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Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)

The SURF program offers Caltech and non-Caltech students the opportunity to work with seasoned researchers from the Institute and JPL. Students complete a 10 week long research project that culminates in a final report. Sustainability and Facilities Department staff have served as mentors on several SURF projects. Click the links below to learn more about these projects.


Summer 2010

Investigating the Feasibility of Water Reuse on the Caltech Campus (Hanna Dodd)

This project investigates the feasibility of building a cost effective filtering system that would clean swimming pool backwash and cooling tower blow-down water, and it investigates the amount of savings Caltech would gain from building such a system.

Summer 2009

Campus Water Uses and Potential Water Efficiencies (Calvin Kuo)

Using data collected from water meters on campus and from the utility company that supplies the campus with water, this research has produced a model that details how the water is distributed throughout campus.

Increasing Cooling Tower Water Efficiency  (Chang Sub Kim)

In this water efficiency project, the amount of water loss due to evaporation and blowdown each month has been studied. This project aims to improve overall water efficiency of cooling towers by examining two applicable systems that can recover vapor and reduce blowdown.

Carbon Emissions Modeling of Caltech  (Edward Lee)

Last year, this project began using the Clean Air-Cool Planet carbon emissions model, a model built specifically for the representation of a college or university's emissions. It is important now, to collect more data as well as add aspects to the model where assumptions were previously made such as embedded carbon in water transport, air travel, and the use of refrigerants and chemicals.

Summer 2008

Improving Data Center Energy Efficiency at Caltech (Daniel Alvarez)

This project is one of many steps that Caltech has taken to become more energy conscientious, specifically through improving the efficiency of Caltech's numerous server rooms.

Measuring Caltech's Carbon Footprint (Stanislava Petkova)

The project deals with collecting data on greenhouse gas  emissions on the Caltech campus.  The data is used as a means to estimate trends in the greenhouse gas emissions activities on campus.

Fume Hood Energy Usage and Incentivization (Silas Hilliard)

The aim of this research was to perform a cost analysis of existing fume hoods and to observe behavior patterns in fume hood usage.