Student Projects Spring 2014

These represent the culmination of the students’ work throughout the semester. Each group was required to produce a final report- all of which are viewable by clicking the project title – as well as a video. 

Briggs and Stratton Corporation
Briggs and Stratton Corporation is the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment.  A key organizational goal is to be an industry leader in sustainability efforts and practices.
1) The first team reviewed and critiqued the existing public sustainability website and suggested ways to improve the content and functionality.  The team came up with best in class recommendations as to both substance and presentation.
2) The second team helped stabilize a somewhat loosely organized office recycling program.  The team researched best in class internal recycling programs, audited the existing process and identified areas for improvement.  They also suggested methods for educating and engaging employees.  

Developing Tools for Small and Medium Sized Businesses to Make Sustainability Progress
For small and medium sized businesses, sustainability is about both finding a place to start and finding tools that work.  The team identified on-line, available tools that could work effectively for businesses that have small or no environmental/sustainability staff.  The students tested and vetted the tools as well as explored ways to package the tools to meet the needs of the businesses.

H&H Group Holdings 
H&H Group Holdings has six different divisions including: Electric, Solar Energy Services, Plumbing Services, Energy Management, Wind Energy, and Fire & Security.   H&H has personal vehicles, work vans, and trucks.  Because each divisions has different territories (ie county, state or national), the challenge was to determine which combination of type of vehicle, fuel type and ownership is best.  The team developed sustainable alternatives for their transportation system.  Recommendations sought to containing costs, present viable fuel options and include principles of sustainability into vehicle choices.  

Focus on Energy: Driving Energy Efficiency in Restaurants and Bars 
Focus on Energy is Wisconsin utilities’ statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program.  The team took on the challenge of how Focus could assist small businesses that were restaurants and bars.  They identified energy efficiency opportunities in independent restaurants and bars and determined the best method(s) to get energy efficiency information into the hands of contractors who make those savings real.  They also developed a tool that Focus could provide to contractors.  The tool helped contractors identify energy savings opportunities in restaurants and bars.  

Future Roots: Business Plan Development 
Future Roots is a brand new agriculture startup located in New Berlin, with a focus on aquaponics farming. The team investigated ways for the new startup to minimize energy expenditures and utilize alternative energy.  The team also helped with prioritizing which energy efficiency opportunities should be on the top of the list.  Information provided included cost (including the identification of grants and other economic incentives) and alternative energy sources such as geothermal, solar, and anaerobic digestion.

Lady Pietro Lavender Farm: Wholesale & Commercial Market Analysis
A lavender farm is under development near Baraboo. The team provided background research and recommendations on how and where do local/regional herbal and flower growers market their products, the market potential for selling fresh lavender through floral wholesalers and other floral outlets, the market potential for selling lavender oil through health food stores, health food distributors and other outlets and information on consumer preferences for lavender products

New Madison Brewpub: Developing a Sustainability Program  
A group of entrepreneurs was looking for help in integrating sustainability thinking into the design and development of a new brewpub in Madison.  The team provided recommendations on where the greatest cost savings opportunities were in the micro-brewing industry, a plan for how to realize those costs savings during the design process, metrics for measuring progress, a training plan and information on any funding that might be available to them.

Visual Impressions Waste Diversion
Visual Impressions is a contract apparel decorator in Milwaukee.  They are having a difficult time recycling “pellon”.  This material is a composite fiber that is usually composed of cotton and polyester.  It is the backing material used to stabilize embroidery images when sewn onto garments.  The team researched possible solutions to this challenge.  Possible solutions considered included changing the composition of pellon, finding a recycler willing to pay for the material, or finding someone that can use the material “as is” as a resource.

Wisconsin Academy of Sciences Arts and Letters
The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, is an independent, nonprofit organization since 1870 with the tagline, “We connect Wisconsin people and ideas for a better world”.  The team developed outreach and publicity recommendations for the new climate change “road map” that the Academy recently completed.  Specifically, the team developed a marketing plan for strategic dissemination of the road map to Wisconsin business and civic leaders.  The marketing plan included recommendations for communication channels (including roll out on our website); target individuals and organizations, networks, and events; and key ways of framing the message.

Yumbutter is a young startup in the nut butters industry.  They are a registered B Corp and have a Buy One Feed One aspect to their sales.  The team worked on developing a “One Day Without Food” campaign that would seek to focus attention on the food challenges in the developing world. The Campaign was designed to help increase the awareness of malnutrition and the reality that many people don’t have access to nourishing food. The team developed recommendations for the successful launch of this campaign.