Izzy Branco-Lo '18 Helps Garnet Athletics Go Green

Izzy Branco-Lo '18 installing solar panels

The solar panels are designed to offset the energy used by the scoreboards in the stadium and the baseball field.

As a four-year member of the varsity women's soccer team, Izzy Branco-Lo '18 knows how much energy goes into sports. From the flood lights that illuminate the field during late-night practices to the buses required for hundreds of road contests, athletic operations can generate a significant carbon footprint.

That's why for her senior engineering project, Branco-Lo, an engineering major from New York, N.Y. and President's Sustainability Research Fellow, developed and implemented a solar panel system for the outdoor scoreboard at Clothier Field Stadium. The system is tied to the utility grid and designed to offset the energy used by the scoreboards in the stadium and the baseball field, as well as LED office light fixtures. She estimates that the panels will produce about 1,100 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy each year, or roughly 46-days' worth.

Branco-Lo was mentored by Marian Ware Director of Athletics Adam Hertz and men's soccer coach Eric Wagner and financing came from the Green Initiatives Fund as part of the College's goal of carbon neutrality by 2035. The installation is part of continuing sustainability efforts by the Department of Athletics, which also cut its electricity consumption in half by switching from halide bulbs to energy-efficient LED lights in the fall.

"About 40 percent of the student body is related to athletics in some way, whether in varsity, club, or intramural sports, and the impact athletics has is huge," says Branco-Lo. "A simple statement about renewable energy can affect all the student-athletes at the College, as well as faculty, staff, fans, visiting teams, officials, parents, and alumni."

Learn about Swarthmore’s impact on the local and global community at lifechanging.swarthmore.edu.