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Solar table created by student is first of its kind

April 13, 2016

The ADA accessible table is made from steel and will have eight USB power stations charged through three 45-watt solar panels on the roof.

A computer generated model of the solar table
The ADA accessible table is made from steel and will have eight USB power stations charged through three 45-watt solar panels on the roof.

As part of Virginia Tech's Earth Week 2016 activities, the university will install its first solar powered table near Pritchard Hall at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20.

The table, which was manufactured in Roanoke and is the first of its kind, was the brainchild of Patrick Gallagher of Nashville, Tennessee, president of Students for Clean Energy and a senior studying biological systems engineering.

"Not only will students have the ability to power their devices while enjoying the fresh air, they will be doing so using 100 percent clean renewable energy," said Gallagher. "This is a win-win for both student life and sustainability efforts on campuses around the world."

The ADA accessible table is made from steel with a poweder coat finish and will have eight USB power stations charged through two 100-watt solar panels on the roof. The solar panels will store enough power to charge electronic devices continuously for up to two cloudy days.

At the installation of the table on April 20, Virginia Tech President Tim Sands will speak about the university's progress toward the goals outlined in the Virginia Tech’s Climate Action Commitment: reaching a 50 percent recycling rate by 2020, improving energy efficiency in campus buildings, achieving a minimum LEED rating of silver for all new construction, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

The project was one of five projects selected in 2015 as part of the Green RFP Program run through the Virginia Tech Office of Energy and Sustainability.

Every fall, the office seeks proposals from students and student groups for sustainability projects focused on energy efficiency and energy conservation.

“This student proposal was extremely unique and most challenging.  The result was a total team effort involving many university subject matter experts and the Roanoke, Virginia firm who manufactured the table," said Sustainability Program Manager Denny Cochrane.

More information about Earth Week 2016, including a full schedule of events, is available online.

Learn more about the university's most recent strides in campus sustainability.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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