Vermont State Colleges among IBM awardees to 'Help Build a Smarter Planet'

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Vermont State Colleges among IBM awardees to 'Help Build a Smarter Planet'

Wed, 07/20/2011 - 11:04am -- tim

IBM has awarded the Vermont State Colleges system a $100,000 grant for an energy efficiency initiative to help HowardCenter and Vermont Technical College (VTC) reduce their energy use by at least 5 percent annually.  Based on energy management strategies developed at IBM Burlington, the initiative will benefit from the input and partnership of VTC students, faculty and staff, HowardCenter staff, the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center and IBM volunteers.
The grant is one of eleven IBM Centennial Grants awarded by IBM to projects around the world ‘ one of only two in the U.S. ‘ in recognition of the company’s 100th anniversary. The IBM Centennial Grants are both monetary and in-kind awards up to $100,000 each and fund innovative projects in areas such as healthcare, energy, and food safety, helping to build a smarter planet.
For the past ten years, the IBM Vermont manufacturing facility has used its Smart Energy Management Program and its own smart grid to reduce energy use 20 percent while increasing manufacturing capability. IBM is collaborating with the Vermont State College system, and the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center (VMEC), to apply its energy management program to improve energy efficiency by at least five percent for VTC and HowardCenter, the largest mental health and human services organization in Vermont.  
‘We are extremely pleased and excited to be partnering with IBM on this outstanding energy savings program,’ said VTC President Dr. Philip Conroy. ‘Vermont Tech has a longstanding commitment to providing the type of sustainable practice education and training that IBM has developed here in Vermont, and our VMEC team is ideally positioned to provide the organizational leadership we’ll need to be successful.’
According to Todd Centybear, Executive Director, ‘HowardCenter is committed to this project because when we achieve our goals of a 5 percent reduction in energy use as well as significant monetary savings, we will have more money for programs and will have reduced our carbon footprint as a large agency. We are grateful to IBM for their leadership in this effort, which has the potential to benefit individuals and organizations well beyond HowardCenter.’
In 2009, Vermont launched an initiative to become the first ‘smart grid’ state and boost energy efficiency and reliability while creating jobs.  IBM believes the techniques learned and applied through the collaboration can help increase energy saving opportunities when Vermont completes its smart grid.
‘This IBM Centennial Grant is the result of the strong partnership among all the parties that will enable us to drive energy savings for the HowardCenter and VTC, and also will provide economic and environmental benefits to other organizations throughout Vermont,’ said Janette Bombardier, senior location executive for IBM in Vermont. ‘We value the opportunity to develop a sustainable energy management blueprint that will help the state take advantage of the benefits of the smart grid.’
The grant will fund energy efficiency and management education and training, the purchase of smart meters and funding for energy efficiency projects.
VMEC plans to provide support and training in continuous improvement and problem solving techniques, and innovation engineering principles and tools that underpin an effective energy management program.  Skills developed through this partnership with IBM will enhance VMEC’s outreach to Vermont manufacturers and other organizations.
VTC will integrate elements of the energy management program into its curriculum through the Center for Sustainable Practices.
The grant will enable the purchase of portable smart meters for the project and will fund new energy efficiency projects for HowardCenter and VTC. In addition, the project is being supported with data and resources from the Burlington Electric Department, Efficiency Vermont, Vermont Gas Systems, Green Mountain Power and Central Vermont Public Service.  
IBM, HowardCenter and Vermont Technical College announced the energy efficiency collaboration and kicked off a brainstorming process at HowardCenter on June 15.  The event was part of IBM’s Celebration of Service Day, a program designed for IBM employees to donate their time and expertise in recognition of the company’s 100th anniversary. More than 100 IBM Vermont volunteers are participating in the energy efficiency project.  
The IBM Centennial grant recipients include:

