Local Project
Project Manager: Claire Loe, Francis Chen

SmartTree is a student-driven design project to build a solar energy charging station at Northwestern. A seating area where visitors can enjoy a beautiful day outside while using their laptops and mobile devices without their batteries running out. An impactful, educational tool to display what sustainable energy can look like in our everyday lives. And most importantly, a source of clean energy that everyone on Northwestern’s campus can access.

SmartTree was an idea born in Engineers for a Sustainable World at Northwestern in 2013. Our student team, representing various majors across the University, wanted to do something impactful with the few solar panels we had at our disposal--something that anyone could be a part of and that could bring people together for a sustainable practice. After many hours of designing and calculating, our team has fleshed out the details and designed our first iteration of what would be known as the SmartTree. Eight tall poles will hold our solar panels high in the sky so they can effectively gather light and convert it to renewable electricity. A solid trunk will support its weight, and a table will surround its center so that a group of people can gather together under the tree's branches. Multiple AC and USB outlets will allow for easy charging of any device. Even the benches willl be sustainable, as they will be made of recycled brick bottles encased in concrete. 



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