Skip to the content of the web site.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

  • Award winner seeks water bill overhaul
  • CFA Institute competition win for Waterloo
  • Thursday's notes
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Award-winning poster.
Award winner seeks water bill overhaul

by Karen Kawawada, communications officer, Faculty of Environment

Utility bills could someday get an informative makeover thanks to the enterprising student who won the Jack Rosen Memorial Award for Environment Innovation.

Max Humber, a first-year environment and business student, triumphed at the awards judging with his proposal, entitled “Graphing Water.”

“Anyone that owns a house essentially gets a utility bill … but it doesn’t really tell the consumer very much,” said Humber, who got the idea for his proposal during a long shower followed by a glance at his parents’ water bill, which he found confusing.

Humber would like to see three new components prominently added to water bills. One would graph a consumer’s water usage compared to the average neighbour and to an efficient neighbour.

“It acts as motivation for people doing worse than average; they kind of have to clean up their act a little bit,’” he says. “It also acts as encouragement for people who are doing well. If you’re doing well and you see that you’re doing well, you’ll be, like, ‘Yes! I’m awesome!’”

Another element would be a box putting water use into perspective – comparing total water use to how many swimming pools it would fill up, or how many “shower hours” it works out to.

A third element would add a way for utility companies to make money even as they encourage conservation. Humber’s idea is to institute advertising based on how much water could be saved if consumers used a specific sponsored product – for instance, a Kenmore high-efficiency dishwasher or a particular low-flow shower head.

“Everyone has to look at their water bill, so you have a captive audience,” Humber reasons.

Humber won $1,000, as well as a free consultation with Brett Shellhammer, executive-in-residence at VeloCity, to help him implement his idea.

Three honourable mentions were awarded as well, each worth $500. They were:

  • Alice Bao and Zachary Folger-Laronde, both third-year environment and business students, for Wecrow, an idea for a smartphone app that would help both individuals and organizations minimize their environmental footprints.
  • Jennifer Harvey, a fourth-year environment and business student, for EcoLogix, a software tool to help small and medium-sized businesses save energy. She worked on the project with engineering students Jim Lin and Jeff Sullivan, though as the only environment student, only Harvey was eligible for the contest.
  • Peter Last, a fourth-year knowledge integration student, for ARC: the Apartment-Ready Composter – an inexpensive, low-odour system that would produce compost on a small scale for indoor plants.

Jack Rosen was a recycling pioneer who helped the City of Kitchener get the world’s first blue box program off the ground. The annual award is sponsored by his widow, Honey Rosen, who acted as one of the judges, along with Waterloo alumnus Eric Hellman, another co-founder of the blue box program, Shellhammer, and professors Goretty Dias and John Lewis.

Back to top

CFA Institute competition win for Waterloo

A media release from the School of Accounting and Finance

The Toronto CFA Society is pleased to announce that University of Waterloo has won the local level of the CFA Institute Research Challenge, a global competition that tests the analytic, valuation, report writing and presentation skills of university students.The team now advances to the Americas Regional Final, to be held in New York City on April 10, where they will compete against teams from the U.S., Canada and Latin America. The Americas Regional winner will advance to the global final in New York City on April 11.

The winning team —Mike Y. Liu, Daniel Pacione, Meng Wang, Michael C. Liu, Ian Gutwinski, and faculty advisor Craig Geoffrey, CFA, Professor of finance and business at University of Waterloo— was determined based on the best combined score for the written equities research report graded in January and their presentation before a panel of judges in Toronto. The team’s industry mentor is Cosmos Chiu, CFA.

Peter S. Jarvis, CFA, executive director of Toronto CFA Society, said, “Toronto CFA Society is proud to host the next generation of analysts as they hone their analytical and presentation skills in this competition. It’s hard not to come away from it energized and enthusiastic for the future.”

Team member Ian Gutwinski said on behalf of Waterloo’s winning team: “Through interaction with faculty, our CFA mentor and the competition judges, we received valuable feedback that will enhance our abilities as finance professionals. We are looking forward to the next round in New York.”

The University of Waterloo competed against teams from: Schulich School of Business, York University; University of Toronto, Scarborough; and Wilfrid Laurier University. All teams reported on this year’s subject company, Onex Corporation, at BMO Client Centre, Toronto, ON. Wilfrid Laurier University earned an honourable mention as first runner up in this challenge.

More information about the CFA Institute Research Challenge is available online.

Back to top

Thursday's notes

Guy Newsham.The Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE) presents Dr. Guy Newsham (right), principal research officer at the National Research Council Canada, who will be delivering a talk entitled "Demand Responsive Buildings: Reducing on-peak electricity use in offices and houses." The lecture takes place at 4:00 p.m. today in the Davis Centre's room 1302. The event is free and open to the public.

