2019 – Present
Our mission is to merge student passion for environmentalism with their interest in data science in order to cultivate a new perspective as they embark to tackle issues of sustainability in their professional or personal lives. Along the way, we will produce results that have a tangible effect on UChicago and the community at large.
Environmental Frontiers Data Transparency
We are collaborating with the Environmental Frontiers Project from the Mansueto Institute of Innovation in order to improve the University’s data transparency by producing a centralized energy dashboard that compiles sustainability data.
Before setting out to create an energy dashboard for UChicago, we produced a rubric to evaluate 23 other higher education institutions' dashboards based on accessibility, design, and other variables. Our next step is to produce a survey for the University community to gather their thoughts on UChicago's current sustainability data.
We are analyzing 10 years of Divvy usage data within Hyde Park to highlight the potential areas for improvement and explore possible implementation of a more comprehensive Divvy program at UChicago.
We cleaned public-use data on Divvy bike rides from 2013-2022 (including an over 120,000-observation subset of rides near Hyde Park in 2021), weather data, and rideshare data. We also researched Divvy bike pricing and subsidy programs at 10 Chicago colleges.
With our cleaned data, we produced several analyses of Divvy ridership in Hyde Park in 2021, including ride volume across months, times of day, and weather conditions by both membership and bike type. Our next step is to produce a report to present this data to Facilities.
Divvy Bike Data Analysis
Partnership with Urban Rivers
We established a partnership with Urban Rivers, a Chicago-based nonprofit working to build the Wild Mile (a conversion of unused industrial canals into ecological sanctuaries). Our ongoing project will create data visualizations for scientific and public audiences and provide data organization recommendations
As a preliminary kickoff to our partnership with Urban Rivers, we visited the Wild Mile in-person and met with the Urban Rivers Director of Research. This provided the perfect opportunity to learn more about the Urban Rivers’ impact and work.
Afterwards, we received four data sets, ranging from fish counts to qualitative bird watching logs, that span a timeline of five years. We are currently preparing to conduct preliminary analyses of these data sets and will continue to produce deliverables during Spring Quarter.
Dining Hall Survey
We partnered with Campus Waste Reduction to administer a survey to on-campus students about food waste and utilization of single use takeout containers in the dining halls due to the pandemic-related changes in dining procedures. This data and analysis contributes to Campus Waste Reduction's efforts to make UChicago Dining more sustainable.
When carrying out food from UChicago Dining Halls, students are provided with non-biodegradable containers, plastic bags, and plastic utensil sets. Our survey and analysis found that most students use multiple disposable material types multiple times a day.
Estimates of food waste at each dining hall, based on the assumptions of 500 people eating at each dining hall every day, and that a box contains roughly 1.33 pounds of food. Error bars depict the range of values resulting from varying the assumed number of people at each dining hall from 400 to 600. Total estimated food waste on campus per day is upwards of 2000 pounds.
Solar Energy Guidance on Campus
Green Data, in aims to provide data-supported guidance to University leaders, produced a comprehensive list of potential energy production and cost savings due to solar installations on the University buildings we determined to be the most suitable for generating solar energy.
We compiled our calculations into a formal report which we hope will inform the College’s renewable energy efforts as they work towards meeting their emissions reduction goals. Our next step is to present our findings to the Office of Sustainability and other University leaders to encourage expanding the University’s use of solar energy on campus.
Chicago Water Quality
Through research, we identified the chemicals that we expect to find in Chicago drinking water and isolated lead (Pb) and hexavalent chromium (Cr-6). We then decided to take water samples from select North, South, West, and Central neighborhoods after researching demographics about these neighborhoods, including trends in average household income, average age, race distribution, land use, and history of water contamination.
Pollution and Covid-19
We created trend pollution maps graphs of 3 cities before and during the onset of Covid-19. In addition we analyzed the relationship between air pollution and Covid-19 death rates in Chicago’s 77 community areas. We created choropleth maps depicting both of these variables and performed calculations to determine potential correlations between air pollution and Covid-19 death rates throughout the city.
Presenting Our Data
In December 2021, we gave a 20-minute presentation to all of PSI to showcase the skills we’ve learned in R and to provide relevant insight into UChicago’s progress towards their emissions reduction goals. We also presented our work to UChicago President Alivisatos at the inaugural Sustainability Town Hall.
Green Data presents "Energy Usage at UChicago" at PSI's general meeting. These presentations contribute to PSI's "Member Talks" series.
PSI members stand in front of Green Data's poster (left) at the Sustainability Town Hall.