ONWRDS is a technology startup that focuses on optimizing supply chains. They plan to release numerous simple and effective technologies that will help suppliers address inefficiencies in their shipping and transportation.
ONWRDS came to GreenLight Solutions because they are passionate about sustainability, and wanted to integrate sustainable practices into their business model. ONWRDS wanted to minimize their own and their clients’ impacts on climate change with carbon sequestration. More specifically, ONWRDS was interested in utilizing algae because it has the potential to sequester significant amounts of carbon dioxide at a relatively fast rate. While these features of algae technology are impressive, algae aren’t currently accessible to the average consumer in a convenient form. As a result,, ONWRDS intended to create an at-home algae bioreactor. ONWRDS wanted GreenLight Solutions’ to determine the carbon capture potential of an at-home algae bioreactor, and whether this type of device can count as a carbon offset.
Our team’s first objective was to calculate how much carbon could be captured from the bioreactor. We met with Dr. Bruce Rittmann, ASU professor and director at the Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology. Due to time constraints, we were not able to physically test the device; however, we obtained formulas from Dr. Rittmann and calculated the approximate carbon capture potential of the device. The bioreactor was found to sequester roughly 1.9 grams of carbon per day, a figure too low to make a significant impact.
Knowing this, our team researched additional solutions for ONWRDS. Our second objective was to explore 4 carbon capture alternatives. Preliminary research focused on large-scale algae farms, typically upward of 3,000 acres, which capture a considerable amount of carbon. Although this option is capable of selling carbon offsets it is expensive and not accessible to the average consumer. Our other focus was on houseplants, an option that is more affordable but not capable of sequestering significant amounts of carbon. We discovered that peace lilies, prayer plants, snake plants, and ficuses were the most effective. However, they capture less than 1 gram of carbon per day.
Furthermore, we researched the prospects of composting food waste instead of sending it to the landfill. In a landfill, food breaks down anaerobically, releasing methane as a byproduct, which is up to 80 times as potent as carbon dioxide. Composting, on the other hand, breaks down food aerobically and turns waste into products similar to soil or fertilizer. Although composting can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is difficult to measure and cannot be counted as a carbon offset. The last alternative we researched was forestry, an option that uses the power of trees to capture vast amounts of carbon. This option was viable for carbon offsets, but because of its scale, was not accessible to the average consumer.
With this research, the team created a cost-benefit matrix that compares each technology based on a set of qualitative metrics. Red signifies low scores, and green signifies high scores.
Based on our team’s research, we recommend that ONWRDS diversifies its carbon capture portfolio. A diversified portfolio will allow the company to reach each of its goals. If the company intends to officially offset its emissions, we recommend forestry. However, we recognize that carbon offsets through forestry are not accessible to most consumers. Therefore, to fulfill ONWRDS’ vision of spreading awareness about carbon emissions and algae technology, they should utilize a more accessible option (i.e., the at-home device). However, the at-home algae bioreactor is small-scale, and does not sequester a substantial amount of carbon. The device itself cannot be considered an offset and should not be marketed as such. On the other hand, the at-home device can educate consumers about algae sequestration technology and help inform consumers more aware of their carbon footprint. With this reminder of carbon technology in their home, consumers can make conscious decisions to improve their carbon footprint through behavioral changes (e.g., fossil-fuel-free transportation, meatless diet, and reduced energy usage).
Written By: Bryce Campbell｜Madison Harris
Bryce Campbell is a senior at Arizona State pursuing a degree in business and a minor in sustainability. Outside of GreenLight, he is a Renewable Energy Intern for Seaside Sustainability, focusing on analyzing state programs concerning the transition to cleaner energy. He enjoys finding ways to leave an impact on his local community and likes to play guitar and cook in his free time.
Madison Harris is a senior at Arizona State University, studying business with a focus on sustainability and a minor in urban planning. This semester, she was a project lead at GreenLight for the ONWRDS project. Additionally, she conducts research as a Barrett Honors College Fellow at the ASU Grimm Lab, where she works to optimize public participation in planning sustainable futures. In general, she’s very interested in sustainable cities and how public-private sector collaboration can promote a more sustainable future for people and the planet.