Today is Women in Engineering Day, and Waterloo’s Women in Engineering group is holding a number of activities for students, staff and faculty members, including a keynote address by by Jennifer Smith, vice president of Christie Digital, at 12:30 p.m. in E2-1303.

Here's the latest Nutrition Month "myth vs. truth" tip from Health Services dietician Sandra Ace:

"Myth": Drinking energy drinks is the best way to get energized.
"Truth": Energy drinks are an expensive way to load up on a lot of sugar (up to 14 teaspoons per can) and caffeine. The safety, dosages and effectiveness of other ingredients like taurine, glucoronolactone, and Gingko biloba is unclear, especially when taken all at once or in combination with caffeine or certain medications. If you choose to use energy drinks, there are some things you should know. They are not recommended for children or pregnant or breastfeeding women. They should not be consumed on an empty stomach or mixed with alcohol. Energy drinks should not be confused with sports drinks and should never be used to rehydrate during sports activities. The best way to get energized is to eat well, be active, stay hydrated and get enough sleep.

Back to top

Link of the day

Constitution acts receive royal assent (1867, 1982)

When and where

Engineering Shadow Days, Monday, March 19 to Friday, March 30.

Lunch 'N Learn event, "Mortgages Made Easy" featuring Sharon Feldmann and Paul O'Reilly, Thursday, March 29, 12:05 p.m., Davis Centre 1302. Please RSVP to Janine Warry, 519-722-3050 ext. 2423 or janinew@ Presented by the Education Credit Union.

Surplus sale of furniture and equipment, Thursday, March 29, 12:30 to 2:00, East Campus Hall.

Women in Engineering Day keynote address by Jennifer Smith, vice president of Christie Digital, "Stories from my iron ring: talks!", Thursday, March 29, 12:30 p.m., E2-1303.

Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy presents Dr. Guy Newsham, National Research Council of Canada, "Demand Responsive Buildings: Reducing on-peak electricity use in offices and houses", Thursday, March 2329, 4:00 p.m., DC 1302. Note the corrected date.

Orchestra@uwaterloo end of term concert, "Nuages" featuring Andrew Song (violin), Thursday, March 29, 8:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre. Tickets are free and can be reserved at the theatre box office.

Third annual SMF Symposium, Friday, March 30. Details.

Institute for Computer Research (ICR) presents Prof. Bobak Nazer, Boston University, "Harnessing Interference", Friday, March 30, 11:00 a.m., DC 1302.

Knowledge Integration Senior Research Conference, Friday, March 30, 4:00 p.m., Minto Atrium, Environment 3. Details.

School of Accounting and Finance Equity Research Challenge, Friday, March 30, 4:30 p.m., HH 1102. Details.

"Unveiled," a play by Rohina Malik, Friday, March 30, 7:00 p.m., Conrad Grebel Great Hall. Free admission, tickets available online. For more information, contact Idrisa Pandit at sievents@

UW Chamber Choir, "Love of My Soul," Friday, March 30, 8:00 p.m., Knox Presbyterian Church.

Alyson Woloshyn fundraiser cocktail party and silent auction, Saturday, March 31. Details.

University Choir, "Canticum Orationem", Saturday, March 31, 8:00 p.m., Benton Street Baptist Church, 90 Benton St., Kitchener. $10 general admission, $5 students/seniors.

Lectures end April 2.

Staff conference April 3-4, Humanities Theatre and other rooms in Hagey Hall, details online.

Board of governors Tuesday, April 3, 2:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Waterloo Research Institute in Insurance, Securities and Quantitative Finance (WatRISQ) presents Christiane Lemieux, associate professor, Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, “An Adaptive Premium Policy with a Bayesian Motivation in the Classical Risk Model,” Tuesday, April 3, 4:00 p.m., DC 1304.

The Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience presents the 6th annual Waterloo Brain Day, Wednesday, April 4, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., PAS 2083. Details.

Designing the Future, Faculty of Engineering reception, Wednesday, April 4, 6:00 p.m., Student Design Centre, Engineering 5. Details.

English Language Proficiency Exam in the Physical Activities Complex, Thursday, April 5.

Good Friday holiday April 6, university closed.

Drop, Penalty 2 Period ends Friday, April 6.

On-campus examinations begin Monday April 9.

Centre for Career Action workshop, "I'd do what I love...but what is it?" Friday, April 13, 9:30 a.m., TC 1112. Details.

Online Class examination days Friday, April 13, and Saturday, April 14.

Waterloo Lecture: the Representation of Apes in Medieval Art, Wednesday, April 18, 7:00 p.m., Stratford Public Library.

Surplus sale of furniture and equipment, Thursday, April 19, 12:30 to 2:00, East Campus Hall.

University senate Monday, April 16, 3:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

Official launch of the School of Public Health and Health Systems in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Thursday, April 19, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland.

Spring 2012 promissory notes and payments due April 24.

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin