Five proposals for engineering
A simple and economically viable solution, capable of lowering costs of large and small constructions. Parting from this premise, students Lorena Rezende dos Santos and Patrícia Eliza de Carvalho, from the Goiás Federal University (UFG), proposed exchanging part of the cement used in masonry settlements for cellulose fibers from the Kraft paper package of construction material. The Civil Engineering students’ idea was tested and subscribed in the 2011 edition of the Odebrecht Award for Sustainable Development. The tests were positive and they ended up winning first place in the award.
“The volume of residue produced in construction sites is high, so we suggested recycling these packages, which are normally discarded”, says Patrícia. According to Lorena, the benefits are substantial: “The pulp from cellulose fiber is obtained in the site itself, through water and an instrument with a propeller capable of cutting paper. This lowers the mortar production costs and increases the masonry performance”. Besides, the solution avoids the incorrect disposal of packages and the emission of pollutant gases in their transportation.
Like Patrícia and Lorena, many students waited anxiously for the Odebrecht Award results, released in December of last year, and which, in its fourth edition, counted on the subscription of 266 groups of students. Each project could have from only one author to three, as long as at least one of the participants was a student at Engineering, Architecture or Agronomy majors. From October 17th to December 16th, the projects were submitted to analysis and evaluation by the Judging Committee. Finally, the five winners were announced.
Pablo Jacoby, Civil Engineering student at the Extremo Sul Catarinense University (Unesc), is one of them. His project, which was awarded second place, presents a sustainable solution for the use of sludge from the production of ceramic tiles, highly utilized by the construction industry. Analyzing the characteristics of the waste, he noted that it has great potential to be used in cement-based materials. Thus, tests were performed in which 5%, 10% and 20% of the cement were replaced by the residue. By carrying out the compression strength test, with the replacement of 20%, there was an 18% increase in mortar resistance. “In southern Santa Catarina, the production of this waste is very large. The material is impure and usually discarded into landfills, but, with our project, we will give it a useful destination and reduce cement consumption, minimizing carbon emissions by the industries,” he explains.
Popular and sustainable
A new concept for popular housing projects won third place. Developed by students Ártano dos Santos, Marina Garcia, and Thainá Coelho, from the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), the project is innovative because it combines the concepts of sustainability – such as thermoacoustic comfort, energy efficiency and natural resource savings – to that of social inclusion. “Today’s social projects focus only on the population’s basic needs. With our project, we want to go beyond, helping low-income people to also have access to renewable technologies, which range from the rational use of water to alternative energies. This is a cultural change in engineering,” says Ártano.
Change is driven by new generations. Thus was born another idea, which won fourth place, from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). Created by students Daniela Pires, Eduardo Marocco, and Rafael Gerzson, it proposes the construction of so-called Zero Liquid Energy Building in the UFRGS Valley Campus. Weather data and a simulation software capable of predicting the use of renewable energy, lower energy consumption for lighting and ventilation, and rainwater harvesting were used. The goal is for the demand for electricity to be equal to or lower than that produced by photovoltaic panels (devices that convert sunlight into electricity) and by a wind turbine on the undertaking itself. In fifth place was a proposal of using frames that allow for control of ventilation and solar incidence, by student of Architecture and Urbanism Eduardo Souza Leite, from the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC).
Cláudio Boechat, professor at the Dom Cabral Foundation and one of the members of the Judging Committee, says he was impressed with the quality of the projects. “By encouraging students to think about sustainability, the award demonstrates the relevance of the theme for the business world, emphasizing how it is important for the future of their professional careers.”
Sérgio Leão, Head of Sustainability at Odebrecht Engineering and Construction, highlights that the award reinforces the commitment of the Organization to future generations: “Our focus is on people within and outside Odebrecht, because they are the ones to promote sustainable development. In the case of a young college student, he is going through a period of learning and attentive to innovations.”
The Award ceremony is scheduled for March 2012. Each of the winners -students, tutor and university – will receive a prize of R$ 20 thousand. In addition, the top winners will have their projects published in a book whose copies will be distributed to university libraries all over Brazil. Students Lorena and Patrícia (first place) were pre-qualified for the finals of the Young Partner Program of the Organization’s companies. Created in 2008, the Odebrecht Award has encouraged economically sustainable ideas in other countries besides Brazil – currently, there are editions of the annual award in Angola, the United States, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela.