel University’s Library presented a collaborative proposal for information-literacy development to the American Society of Engineering Education in Austin, TX.
June 26-27, 2009 – Two members of our executive council were certified as LEED Accredited Professionals (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), as well as two additional members of the runner-up design for the 3425 Race St design competition.
June, 2009 – The Philip B. Lindy Program for Inner-City Students, in which we partnered with several other programs to provide occasional “green” educational activities for a couple dozen middle school students over a two month period, just finished. We started a company / group on LinkedIn to unite current members and DSH alumni. The Freshmen Design program in the College of Engineering culminated, in which we mentored over a dozen teams. Several of these technologies look promising for commercial viability, including a project which produces energy from organic waste (biomass digestion).
This is a high-level summary of what has been accomplished since the start of the calendar year. Since there is a lot that is still ongoing which hasn’t yet been declared “complete”, some of these current activities are discussed below.
- Our cool roof coatings project is moving closer to commercialization through licensing agreements. We hope it will soon join the ranks of Drexel Smart House startups, alongside our first spinoff company, Summalux, LLC.
- We are negotiating our first consultant contract for geotechnical surveys at 3425 Race Street, courtesy of Poulson and Associates. We’re planning an event to unveil the design, and have already started the process to put up signage with renderings at 3425 Race Street to show what the Drexel Smart House will look like after renovation.
- Our main focus for renovating the 3425 Race Street residence is organizing our fundraising campaign with Drexel’s Office of Institutional Advancement. This includes identifying faculty PIs to work with Drexel Smart House members and take the lead on grant opportunities. We are also in the process of setting up a cost center to further progress can be made with the University’s Planning, Design, and Construction (PDC) to develop construction documents. This will get things moving with identifying subsystem donors and writing RFPs for the services we need.
- Finally, in two weeks, we’re scheduled to present to the full Academic Council. We’re seeking support across the colleges and schools for integration of sustainability, innovation, and commercially viable multidisciplinary hands-on projects into the curriculum.
As you can see, we’ve been quite busy since taking office at the start of this year. Our activities can largely be grouped as “technology and design incubation”, “education” (curriculum integration, outreach, activities), and “support” (administration, fundraising, management, communications, marketing, informatics, etc).
We hope that all the cool stuff we’re doing makes up for not talking about it enough. Too busy to brag; is that a bad thing?
If anything we’re doing interests you and you’d like to help, feel free to contact us at [email protected]
Cody A. Ray, LEED AP
President, Drexel Smart House
Posted: July 2nd, 2009 under Announcements.