Carbon Reduction Challenge Wins Awards in Global Competition

Pioneered by Kim Cobb, program reaches new heights.

December 13, 2018

Editor's Note. This story was published originally by the Scheller School of Business on Dec. 12, 2018. It has been adapted for the College of Sciences.

Georgia Tech’s Carbon Reduction Challenge (CRC), a program that helps students design and implement large-scale projects to save energy, received two first-place awards at the 2019 Reimagine Education Conference & Awards in San Francisco. The international competition spotlights innovative initiatives aimed at enhancing student learning outcomes and employability across five disciplines and 17 categories.

The CRC is co-directed by College of Sciences Professor and Georgia Tech Global Change Program Director Kim Cobb and Scheller College of Business Professor and Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business (“Center”) Faculty Director Beril Toktay. The CRC pairs teams of undergraduate students with a diverse set of local organizations to identify opportunities for large-scale energy efficiency gains that will save greenhouse gas emissions and deliver significant energy cost savings.

This year’s competition received 1,184 project submissions from 39 countries. Submissions were evaluated by 160 international judges. The CRC won first place in the “Sustainability” category as well as first place in the “Natural Sciences” discipline. It was also selected as one of ten finalists to advance to the Grand Finale.

The CRC began as a class project that Cobb initiated in 2007. In 2017, it was expanded to include co-op and internship students across Georgia Tech in collaboration with Toktay and with funding from the Ray C. Anderson Foundation’s NextGen Committee and the Scheller College of Business Dean’s Innovation Fund. It also became an affiliated project of the Georgia Tech Serve-Learn-Sustain initiative.

In 2018, the CRC expanded its reach by inviting Emory University students to participate as well. The CRC became an official activity of the Georgia Climate Project, a statewide, multi-year effort to improve understanding of climate impacts and solutions across the state and to encourage Georgia residents to take effective, science-based climate action. CRC projects launched since 2017 have already resulted in over two million pounds of avoided CO2 emissions and are projected to deliver hundreds of thousands of dollars in avoided energy costs to partner organizations. Finalists present their projects at a public poster expo, and judges score projects to decide the winners who receive cash prizes thanks to a gift from the Sheth Family Foundation.

Reimagine Education is sponsored in part by the Alfred West Jr. Learning Lab of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.