Overview and Purpose
We envisioned the development of a model to transform plastic bottle caps into useful products to tackle plastic pollution and support underserved communities. We hoped to find opportunities to recycle plastic by 3D printing and create valuable products. The project aimed to increase the accessibility of recycling a protocycler, a machine that transforms plastic waste into valuable 3D printer filament, which can be used to create products that are helpful for those in need.
Our team supported Arizonans for Children by creating 3D-printed toy cars for kids in foster care.
Our Project Partner
Our project partner was Tyler Eglen, Associate Project Manager at Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Services. He also has his own 3D print lab on the ASU Polytechnic campus.
Our Project's "Why"
Our project uses a circular economy, which means turning waste into valuable products, therefore all materials are used and there is no waste. We had to troubleshoot to assess creative ways to recycle plastic using a protocycler since it is hard to recycle in the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). We also wanted to provide support for local communities in need by using 3D printing. We collaborated with Arizonans for Children, an organization working with children in foster care in Arizona. They needed more toy cars for their children to play with.
Our project supports the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #12 because it ensures sustainable consumption and production. More specifically, it supports target 12.5 i.e., by 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse.
Step 1: Establish a partnership with a nonprofit organization
Step 2: Research product designs for 3D printer
Step 3: Confirm printed product design
Step 4: Research Protocycler
Step 5: Troubleshoot Protocycler
Step 6: Create 3D-printed products
Since Arizonans for Children was in need of toy cars, we researched different car designs before landing on one that we felt provided the most function and could be easily mass-produced. Then, we spent 50 hours troubleshooting the protocycler and 3D printer and created a How-To guide for both machines. Finally, we 3D printed 32 toy cars and distributed them to the organization's facility.
Our Objectives and KPI's
Objective 1: Partner with a nonprofit organization.
KPI: Reach out to 12 different organizations; 3 per person
Objective 2: Print and distribute chosen project design.
KPI: 30 total cars
Objective 3: Become sufficient using the Protocycler.
KPI: 50 hours total; 12.5 hours per person
In the Fall of 2022, Greenlight Solutions started their journey with Envision You (Victory Over Violence) to help survivors thrive, find sustainability, and move forward by organizing a Night of Miracles fundraising gala, “Survivors Finding Their Way Forward” at the Mesa Convention Centre on April 29th, 2023.
The gala will include dinner, special guests, a silent auction, awards, and fun with Westwood Mesa High School to honor the partnership of the voucher box program for all household items we have for survivors.
We partnered with Kimberly Miner, the CEO of Envision You. Through personal experience, Kimberly knows how challenging it can be to get back on one’s feet after unforeseen domestic circumstances. For the past 25 years, she’s been paving the way for other women and individuals in the community to access the resources they need to do just that. She helps people claim their lives and self-confidence, and move forward with an empowered purpose. We were honored to work with her.
Our mission was to support event outreach, event greening, and content creation efforts for their April fundraising event. Envision You wanted to incorporate sustainability into its event, increase attendance, and create video testimonies. Our partnership targets UN Sustainable Development Goal #5, Gender Equality because we are empowering women as they transition out of violent relationships.
We began by splitting our project into three phases or objectives. Objective 1 was event outreach. Our goal was for each team member to connect with 10 contacts per week. We reached out to local businesses and organizations for sponsorship and donation matches. Our focus was to connect with the best businesses, organizations, and people. Consequently, we compiled lists of local enterprises that related to Envision You’s mission. By using the power of the web, LinkedIn, a list of contacts (from Kimberly), and previous event donors we were able to easily surpass our goal. Thus far, we have made initial contact with hundreds of individuals and numerous organizations. This step took the most time and collaboration, as we created and revised the list of contacts.
Objective 2 aimed to make the event sustainable. Luckily, GreenLight Solutions can make just about anything green! We agreed on four focus areas for the event that could incorporate sustainability: A Culture of Sustainability (Sustainability Communications / Education), Waste Diversion, Transportation, and a Green Menu. The major goals covered by this focus area are:
·Encouraging the use of already durable materials (ex. stickers for reusable water bottles, etc.)
