By Ariana Asuncion Mabutas
St. Paul University Quezon City
Image by Noel Pabalate
We have this general thinking of conserving energy to save our planet. “Conserving energy,” however, is not really highly recommended in terms of the betterment of our environment. Our job as inhabitants is to improve our efficient energy use.
Multiple new technologies are rapidly developing as time goes by, especially in the 21st century, but “the problem now is that we’re consuming so much more energy and this excessive consumption of energy is triggering more problems such as global warming. So there’s really a need to address this challenge and we do that by innovating more and improving the current scenario on energy,” says De La Salle University-Manila’s mechanical engineering student Aaron Jules Del Rosario.
With this challenge in mind, Aaron joined forces with chemical engineering student Iliana Bernice Tan in building up the idea of Glass-X. The two students, who call themselves “Team Green Zone,” are the winner for the Asia Pacific Regional Finals of Go Green in the City Country Finals by Schneider Electric.
THE WORLD OF SMART CITIES AND ENERGY MANAGEMENT
“Go Green in the City is an annual global business case challenge, which invites students to undertake exceptional journey learning about Schneider Electric and gaining valuable insights into the world of smart cities and energy management. Now on its seventh edition, this competition aims to involve the younger generation with the current global energy situation that has impacted everyone. It also allows our Filipino students to contribute to the search for solutions to the global energy challenge while allowing them to learn from others,” says Tess Portillo, HR country head of Schneider Electric Philippines. Team Green Zone recently represented the country for the Asia Pacific Regional Finals. The team competed against ASEAN competitors.
“Glass-X integrates different technologies such as vacuum insulation, which prevents heat from entering the building. It also has a solar concentrator embedded in the glass that detects sunlight and other heat and it is extracted on the sides of the building and this heat is used by the cooling system to power itself,” says Aaron.
Iliana says they are thinking of novel, groundbreaking ways that can be integrated into buildings, which will have the same—or better effect—than vacuum-insulated glasses. Glass-X basically gathers energy from the sun and makes use of that power to make the cooling system of the building work. The main function of the product is to extract solar energy. “X” on Glass-X stands for eXtracting energy from the sun.
“We tend to have a notion of reusing more energy. Energy, however, is not fully maximized yet at this point. There’s still a lot of energy roaming around, let’s say sun as the energy source. It’s not been fully maximized yet and fully utilized,” says Iliana.
Through the project, Iliana urges the youth to push themselves to get involved in the global issues to educate themselves. Aaron includes pushing for more opportunities for the youth. He has a firm conviction that it will help the youth squeeze their own creative juices and develop new ideas or technologies in order to shape the environment of the future by doing what they can today. “Our task is to improve the efficiency of these devices by developing new products or developing systems to address energy management and energy efficiency,” says Aaron.
Glass-X is still a work in progress. “You can really trust the insights of Schneider’s experts,” he says. “In college, we’re really trapped into that theory-based learning.”
Aaron adds that they “were able to gather a lot of information from them that really helped us build our idea and make it better.”
The Go Green in the City competition aims to enjoin the younger generation to take action on today’s global energy situation. It lets students of the Philippines play their significant parts to search for solutions to the challenge of global energy’s status quo, at the same time allowing the students to acquire knowledge from industry experts and leaders. Country head of Schneider Electric Philippines Claude Mazallon says, “Based on all the submissions this year, we’ve seen a lot of effort and passion. We are sure that the final Filipino team today will carry the flag of the Philippines very high in the regional and global competitions. It’s so wonderful to see the youth so involved, committed, passionate, and creative about fixing the energy equation of the country.”