OED Awards UE $90,000 Community Conservation Challenge Grant

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The University of Evansville has announced that the U.S. Department of Energy and the Indiana Office of Energy Development’s Community Conservation Challenge has awarded $90,580.37 to a collaboration between UE and Carver Community Organization. The award is for the Evolving Evansville Energy (eCubed) group, led by UE Assistant Professor of Physics Angela Reisetter in conjunction with students in UE’s Alternative Energy class. The eCubed group partners with the wider community on alternative energy-related projects. This specific project focuses on Carver, which is a social service not-for-profit in Evansville, Indiana, that provides community education, daycare, and senior service programs.

The grant will provide funding to install LED lighting throughout Carver’s Neighborhood Center and Senior Services Center, replacing over 1,600 older, less efficient fluorescent bulbs. The new light bulbs will save Carver at least 3,000 kWh of energy a month and reduce electric bills substantially.  In addition, 90 solar panels will be installed on the Neighborhood Center’s roof, reducing the energy use and cost even further. The project will save Carver Organization money over the next 30 years, allowing those resources be put toward funding more community programs and services. The solar panels will also be a public education tool in a prominent downtown location, visible evidence that solar power makes sense both environmentally and economically in Evansville.

“It’s exciting to be part of this collaboration between UE and Carver, using grant funds to make a difference in the community both through energy cost savings and through environmental benefits,” states Reisetter.  “We hope this will help to truly evolve Evansville’s energy supply and change how we see alternative energy.”

David Wagner, executive director of Carver, explains that the “investments of the Indiana Community Conservation Challenge program grant, University of Evansville students and faculty, and the natural and financial resources reclaimed by Carver Community Organization will have an immense long term impact on generations to come.”

“Carver will be able to redirect financial resources to elevate the quality of existing programs and develop programs to meet new community needs,” he adds. “We hope this will be an emulated model of environmental stewardship to propel a paradigm shift in Evansville and elsewhere.”

The Alternative Energy class is part of the GAP program at UE, an innovative, project-based class that bridges the gap between classroom learning and real-world problems. In October, the eCubed team placed second in UE’s annual Changemaker Challenge, a competition challenging students to find innovative solutions to strengthen Evansville. As part of that challenge, they organized an awareness campaign on the UE campus about energy efficiency and alternative energy. Both the GAP program and the Changemaker Challenge are programs of the Institute for Global Enterprise which is supported by a generous grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

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