The Green Seed Fund awards grants to UW faculty, students, and staff to research opportunities that advance sustainable research while contributing to campus sustainability goals. Listed below are the projects awarded funding during 2015.

A committee comprised of students, faculty and staff reviewed twenty-five proposals totaling over $1.5 million, and awarded six proposals about $250,000 in funding. The projects were selected because the review committee felt that they will contribute to UW sustainability goals, are research focused, the project scope seems well thought out and achievable, the project has a broad reach, and will contribute to greenhouse gas reductions for the University.

Learn more about the Green Seed Fund.

Total Amount Awarded: $48,959

This interdisciplinary, multi-layered, and research-based project will create a campus-wide sustainability challenge involving a friendly and supportive competition between students, faculty and staff on the UW Tacoma campus to lose carbon weight. The competition, based on a successful pilot study (“UWT’s Biggest Loser”) conducted in autumn 2014, leverages social networks between students and their teachers that begin in the classroom and spread through the employment of “challenges” that students give to other members of the UW Tacoma community. The project as a whole begins with a workshop where ten participating faculty representing many divisions of the school of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences learn how to incorporate key concepts of sustainability into their course syllabi.

Total Amount Awarded: $50,433

Electronic waste accounts for over 40 million metric tons of waste around the world annually and is responsible for 70% of heavy metals, 40% of lead, and up to 30% of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) that ends up in landfills.  This situation is not acceptable, much less sustainable.  What makes electronic waste so complicated is the many different sizes, shapes, forms, and compositions of that waste and the fact that recycling does not often proceed in the responsible and safe manner to which we associate the word ‘recycling’.

Total Amount Awarded: $6,000

Designed and spearheaded by the UW Green Futures Lab (GFL), the UW Biodiversity Green Wall, Edible Green Screen, and Water Harvesting System was completed in July 2013. It is located in the SE corner of Gould Hall on 15th Ave and NE 40th St. The project has been a great success, and has the potential to provide numerous benefits such as reducing building energy needs, conserving potable water, increasing urban biodiversity, and improving the experiential qualities of the urban environment. However, in order to both maximize these benefits and replicate them in future projects, they must be monitored, measured, and analyzed. This proposal aims to build off of the intellectual and financial capital already invested in this pioneering project in order to fully maximize its impact.

Total Amount Awarded: $39,924

We seek Green Seed Fund funding to pursue an innovative study of durable medical equipment (DME) reuse and recycling that aims to reduce non-recoverable waste generated by University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) and Harborview Medical Center (HMC). DME includes wheelchairs, walkers, shower chairs, and other assistive devices necessary for mobility and activities such as dressing, bathing, and eating. Individuals with chronic medical conditions or injuries that impair performance of daily activities may require DME. Wheelchairs, walkers, and other types of DME have the potential to be reused. Few studies have examined DME reuse or described the amount of non-recoverable waste from DME. Community organizations offer reuse programs that help reduce the amount of DME discarded into the landfill. However, at the current time, UWMC and HMC clinicians do not routinely use these resources.

Total Amount Awarded: $35,915

For the Tacoma campus of the University of Washington, transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions since almost all of campus electricity is provided by hydropower.  The campus is growing fast, with 4300 students currently and plans to grow to 7000 students by 2017.  Moreover, as a non-residential campus serving South Puget Sound, almost all of these students must commute some distance to campus for class.  The aim of the Husky Lines Project will be to increase usage of public transportation by University of Washington Tacoma students through provision of bus lines, which run directly from high-density clusters of students to University campus with no transfers. In this initial phase of the project, a feasibility study for optimization of the program will be carried out using a mixed methods approach.

Total Amount Awarded: $69,277

The objective of this study is to demonstrate that lighting retrofits, which include personal controls and dimming capability, can generate significant energy savings and improve occupant experience/satisfaction, ultimately leading to better worker performance. The University of Washington (UW) has retrofitted and replaced existing lighting fixtures in university buildings with more energy-efficient fixtures as part of the campus-wide energy conservation effort. Although a reduction in electric power is a measured performance metric, the associated occupant experience is not currently evaluated. For example, replacing an incandescent lamp with a florescent light can reduce the total electricity consumption, but the associated light quality and impact on occupant performance are not assessed. However, there is emerging evidence that workspace strategies (e.g., lighting quality) impact productivity, absenteeism, employee turnover, and even innovations in organizations.