CAL Research Projects

There are numerous opportunities to pursue research projects using Princeton’s campus as a living laboratory to help solve global sustainability challenges, while also helping to advance progress toward the institution’s own ambitious Sustainability Action Plan goals.

View a sample of current, on-going, and past Campus as Lab research projects below. 

Campus as Lab Projects

Analyzing the Structural Integrity of Sustainable Concrete Alternatives

Professor Branko Glisic is working to monitor the structural integrity of concrete pillars and beams in a newly constructed parking structure. The goal of this project is to apply the findings of the structural research of existing concrete mixtures to newly developed concrete mixtures that do not use or emit any carbon byproducts in construction.

Butler Green Roof

HMEI conducted research on energy and stormwater-related performance factors of the Butler College green roofs from installation 2009 through 2014. 

Campus Energy Heat Map

In Spring 2015, these students developed a visualization app that provides detailed and live energy information on campus buildings.

CO2 Sensing Project in Dillon Gym

Researchers are using CO2 sensors in Dillon Gym to examine air circulation quality, which can be helpful in determining the transmission rates of airborne pollutants and illnesses like COVID-19. 

Forest Stewardship Study

Dr. Levine is leading a project in collaboration with Princeton Facilities’ Grounds department to study the impact of different forest management strategies. 

Light Pollution Campus Survey

A light pollution campus survey project was conducted using night-time aerial monitoring to identify areas on campus where lighting can be improved, for example by adding shielding and modern LED technology. 

Princeton Vertical Farming Project

The PVFP used a hydroponic and artificial lighting growing system to investigate the viability of feeding a rapidly growing world population with space-saving methods. 

Princeton Wildlife Monitoring Project

Astrophysics Professor Gaspar Bakos monitors and observes wildlife in the area surrounding Princeton.

S.C.R.A.P. Lab

In September 2018, the Office of Sustainability launched an on-site food scraps composting demonstration project to support the sustainability goals and research and education missions of Princeton University.

School Bus Tiny Home

Students retrofitted an old school bus into a sustainable living space to address cost and energy efficiency concerns within the residential housing sector.

Smart Sensing for More Efficient and Comfortable Campus Buildings

This project uses a new technology developed by Professor Forrest Meggers and his team called the SMART sensor to detect these so-called radiant sources of heating and cooling.

Solar-Powered Smart Window Inserts

Matthew Marquardt ’21 wrote his senior thesis on the installation of smart windows on campus, and in broader communities. 

Sustainable Behavior Evaluations

Behavioral evaluations of the “Do it in the Dark” residential college energy competition and the Drink Local campaign.

Washington Stream Restoration

In 2012, the University completed a natural restoration of the stream along Washington Road to mitigate flood risks and improve the riparian habitat.

Apply for Funding from The High Meadows Foundation Sustainability Fund for your CAL research.

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