Research on Site: The Princeton Campus as Living Lab
The inspiration for a new research project came on a summer day when the humidity — a staple of summer in New Jersey — was so high that it was interfering with the results of Princeton professor Daniel Steingart's experiments.
Steingart was testing a new electric-vehicle battery technology in two laboratories in the School of Engineering and Applied Science's complex when humidity got in the way. The problem sparked a project that would encourage his students to learn skills in setting up sensor networks while providing information to facilities managers that could lead to more efficient ways to control indoor climates.
The use of the "campus as a laboratory" has gained popularity at Princeton and institutions worldwide. Resembling self-contained towns, universities can be an ideal place to research topics in sustainability. The approach can be used to study a range of topics, from energy conservation to natural resource management, to the human relationship with the environment.
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