Gayatri Sundar Rajan (ENG’22)

Campus Climate Lab Researcher, Anthony Janetos Climate Action Prize Recipient | Specialties: Energy, Building Heating Electrification | Major: Mechanical Engineering

Engineering Student Passionate About Energy


I’m from the Greater Boston Area. I’ve been a member of the Boston University Rocket Propulsion Group, a graphic designer for the UROP Office, and a student researcher at the Campus Climate Lab as well as at the Initiative on Forced Displacement. I love to cook (and eat good food!), read, play Carnatic violin, run, and meet new people.

BU Highlights

Thanks to generous funding from the Campus Climate Lab, I worked with Keeley Bombard (Earth & Environment, CAS'22) and Michael Gevelber (Mechanical Engineering, ENG) on developing heating electrification strategies to decarbonize Boston University’s Charles River Campus.

  • Since 40% of BU’s carbon emissions come from heating its buildings, our project aimed to determine the best way to transition Boston University’s buildings from fossil-fuel heating systems to electric heating systems in order to significantly reduce Boston University’s overall carbon emissions.
  • Day-to-day, I evaluated different electrification scenarios (combining heat pumps, electric boilers, etc.) to understand their impact on our current electrical demand, whether and how they can be integrated into our existing buildings, and their cost of implementation and operation. This ensures that our proposed strategies are both technically and economically feasible.

In addition, with support from a Sustainability Innovation Seed Grant, I have worked on Serene Stream Energy, which aims to harness latent energy in slow-moving bodies of water to produce renewable electricity from a constant source, finally making renewable energy a feasible alternative to fossil fuels.

Through my Campus Climate Lab work, I’ve been fortunate to learn from the beautiful interconnections between engineering decisions (electrical and mechanical), economics (how a project will be funded and maintained), and political landscapes (what regulations and policies limit or encourage our work). Although I am often comfortable in my engineering silo, my heating electrification work and team continuously challenged me to see and appreciate how each of these seemingly disparate perspectives play a key role in achieving sustainable change.


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