Oct 04

Iowa State University Announced as Winner of Green Energy Challenge

Congratulations Iowa State University!


Iowa State University was named the winner of the Green Energy Challenge at the Opening General Session of NECA 2015 San Francisco on Sunday.

The team from Iowa State beat out two other finalists, Penn State University and the Illinois Institute of Technology, for the top spot.

The three teams made their final presentations and fielded questions form a jury of electrical professionals on Saturday. The jury then deliberated and made their final decision.

The project from Iowa State was upgrading an administrative services building on campus. Project results included increasing the building resiliency of the facility, incorporating green energy generation and implementing a complete lighting retrofit with an attractive payback period.

Team members include Lucas Baxter, Caleb Bonderer, Dylan Busby, Joe Hahn, Maggie Holt, Joe Kern, Bryan Marroquin, Regan Smiley, Rick Smith and Britta Sortland. The group’s faculty advisors are Jenny Baker and Beth Hartmann.

There was also a poster board contest component of the challenge. Seven poster boards were displayed at Moscone Center South to be judged.

Purdue University’s poster board was name the winner Sunday. Purdue’s team of students took on an energy retrofit project at Lambert Fieldhouse.

The project proposal involves adding a 150 KW Photovoltaic system to the roof of the athletic facility and upgrading the LED fixtures throughout the building. Along with the upgraded technology, daylight harvesting will be used to light the main part of the fieldhouse.

Team members include Joe Seacat, Alec Bucks, Riley Seahorn, Collin Seren, Taran Murphy, Wesley Gunning, Nick Myers, Taylor Samsil and Evan Solgere. The group’s faculty advisors are Brian Loss and Scott Santon.

Oct 03

Green Energy Challenge Teams Present to Panel of Industry Experts

Three NECA Student Chapters made their case at the 2015 Green Energy Challenge on Saturday as NECA 2015 San Francisco opened at Moscone Center South.

Teams from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Penn State University and Iowa State University made presentations on projects focused on energy efficiency and savings to buildings on their respective campuses. Each team developed a back-up power system and resiliency plan for an existing facility that had demonstrated critical power needs.


The jury for this year’s Challenge included the following electrical contractors and industry partners:

  • Gerard Darville, Lutron Electronics
  • Angela Hart, Rosendin Electric
  • Kristian Reyes, Graybar
  • Brad Weir, Kelso-Burnet Co.
  • Sonja Rheaume, Christenson Electric
  • Eduardo Mariscal-Hay, PhD, Consultant
  • Adam Rude, ERMCO, Inc.

After each of their presentations, which lasted about 15 minutes, the Student Chapters fielded questions from the jury. They jury held deliberations directly after the presentations, and a winner will be announced at the Opening General Session on Sunday.

Poster presentations were also displayed at the Challenge. They came from two of today’s finalists, Iowa State and the Illinois Institute of Technology, as well as Kennesaw State University, Oregon State University, the University of Washington and the University of Toronto.

Oct 02

ELECTRI Events at NECA 2014 Chicago

ELECTRI International – The Foundation for Electrical Construction hosted several events during the annual NECA Convention in Chicago on September 27-30, 2014:

Wendt Award

Dennis F Quebe, NECA President and Daniel J. Divane, 2013-2014 ELECTRI Council Chair; Photo by Chuck FazioAt the NECA Convention Opening General Session, ELECTRI Council Chair Dan Divane (Divane Bros. Electric, Chicago) was honored by the Foundation with its prestigious Wendt Award. This annual recognition is named in honor of Albert G. Wendt (Canon & Wendt, Phoenix, AZ) and recognizes outstanding leadership and commitment to the electrical construction industry.

