The $1,000 Climate Change Scholarship

melting glacier

Update: Aug 15, 2017: Lucas Stout, a senior at Montana Tech has won the 2017 Climate Change Scholarship. Congratulations Lucas!

The US Department of Energy estimates that heating and cooling accounts for more than half of the average residential utility bill. This means that advances in the ways that we heat and cool our homes can have an outsized impact on both our fossil fuel consumption and on global warming.

FurnaceCompare's Climate Change Scholarship is designed to support undergraduate students that are looking for ways to fight climate change by improving the systems and/or equipment that we rely on to keep our homes and businesses comfortable.

However, while it may be obvious that heating and cooling deserves our attention, it isn't necessarily obvious how to achieve the greatest improvement in efficiency in the shortest amount of time:

  • Should we ensure that the best central air conditioners and the best furnaces are engineered to be simpler and less expensive to install and maintain?
  • Should we collect more data and write better software so that we can more efficiently manage our existing heating and cooling equipment?
  • Should we pursue new business models that reduce the up-front cost for homeowners and businesses to upgrade to more efficient equipment?
  • Should we lobby for tax incentives that encourage homeowners to buy the highest-effiency equipment available?

This list comes from a diverse set of disciplines, yet it only scratches the surface of the approaches we might take. Mechanical engineering, computer science, business administration and political science all offer useful perspectives.

This scholarship is intended to encourage students to propose an innovative and interdisciplenary approach to rapidly reduce our use of fossil fuels by targeting our heating and cooling systems and technologies.

Application Process/Checklist

Write a 500 word essay that answers the following question:

How can we most rapidly reduce the impact of global climate change through improvements in the systems and/or equipment that we use to heat and cool our homes and businesses? Explain how your current or prospective course of study influences your answer.

  • Application Deadline: July 31st, 2017
  • Submit your essay as a pdf document by the application deadline to [email protected]
  • Use subject line: Scholarship Submission
  • Attach a copy of your CV (or resume) and a copy of your transcript

Scholarship Requirements

  • Applicant must be enrolled (or accepted to become enrolled) in a two- or four-year undergraduate degree program at an accredited U.S. college or university for the 2017 / 2018 academic year.
  • Applicant must have a minimum 3.0 GPA during their college career (or during their high school career if they are applying for their first year of college).

Selection Criteria

The $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to the applicant who offers the most credible and innovative solution to the problem described in the application question.

The winner will be announced on and contacted by August 15th, 2017.

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