Past Projects

POWER IN A BOX, PROF. CATHERINE PETERS AND PROF. ELIE BOU-ZEID

Power in a Box is a technology that EPICS students developed to provide portable renewable energy to recovering and off-the-grid communities, serving to replace diesel generators. The 1 kW system includes a wind turbine that can be transported in a shipping container, and erected to 40 ft in about 45 minutes using only human power.

In the spring of 2012, the students brought their "Power-in-a-Box" system to Washington, D.C. to compete in the EPA P3 National Sustainable Design EXPO, winning a grant of $90,000. In the 2012-13 academic year, the EPICS team used the Phase II grant to further develop the technology and test its deployment in rural communities, including Africa. Students from all disciplines, within and outside engineering, participated in this project.  Additional information about the project can be found at http://powerbox.princeton.edu/.

GREENTROFIT™ TEAM, PROF. CATHERINE PETERS

The Greentrofit™ team conducted a local study of air exchange rates of homes in the Princeton, NJ area, performing over 40 assessments using a an apparuts called a blower door. This method uses a fan to depressurize the indoor area of the house envelope, then varies the fan flow rate and records a range of pressure differences between indoor and outdoor environments. Corresponding fan flow rates are collected and then fed into a calculator created by team members, which determines the leakiness of the house, including natural infiltration rate.To supplement the data collected from the blower door tests, the team gathered data on a number of house factors that could potentially affect home air exchange rates and energy efficiency. These factors included, square footage, attic and basement size, age, number of doors and windows, wall type, house style, and others. These results were compiled and analyzed using multivariate regression analysis, resulting in a predictive model to determine air exchange rates from typical house features. This model is the basis for Greentrofit™.
 

SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS TEAM - THE B HOME, LECTURER ISMAIEL YAKUB

An example of biomimicry, the B Home derives inspiration from the honeycomb of a beehive, efficiently enclosing space with a hexagonal lattice. The hexagon design provides more enclosed spaces in a smaller area with less materials and energy. Each unit provides a safe, comfortable and private space for individuals to sleep and store basic belongings. Together, the units form a strong, interconnected structure where utilities are efficiently shared. The B Home offers a more permanent, stable and efficient alternative to other low-cost shelter systems. The B Home has been in development since 2005. A full-scale proof of concept was fabricated in 2009 and deployed in an abandonded building in Trenton, NJ for real world testing. It was inhabited for a period of its deployment. Based on the results, the design was revised and a stronger, more robust prototype evolved. Collaborating with Dr. Wole Soboyejo and Ismaiel Yakub at Princeton University since 2010, the EPICS program selected the 
B Home as a design project.