CUE THE CUBOID. Physics major Aiman Absar ’19 is on a quest to help Bangladesh cope with devastating floods with a cheaper, more sustainable brick.
A Reed physics major hopes to curb the devastation caused by floods in Bangladesh with a new twist on one of humanity’s most durable inventions—the humble brick.
Aiman Absar ’19 and two Bangladeshi friends have created a startup to manufacture a new kind of brick that is both cheap and environmentally sustainable.
With a population of 156 million people packed into an area the size of Iowa, Bangladesh has the highest population density in the world. During the monsoon season, heavy rain combined with poor drainage cause the rivers to flood their banks, inundating the countryside and destroying the makeshift houses of the impoverished rural population. When the waters subside, the farmers and fishermen begin the Sisyphean task of fashioning another abode from sheets of corrugated steel, mud, and thatch.
In a move that will significantly reduce its environmental impact, Reed has signed a three-year, $5.4 million contract with Ameresco Quantum to identify and implement changes that will minimize energy use, maximize equipment life and maintain building livability.
After evaluating more than 960,000 square feet of campus buildings, AQ outlined a program of energy renewal and replacement that will yield a 12% reduction in electrical energy use, a 13% reduction in gas use and a 28% reduction in water and sewer costs. The changes are estimated to cut operational utility costs by at least $2.7 million over the next 10 years and reduce annual CO2 emissions by 2.65 million pounds.