·Establishing waste partnerships & supplies as needed.
·Recruiting & training bin guarders
·Providing bin signage for the bins caterer
·Using sustainable decorations
·Encouraging/rewarding attendees for carpooling/using public transportation (promoting sustainable Transportation)
·Choosing the most sustainable menu options
Our final objective was to develop virtual content to show how Envision You’s mission contributes to sustainability by empowering affected women and those supporting them to develop their sense of self-confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem. The goal was to create video testimonials to show during the event itself, one for the start of the event, the middle, and the end. Kimberly introduced us to survivors who had gone through the Envision You program and seen its impact on their lives. We provided them with a curated list of questions to understand Envision You’s impact. We are currently in the process of interviewing and recording them.
This semester showed us the power of planning, coordination, and follow-up. Seeing these moving parts come together is one of the miracles that we hope attendees will feel while attending the gala. We look forward to coming together as a community to support survivors and Envision You’s mission to empower them.
Written By: Harshit Tyagi|Collins Carrington
In the fall of 2022, Dynamic.RE reached out to us for their fourth project with GreenLight Solutions to create an educational tool about energy efficiency for their clients. In past semesters, Dynamic and GreenLight worked together on many projects to make homeownership sustainable. This semester they aimed to expand their website to include more resources for their clients. After looking at currently available energy efficiency resources for homeowners, we found that there is a lot of guesswork and money that goes into making a home more energy efficient. We tackled that issue by creating 2 resources: a video detailing the process of getting an energy audit and an ebook that lists easy and cost-efficient “Do it Yourself” home energy solutions.
Our first objective was to conduct a home energy audit to use as a case study to document the process. Our team met to collect information on what an energy audit is and what it would look like for homeowners who may be interested. We reached out to a local company, FOR Energy, which specializes in home energy audits. We set up an appointment with them to do an energy audit on the Dynamic home office. We set out to record 15 clips and ended up with 34 clips for the audit. During the audit, we asked questions related to home energy efficiency and gathered a great deal of information to use for our final deliverables. Once the audit is completed, FOR Energy offers a follow-up report review for all of its clients. This review goes over all of the collected data and provides solutions to home issues. By attending this meeting, we gained insight on areas where a home is most likely to be losing energy and what improvements can be made. We also realized how expensive it can be to replace or repair different areas of a home to make it energy efficient. As a result, we came up with the idea for our Ebook.
The second objective of our project was to accumulate all of the information we had learned, along with additional research, to create our Ebook. The Ebook aimed to provide people with ways to reduce their home energy usage without having to break the bank. To do this, we came up with a list of 11 DIY home improvements. This list included a variety of easy switches that can be made in the home, such as replacing light bulbs with LEDs, switching to a smart thermostat, improving weatherstripping around doors, and more. Each home improvement listed in the Ebook is accompanied by a detailed paragraph that explains how and why making these switches is important for decreasing energy usage to create a sustainable home.
Now, Dynamic has new resources on its website where its clients can go to learn more about home energy efficiency and the energy audit process. Readily available information for their clients helps real estate and home ownership become sustainable. Our team of Solutioneers gained valuable hands-on experience in home energy audits, learned about the most notable areas of the home where energy is wasted, and what solutions exist to prevent energy waste.
Making a home more energy efficient can be a daunting task, especially considering the high cost that companies charge. This project took the guesswork out of the process and gave Dynamic’s clients and anyone looking for more information, clarity on what the energy audit and implementation process looks like, and gave easy and cost-efficient solutions to help property owners everywhere make an impact.
Written By: Lauren Taylor Lauren Taylor is a Sophomore at Arizona State University studying for a Bachelors of Science in Sustainability with a concentration in Energy and a minor in Project Management. This was her second semester in GreenLight Solutions and she held the role of Project Lead for the Dynamic RE team. Outside of GreenLight Solutions, Lauren is an Energy Efficiency Specialist for the Industrial Assessment Center at ASU and is currently working on a project funded by the USDA to provide energy audits for rural areas of Arizona.