Iowa State University Student Chapter took home first place in this year's Green Energy Challenge, making this the team's sixth consecutive Challenge win. Other finalist teams in the competition included Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and University of Toronto.
For the twelfth annual Green Energy Challenge, sponsored by ELECTRI International and NECA, NECA Student Chapters were tasked with creating a unique, energy-efficiency update for a facility that helps others in their community. The task required students to create a plan and budget while developing their technical and professional skills and their knowledge of construction equipment.
Students were also expected to develop a relationship with those who benefit from the services and create a plan to volunteer and serve at their chosen organization. The students also memorialized their experience with a 3-minute video.
Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Iowa State University and the University of Toronto were chosen out of 14 submissions. To select a winner, the finalists gave 15-minute, oral presentations describing their projects at the 2019 NECA Convention and Trade Show while a group of contractors evaluated their proposals and projects.
Iowa State University created a $187,622 upgrade plan for Heartland Senior Services (HSS) in Ames, Iowa, which suggested three potential upgrades for the facility: LED replacements for 148 of the facilities existing 158 light fixtures, new occupancy sensors and dimming switches and the installation of a roof-mounted photovoltaic (PV) system. In addition to their presentation, team members fielded questions about the project's finances and design elements specific to senior citizens.
The team presented their energy efficiency plans with senior citizens at HSS in a series of Lunch and Learns, including a Green Energy trivia game, a presentation on LEDS and LED rebates and a light bulb raffle. They also helped make several building improvements to the facility, including the construction of shelves, removing room partitions and destroying a shed.
Of the process, team member Carissa Moyna said, "It was such a learning experience and so valuable for learning all the technical aspects of a project."
The IIT Student Chapter proposed a $5 million update at Provident Hospital of Cook County, Chicago, Ill., to lower the facility’s overall energy consumption by 44%, reduce the lighting load by over 60% and install a solar PV system.
The University of Toronto Student Chapter created a plan for Armour Heights Presbyterian Church, Toronto, Canada, to achieve net-zero through a series of retrofits, including a wall insulation retrofit, smart lighting and LED replacements while a rooftop PV system would generate 72,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.
The focus of this project was to encourage students to think in different and innovative ways about methods to decrease energy consumption.
“This challenge fosters creativity that could lead to something that lasts,” said Joey Shorter, executive director of ELECTRI International. “These students’ thoughts could possibly change the industry.”
The Iowa State team received $4,000 for first place. Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Toronto each received $3,000. Kayla Youngblood from Iowa State University was selected as the Best Presenter and received $500 for this distinction.
The submitted videos were played at the Green Energy Challenge competition at the NECA Show and were scored by contractors in attendance. Videos by Wayne State University, Illinois Institute of Technology and Iowa State University took the top three places and received $1,000, $750 and $500.