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Students advise Fairfield on use of alternative energy

The M.U.M. Review    Translate This Article
10 April 2006

The City of Fairfield will be creating a commission to plan a strategy to save money via alternative energy, thanks to a research project by students in a course on management and the environment.

On the last day of class, the students presented the results of their research to the City Council's environmental committee, and Mayor Ed Malloy was so impressed by the ideas presented that he immediately decided to establish a sustainability commission and suggested that a student be a permanent member.

City Council member John Revolinski had initially sought help from the University's students to figure out how alternative energy could be used, and the students in this course taught by Jimmy Sinton took on the task.

'I don't think John was expecting the students to go to the length that they did,' Mr. Sinton said. 'He was very impressed. The quality of presentations was superb—business-conference level. And what they were proposing was pretty remarkable.'

One group of students studied how the library could reduce energy costs. The library will be replacing a boiler in the next year, and the students showed that replacing it with a geothermal system could greatly reduce costs while being about the same expense as a new boiler. They also showed that the library could save a large amount of money by using skylights to assist lighting and solar energy to assist heating.

Mr. Sinton said that one of the most innovative suggestions was to replace traffic lights with intersections using roundabouts. The city could save tens of thousands of dollars on energy costs while also making intersections safer.

The students' plan for waste water treatment included capturing more of the methane gas the current process produces and using it to power a turbine to supply the energy for the treatment plant. They also proposed a wetlands, which not only purifies waste but also is lush and attractive and has no odor.

Mr. Sinton said that Councilman John Revolinski was so convinced by the students' suggestions that he told them they would see their ideas become a reality.

'It was really inspiring for me,' Mr. Sinton said. 'I didn't realize the city was actually poised to do this.'

While 16 students in class were involved in the alternative energy planning, another group of seven students took on a project to develop a plan for Fairfield in the event of an outbreak of avian flu. This was at the invitation of Mike Garvin, who is on a committee put together by President Bush to prepare the country for such an outbreak.

The students developed a plan that would facilitate the city's being self-sufficient in order to avoid infection from outside. The plan also included approaches to dealing with an outbreak such as immunity via natural means.

Copyright © 2006, Maharishi University of Management

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