Spring Green Expo - April 28, 2016
Spring Green Expo - April 28, 2016

Eco Innovators’ Showcase Winners

Metropolitan Water District held its 9th annual Spring Green Expo on April 28, 2016. The purpose of the event is to raise public awareness of environmental issues and provide information through exhibits, seminars and materials on ways individuals can live and work in a more environmentally friendly manner.

A major highlight of the Expo is the Eco Innovators’ Showcase where Southern California college and high school students can exhibit their sustainability related project work. The exhibits are separated into two categories, Individual and Team, and judged by a panel made up of engineers, architects and water resource specialists.

Winners for the group and individual categories are selected based on impact potential, concept/creativity, cost of implementation, and presentation.

This year’s Expo featured an additional award called the ECO Spirit Award, which is based on passion, vision, collaboration, and altruism.

The 2016 Expo included 27 entries, from 14 high schools/colleges/universities, representing five counties in Southern California. The 2016 Winners are:

ECO Spirit Award Winners


ECO Spirit Award
Student: Janet Ortega, Jesseca Martinez, Viviana Sanchez, Mersy Maradiaga
Project: Sustainable Water Distribution System Design for Los Hatillos Community in Choluteca, Honduras
School: University of California, Irvine

Description: The Global Engineering Brigades UC Irvine Chapter participated in the design of a feasible water system for the community of Los Hatillos in Choluteca, Honduras. This community was lacking clean water, resulting in many health cases such as colds, skin rashes, parasites, and diarrheal diseases. This community never had a centralized water system that provided water to all of its 650 members. Some wells were built to fulfill water needs of the community, however, they were scattered around the community. Some members had to walk miles with heavy buckets and tubs of water in order to bring water to their homes, many of them children. The UCI team collaborated with local Honduran engineers to design a gravitational water system for 160 homes. The community water demand was an average 13 GPM. The water source chosen produced an average 30 GPM, exceeding community needs. Upon receiving government funding, the project finished construction in June 2015.

Team Category

1st Place
Student: Brian R. Rojas-Lerena, Jacqueline Ortega, Jose Corbala-Delgado, Colin Eckerle, Brandon Leu, Kevin Li, Dennis Jones
Project: Husk-to-Home
School: University of California, Riverside

Description: The Husk-To-Home team is producing a wood plastic composite made from rice husk, recycled plastic, and other non-expensive materials. Their goal is to produce a product which can be used as a sustainable building material in Bohol, Philippines for relief shelters and housing. They are working to create a wood plastic composite which is both termite and water resistant.

Team Category 1st Place Winners


2nd place
Student: Taljinder Kaur, Franklin Gonzalez, Karim Masarweh, Diego Novoa, Johny Nguyen, Kenneth Orellana
Project: Sustain-a-Drain: An Advanced Storm Drain Indicative Maintenance Process
School: University of California, Riverside

Description: California’s infrastructure prevents rain event flooding by channeling untreated rainwater into the ocean, wasting millions of gallons of potentially reclaimable water. Sustain-a-Drain’s main objective is to protect waterways and allow possible water reclamation by implementing an inexpensive yet reusable storm drain filter insert system. The proposed system includes a method for saturation indication and a process for filter reuse. The indicator determines the fabric’s full saturation level for hydrocarbon contaminants and facilitates maintenance. The effluent incorporates an oil degenerative fungus that decomposes hydrocarbons and retains heavy metal ions. Pilot implementations at Fleet Services at University of California, Riverside could provide vital contaminant reduction and grant a new source of water for irrigation purposes. This filtration system uses an environmentally friendly design to protect to the environment allowing for stormwater reuse.

Team Category 2nd Place Winners


3rd place
Student: Jaclyn Akers, Devon Bloss, Cora Byers, Amelia Cunningham, Oliva Diaz, Brett Galland, Clayton Heard, Camille Hyde, Ariane Jong, Natalie Kobayashi, Megan Mandel, Abigail Messmer, Nicole Morgan, Marc Rosenfield, Alexandra Sidun, Lauren Smith, Sarah Thorson, Katherine Whiteman, Julia Williams
Project: Chapman University 2016 Environmental Audit: Waste Management and Dining Services
School: Chapman University

Description: In the spring of 2016, the graduating class of the Environmental Science & Policy Program conducted the fourth sustainability audit of Chapman University’s campus and residence life. The purpose of the audit was to help understand the current state of waste management on campus as well as to aid in development of future programming and projects. The audit specifically studied waste management and dining services as it pertains to food service equipment, dining services, hazardous waste and campus community education. Students researched the history of waste management at Chapman, performed waste audits, and distributed a campus-wide survey. The data gathered from the audit now serves as a platform for future sustainability initiatives at Chapman University.

Team Category 3rd Place Winners


Individual Category

1st Place
Student: Stephanie Green
Project: Particle Escape
School: Los Angeles Trade Technical College

Description: This project is a 3ds Max model of a proposed bridge extension of the Santa Monica Pier. This extension will not only be aesthetically pleasing, but will also be ecologically sustainable. The primary purpose of this extension is to transform ocean water into potable water by using concave glass arches to collect ocean water evaporation. This project will also utilize photovoltaic energy. Although the proposed location of this project is the Santa Monica pier, a bridge extension like this can be placed in many other sites.

Individual Category 1st Place Winner


2nd Place
Student: Julia Altschul
Project: The Beacon District: A Floating Social, ECO Housing Community in San Francisco
School: Art Center College of Design

Description: A place to call home in a city with rising wealth disparity, The Beacon District provides an eco and socially conscious floating community to live and thrive for those who wouldn't have one otherwise. For low income residents of San Francisco, these communities live harmoniously through a shared energy system that is housed in the central hub, which also serves as a social center for all to enjoy. Energy collected from each house's solar panels and tidal power is deposited into the hub to then be dispersed by need. The battery inside the hub's floating platform stores and distributes energy from each of the houses renewable resources. Due to the floating nature of The Beacon District, only a portion of the community will be at the prime photovoltaic collection angle at any given time, making the shared energy economy even more essential. The central hub is also home to an adaptable shade screen system and track seating that allow for several different community events and activities to take place at various times. The Beacon District fosters a sense of community not only in its central shared social area that residents can physically enjoy, but also in the entire shared energy system that relies on each resident’s participation, which in turn keeps the entire community engaged and afloat.

Individual Category 2nd Place Winner


3rd Place
Student: Randi Robins
Project: Aqua Flora
School: Art Center College of Design

Description: Aqua Flora is an ecology research lab and educational outreach program based in the Channel Islands National Park where researchers pursue the local aquatic environment as the ultimate resource in sustainability. It fulfills the social demand, ecological need and scientific curiosity for sustainable practice in local food and architecture specific to California. Aquaflora is collaborative lab space that offers a positive outlook and fresh insights in the realm of climate change and sustainability. Aquaflora is a self-sustaining ecology research lab and educational outreach program that floats around the shores of the Channel Islands. Located just 15 miles off the coast of Central California’s farming hub, it inspires the local public to make environmentally conscious agricultural choices, shifting the topic of conversation from a fear of scarcity in agriculture to the promise of abundance in aquaculture through dietary choices. The marine biology lab is devoted to researching algae and seaweed as the ultimate crop, cuisine, and biofuel. Through its outreach program, visitors to the national park’s islands are invited to come to the space via kayak or boat.

Individual Category 3rd Place Winner