ATN Telecentre Information and Business Association (Brazil) ‘ Research has demonstrated that lack of technology is one of the main reasons non profit organizations and small and medium enterprises fail to survive in Latin America. This grant will help create a smarter network of non profits in Latin America including the creation of a toolkit for non profit organizations, and small and medium size businesses, to influence public policy and enable economic development.  
Drishtee Foundation (India) ‘Rural India is on the wrong side of the Digital Divide ‘ financially and socially deprived by a lack of access to critical information and technology leading to a big gap in opportunities. This grant will fund a Smart Rural Aggregation Platform which will help create Drishtee's model villages into a sustainable Smarter Villages in rural India.  The solution will help to aggregate critical services and products related with livelihood, agriculture and information services and making services accessible to farmers and village community.
El Agora (Argentina) - In Argentina, citizenship observatories publish quality of life indicators for cities ‘ including housing, public utilities, transportation, environment, health and education ‘ used to propose public policies for local mayors. This grant is designed to help promote the exchange of information across several cities and promote specific improvements in those cities.
Foundation for the Training and Protection of Mentally Handicapped Children (Turkey) ‘An estimated 12 percent of the people of Turkey are disabled.  Since there is no exact data for the disabled population, health and public services for the disabled population have been neglected. This grant will help build a database of Turkey's people with disabilities, interconnect the database with government institutions and NGOs, and develop web services and a web portal for people with disabilities.
Indian Institute of Technology, Khraragpur (India) -- Urban flooding is a severe, annual problem in India where heavy monsoon rainfall damages property, disrupts transport, even causing loss of life directly or indirectly. This grant will help fund a Sensor Web for Smarter Cities (SENSIT) project which will develop a low-cost sensor based solution to assist with rainfall monitoring and flood forecasting, providing flood warnings to citizens and local authorities.
Irish Cancer Society (Ireland) - Since its founding in 1963, the Irish Cancer Society has provided support and services to help ease the stress associated with managing cancer treatment.  This grant will help develop a smart cloud-based system to support the expansion of the Society's "Care to Drive" program, which provides free patient transportation to and from cancer treatment appointments, including scheduling, route planning and mapping, volunteer reimbursement and data management.
National Association of Community Health Centers (United States) ‘ This grant will help more than 20 million patients through the creation of a dashboard and knowledge management system.  The software will connect 8,000 health centers to share ideas, exchange best practices, and move toward establishing a "medical home" for every patient.  
Singapore Green Building Council  (Singapore)  - In conjunction with the Singapore Green Building Council and Ministry of Education, this grant will help advance energy efficiency by raising awareness in Singapore schools.  The Singapore Green Building Council's Project Green Insights will use the grant to develop a system to track power usage and reduce energy and maintenance costs, promoting Smarter Buildings across 20 schools in Singapore. 
United Way Ottawa - Ottawa Neighborhood Study (Canada) ‘ This grant will expand a database that will help the Ottawa Neighborhood Study better understand where people live, work and play together to help shape the health and well being of individuals, families and communities. The data will be analyzed and shared with local leaders to stimulate change in the community. The partners in the Ottawa Neighborhood Study are United Way Ottawa, the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health, the University of Ottawa, the Champlain Local Health Integration Network, and the Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa.
The Vermont State College system (United States) ‘ In 2009, Vermont launched an initiative to become the first "Smart Grid" state and boost energy efficiency and reliability while creating jobs. For the past ten years, the IBM Vermont manufacturing facility's Smart Energy Management Program has used its own smart grid to reduce energy use 20 percent while increasing manufacturing capability. IBM will partner with the Vermont State College system through the "Managing Energy ‘ Sustaining Our Community" initiative to help two statewide non profits ‘Vermont Technical College and HowardCenter, Inc. ‘ reduce their energy use by at least 5 percent annually, creating a model that can then be applied throughout Vermont's non profit sector.
Wiener Tafel (Austria) - Austria has nearly 1 million people on the edge of poverty and hunger, yet countless tons of surplus food are thrown away every day. This grant will help deliver healthy food for people in need through the creation of a smarter logistics solution to assist in the distribution of surplus food from supermarkets to those in need. The solution aims to also help with the reduction of CO2 emissions and protect the environment. Wiener Tafel and IBM will develop a Smarter Logistics concept aiming to increase food donations from Vienna supermarkets by 20 percent.  

Throughout 2011, IBM is awarding a total of $12 million in grants worldwide to that support employees' volunteer activities to build a smarter planet.  The new technology and cash grants expand IBM's commitment to communities worldwide by 140 percent over the previous year.  IBM's total worldwide giving program in 2010 was $189.2 million.   
To help commemorate IBM's Centennial and build on IBM's long tradition of community service, IBMers around the world are volunteering their time and talent in unprecedented amounts throughout 2011 in support of smarter planet initiatives.  These efforts make up a global 'Celebration of Service' (http://www.ibm.com/ibm100/service) in which hundreds of thousands of IBMers and retirees get out into their communities and apply their best expertise to the most pressing civic challenges facing society.    
About HowardCenter:  HowardCenter is a non-profit organization that provides services to children with serious emotional and behavioral challenges, adults who need mental health and substance abuse treatment, and children and adults with developmental disabilities. Last year, HowardCenter served over 15,000 individuals and families at more than 50 agency sites throughout Chittenden County and beyond. 
About IBM:  For more information about IBM’s Centennial, please visit http://www.ibm100.com
About the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center: The Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center’s (VMEC) mission is to improve manufacturing in Vermont and strengthen the global competitiveness of the state’s smaller manufacturers. This is done through consulting, coaching, hands-on implementation assistance and training. 
About Vermont Technical College:  Vermont Technical College is the only public institution of higher learning in Vermont whose mission is applied education. One of the five Vermont State Colleges, Vermont Tech serves students from throughout Vermont, New England and beyond at its two primary campuses in Williston and Randolph Center, and at eleven nursing campuses located throughout the state. Our academic programs encompass a wide range of engineering, agricultural, health, and business fields that are vital to understanding and applying the cross-disciplinary solutions required to achieve energy independence and sustainability. For more information about Vermont Technical College, visit: www.vtc.edu
Source: ARMONK, N.Y., July 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --