Weather Balloons, Fuel-Sipping Cars and Environmental Research

UH Showcases Sustainability Efforts at Earth Day Celebration

The University of Houston will highlight some of its campus-wide sustainability efforts during Air Alliance Houston's Earth Day celebration Saturday, April 12, at Discovery Green (1500 McKinney St.).

Students and faculty will also talk about environmental research and projects at the daylong event. Representatives from UH will be in the Sustainability Zone, one of several areas set up to draw attention to environmental awareness.

The festival will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is free and open to the public. 

Barry Lefer, associate professor of earth and atmospheric sciences, said his research group will launch two weather balloons, at approximately 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. The group also will have information about its air quality research on display.

 And a team of students from the College of Technology – the Dream Team – will demonstrate a car built for the Shell Eco-Marathon, scheduled for April 25-27 at Discovery Green. That competition challenges students to design, build and drive energy efficient cars.

 Team members will have their car, built to run on a fuel made from natural gas and designed to get 120 mph, according to the team’s projections, at the Sustainability Zone.

 UH plans to have four teams in this year’s Eco-Marathon.

 Dream Team leader Alexus Romero, a senior mechanical engineering technology student, said other students from the college will have a formula racing car powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid motor on display, along with a remotely operated vehicle and other engineering technology.

 The University will also showcase some of the sustainability initiatives underway on campus, from greener cleaning supplies to efforts to reduce food waste and cook using less water and energy, said Maria Honey, assistant director for marketing and communications in the division of administration and finance.

 That will include two “Water Monsters,” huge water containers used for campus events to discourage the use of disposable water bottles. Each Water Monster holds 125 gallons of water, about the same amount found in 600 large water bottles.

 UH volunteers will give away collapsible, reusable water bottles, Honey said.

 UH Dining Services will have a food and water footprint activity, “green” playdough and information on their contributions to campus sustainability.