UAZ Students Help Local Businesses to Reduce Energy and Water Consumption


I thought this was a great program to get students involved with renewable energy and also help local businesses with energy and water costs. 


Here are the details on what the team did -- there is contact information at the end if you want information on starting a similar program.


Thanks to Kelly and the SIFE team for providing this!!



Students from The University of Arizona Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team have collaborated with Sam’s Club to positively impact the environmental sustainability of two small businesses in Tucson, through a project known as the Sam’s Club Sustainability Challenge. The SIFE students were awarded with a grant from Sam’s Club to make key changes within these small businesses to lower their consumption of natural resources, and promote “green” practices. Minor, yet effective changes were made were made to the first business, a convenience store & gas station located on the outskirts of Tucson. The students installed 2 motion-sensor lights in both the Men’s and Women’s restrooms, in which the lights are triggered only when a person has entered the room. Prior to this, the lights remained “on” constantly. Also installed were 2 low-flow, dual-flush toilets, significantly decreasing water usage by up to 2/3 when compared to the previously installed toilets within the business’s restrooms.

The second business is a Mexican Restaurant located in South Tucson. The SIFE students entered the restaurant during early business hours, and successfully changed over 80 light bulbs, replacing them with high-efficiency bulbs. This simple change in the lighting fixtures will make a significant impact in lowering the monthly utility bills of the restaurant. Although extremely successful in the end, the students did face difficulties throughout the project’s development. Although challenging, these difficulties provided them with valuable life lessons, such as what to expect while working in groups, and staying focused during “tough” times.

Students in Free Enterprise is a Global, non-profit organization in which University students execute a number of community outreach projects. These projects are targeted at creating economic opportunity for others through the positive power of business. The Sam’s Club Sustainability Challenge is an annual event, and is open to SIFE teams across the United States, with over 100 teams nationwide participating on an annual basis. This project was 1 of 20 that the University of Arizona SIFE team executed this year. More in-depth project descriptions and contact information for UA SIFE can be found at



If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback regarding this project, please contact:

Danielle Nicolai

The University of Arizona Students In Free Enterprise






Gary February 26, 2010