On May 11, 2022

Local students won engineering designs for sustainability with solar-powered trough

Two teams from Windsor High School took top honors at the first annual Greenway Institute Sustainable Engineering Challenge on May 6. The event was hosted and supported by Norwich Technologies, a solar company based out of White River Junction.

Fern Day, Sydney Perry, and Madison Lawyer of Windsor High School claimed the prize for best overall engineering design with their solar-powered, off-grid, water heater for animals. Judges cited their comprehensive design, overall aesthetic and attention to the needs of potential users in awarding this recognition.

Amber Simonds, Johnathan Clark, and Corey Lockwood, also of Windsor High School, claimed the prize for overall prototype performance for their solar-powered livestock trough. Judges praised the efficient, immediate operation and simple design of their prototype. By preventing overflow, their device conserved both water and energy.

This year’s challenge required students to design and build a solar-powered technology that improves human health, ecosystem stability, agriculture, or climate change resilience through increasing access to clean water. Projects ranged from a water system designed for off-grid camps, to a solar-powered sprinkler fed by rainwater, to a temperature sensor for swimming safety.

Sarah Lou, an engineering student and Greenway intern who co-designed this year’s challenge, served as a judge on the demonstration day. She said “I loved seeing through this challenge from the initial design to demonstration. It’s awesome seeing what students can accomplish with solar technology, creativity and hard work. I am really glad that I could help inspire students to get excited about innovation, and help them see how powerful and fun green engineering can be.”

“This year’s teams successfully designed and built solutions to real problems that matter to people in their communities,” said Rebecca Holcombe, Vermont Secretary of Education 2014-2018 and Greenway’s co-founder.

Developing the challenge was a collaborative effort between Greenway’s leadership and young engineers. “This is a really exciting opportunity for students to get hands-on experience, while making real, tangible change in the field of sustainable engineering,” said Jhujhar Sarna, another of Greenway’s interns and a co-designer of this year’s challenge.

At the demonstration day, teams presented their projects to industry professionals and a panel of judges composed of college engineering students. In addition to the overall prize winners, teams were recognized for measurable impact (Cameron King, Cedar Decker, and Ephraim Elmer), sustainability of the design and materials (Lillyana Beach, Miranda Johnson), technological innovation (Miah Mcallister, Gwen Ambrose, Madison Williams), and presentation (Mikayla McDuffie, Landon Mas, Guy Ciccarelli, Owen Roberge).

Lindsay Harley, an engineering student and judge, praised the teams, saying “Greenway’s sustainable engineering challenge was an awesome experience. I was impressed with each team’s dedication to their project, commitment to the iterative design process and ability to design a solution to problems they face in their own communities.”

Solar panels and technical support were provided by Norwich Technologies. Greenway co-founder and Norwich Technology CTO Troy McBride noted that this event was a great opportunity for students with an interest in sustainable engineering to connect with leaders in the green energy sector.

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