April 27, 2010

Three mechanical engineering seniors have set out to help the university in its efforts to go green. Kyle Gravois of Houma, Abby Ruiz of Baton Rouge, and Chad Santos of Shreveport have worked closely with Facility Services to devise a plan that would enhance campus water sustainability - beginning with the on-campus golf course.

"Currently the ponds on the LSU golf courses hold water supplied by Baton Rogue Water Company," explains team member Gravois, "It's our job to make a plan that will reduce the amount of water used so the course can become more sustainable by using our own ground water." By using ground water, the University will save money and help the environment. The ground water is stored in a well which is powered by solar energy.

LSU Facility Services and Campus Sustainability sponsored the team by giving them a budget of $15,000, making their project one of the most expensive senior projects of the year. Dr. Dimitris Nikitopoulos, interim chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department, advised the team. James Mayne, Clifford Gillio, and Denise Newell of Facility Services also worked closely with the senior team.

"Going green and finding new ways of sustainability can be expensive," Santos claims, "but if it's better for the environment and the school continues with its strong efforts, it will eventually pay off."

The team is currently working with Facility Services in order to find more locations on campus where their sustainability plan can be used. "It's a large structure and we have to meet with a number of organizations to get permission, but the University is very adamant in their going green efforts, so there's a good possibility, our plans will be used long after we graduate," claims Gravois.

The senior design project is one of the final tests engineering students face before graduating from the College of Engineering. The Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) will host the ME 4202 Capstone Design II annual seminar presentation May 4-5, 2010. Mechanical engineering undergraduates worked throughout two semesters on a design project of their choice. Projects are judged by a design panel consisting of local industry leaders and LSU faculty and alumni.

All Mechanical Engineering faculty members, projects sponsors, faculty advisors, alumni, graduate students, Mechanical Engineering undergraduates, and the general public are invited to this event each year. To obtain information for next year's event, submit an area for research, or to become a judge or sponsor, please contact Dr. Mike Murphy at murphy@me.lsu.edu or Don Eisenberg at eisenberg@lsu.edu.

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Article by Crystal Jackson, College of Engineering Public Relations Graduate Assistant, 225-578-5706, mlavall@lsu.edu



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