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Penn’s campus is about to witness a major smackdown — through energy conservation and sustainability.

University City District announced Monday that it is partnering with Penn for the 40th Street Sustainability Smackdown, a competition for teams of students to submit ecologically sustainable designs for retailers in University City.

While Penn has adopted many earth-friendly projects in the past few years, the competition is the first of its kind at Penn.

According to its website, the Sustainability Smackdown is an effort to aid Philadelphia in reaching its goal of “reducing citywide building energy consumption by 10 percent and minimizing stormwater runoff.” The city’s commercial buildings, which include restaurants, are among the greatest energy consumers.

The winning designers will receive $4,000, and Facilities and Real Estate Services will implement the project in one or more businesses on 40th Street, close to Walnut Street.

The contest is open to teams of seniors and graduate students in the School of Design and School of Engineering and Applied Science. Teams, which consist of two to four members, must include at least one individual from each school. All teams will have faculty advisors from both Penn Design and the Engineering School .

The first place team’s design will be implemented using $100,000 in funding — including $50,000 from a Penn Green Fund grant to UCD and the remainder from FRES.

Joe McNulty, commercial corridor manager for UCD, said the Sustainability Smackdown’s winning project will likely be executed in summer 2011. He said a major incentive for students is the “chance to see [their] design implemented” in the near future.

After submitting an application for the project by Oct. 18, teams will receive a building assignment for which they must create a plan for a sustainable project. On Nov. 19, a panel of Penn and UCD administrators, energy experts and FRES employees will select the winning design.

Projects will address a variety of sustainability issues, including efficiency, renewability, water conservation, pollution prevention and energy savings.

McNulty said the project is based on a Massachusetts pilot program which pitted the communities of Medford, Cambridge and Arlington against one another, measuring their overall energy and sustainability efforts during a year-long effort to reduce carbon output.

McNulty said that while only one plan will win, FRES will keep other designs on file for possible use in the future.

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