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Energy Department Announces Winners of Student Competition to Drive Innovative Efficiency Solutions

March 19, 2014 - 2:03pm

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WASHINGTON – The Energy Department has announced the winners of the third annual Better Buildings Case Competition, which challenges collegiate teams to present unique and innovative solutions for reducing energy waste and improving the efficiency of our nation’s homes and commercial buildings to industry leaders. The winning student teams included Harvard University, Carnegie Mellon University, Yale University, Stanford University, University of California - Santa Barbara, University of California – San Diego, University of California – Berkeley, Columbia University, and MIT. Winning solutions will be shared more broadly with public and private sector organizations through the Better Buildings webinar series and the Better Buildings Summit.

The annual competition supports the broader Better Buildings Initiative goal to reduce energy consumption in commercial, multifamily, public, and industrial buildings across the U.S. by at least 20 percent in the next ten years and encourages college students to come up with new, innovative ways that American families and businesses can save energy and money. To date, university teams have present over 100 energy efficiency solutions to more than 60 businesses, organizations, agencies and governments.

“Drawing together skills and experience in engineering, real estate, finance and urban planning, this competition provides the next generation of entrepreneurs and policymakers with an opportunity to tackle real-world problems,” said Dr. Dave Danielson, Energy Department Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “It’s inspiring to see students devise innovative solutions to building efficiency challenges that can be replicated by families, businesses and organizations across the country.”

This year, more than 150 of the nation’s brightest students presented technical and financial solutions to six real-world cases formulated by a team of Energy Department experts and industry leaders. The following university teams won their respective competitions:

Welcome Home to Savings: Distributed Generation in Multifamily Housing Case Study: Students developed a replicable strategy to expand energy efficiency and distributed generation at federally assisted housing complexes.

Best Proposal – Team Millennial Makers from Stanford University

Most Innovative – Team Xenergy from University of California, Santa Barbara

Picking up PACE: Taking Commercial PACE Financing to Scale Case Study: Students developed a program structure and a business plan that states can use to effectively implement PACE financing and scale up energy efficiency.

Best Proposal – Team Everpower from Carnegie Mellon University

Most Innovative – Team Green Dinosaurs from University of California, San Diego

Electri-City: Energy Management in Public Buildings Case Study: Students developed a scalable, sustainable, and replicable energy data acquisition and management strategy for publicly owned buildings.

Best Proposal – Team 2030 from Yale University 

Most Innovative – Team First Fuel from MIT

Experimenting with Efficiency: Greening the Grant Process for Research Institutions Case Study: Students developed a business case and implementation strategy for universities to promote energy efficiency projects on their campuses funded by external grants.

Best Proposal – Team First Fuel from MIT

Most Innovative – Team Golden Energtech from University of California, Berkeley and Xenergy from University of California, Santa Barbara

Here Comes the Sun: Satisfying RPS with Solar Case Study: Students developed a cost effective solar incentive program strategy for utility companies charged with meeting Renewable Portfolio Standards.

Best Proposal – Team 2030 from Yale University

Most Innovative – Team Delta Eta from Columbia University

A Side of Savings: Energy Efficiency in the Restaurant Franchise Model Case Study: Students were challenged to develop a strategy for restaurant franchises to deploy energy efficiency solutions, including consideration of the complicated ownership, investment, and management.

Best Proposal – Everpower from Carnegie Mellon University

Most Innovative – Crown Joules from Harvard University

For more, visit the Better Buildings Case Competition website

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