ELECTRI Council Meeting

Due to the unanticipated flight delays/cancellations into Chicago, the ELECTRI Council meeting was shortened to accommodate the rescheduled Green Energy Challenge final presentations. Greg Long (Long Electric, Napa, CA) was nominated by Dan Divane as the 2015-2016 ELECTRI Council Chair. The full Council affirmed the nomination. Research reports originally scheduled for this Council meeting will be presented at the Council’s January meeting in San Diego. The CalPoly San Luis Obispo faculty advisors gave a report about their Ecuador Student Passport Competition entry. (The project had not been selected for the Passport finals.)

2014 Green Energy Challenge Finals

LtR: Doug Hague, NECA Executive Committee, with Iowa State University NECA Student Chapter Team; Photo by Chuck FazioThis year, ELECTRI challenged each NECA Student chapter team to select a student use facility, conduct an energy audit of the building’s power and lighting systems, and design and propose a retrofit for both. Competition judges evaluated 15 entries from top universities throughout the United States. The three finalist teams made their final oral presentations at the NECA Convention. ELECTRI awarded Iowa State $4,000 for the win. San Diego State placed second and received $3,000. Colorado State was third with a grant of $2,000. Iowa State team member Maggie Holt was selected as the competition’s Best Presenter and received an ELECTRI award of $500.

2014 Green Energy Challenge Poster Competition

San Diego State University NECA Student Chapter; Photo by Chuck FazioNine teams entered the Poster Competition. The top schools receiving awards for their posters included: San Diego State ($1,000); Iowa State ($750); and Illinois Institute of Technology ($350).

ELECTRI’s special thanks goes to all judges of both events for supporting ELECTRI’s Talent Initiative.

ELECTRI International Reception

LtR: Gustavo Varela (Comptel Ingenieria, Costa Rica), Russell J. Alessi (ELECTRI International), Kenneth MacDougall (Penn-Del-Jersey Chapter NECA); Photo by Chuck FazioA standing-room-only crowd enjoyed the by-invitation ELECTRI International reception at the historic Union League Club. Current Council members welcomed contractors and industry allies who are considering joining the Council.

High Priority Topics Committee (HPTC)

This newly-formed group met jointly with ELECTRI’s Kitchen Cabinet. Together, these industry leaders discussed programmatic ideas that they believe are essential to the future of electrical construction. The goal is to turn these topics into proposals and projects that ELECTRI can commission as part of its research agenda each year. The HPTC reviewed thirty topic suggestions and narrowed the list to five. The Program Review Committee will now select two initiative concepts and include them in the next Request for Proposal that goes out to investigators at leading universities.

General Session Presentation

Daniel J. Divane, 2013-2014 ELECTRI Council Chair; Photo by Chuck FazioCouncil Chair Dan Divane addressed the closing day General Session and gave a full report on ELECTRI’s growth and expansion during the past year. He highlighted new commitments to the Foundation, especially the increase in commitments made by NECA Chapters across the country.

The next ELECTRI Council Meeting will take place at Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego, from 21-23 January, 2015. To find out more, please contact Sylvia Selwood at sselwood@electri.org or 301-215-4539.

Sep 28

Exciting Finish for ELECTRI’s Green Energy Challenge 

The results are in for ELECTRI International’s 2014 Green Energy Challenge and the winner is Iowa State University.

Iowa State University NECA Student Chapter, Photo by Chuck FazioThis year, ELECTRI challenged each college team to select a student use facility, conduct an energy audit of the building’s power and lighting systems, and design and propose a retrofit for both. The teams entered in the competition included construction management and engineering students who actively participate in their university’s Student Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association.

Competition judges, including contractors and industry partners, evaluated 15 entries from top universities throughout the United States. The three finalist teams were hosted by ELECTRI International at NECA’s National Convention in Chicago where they made their final oral presentations.

Best Presenter, Maggie Holt, Iowa State University, Photo by Chuck FazioELECTRI awarded Iowa State $4,000 for the win. Iowa State proposed updating the on-campus Memorial Union by improving the multi-use facility’s lighting, adding solar technology, and sub-metering. San Diego State placed second and received $3,000.Colorado State was third with a grant of $2,000. Iowa State team member Maggie Holt was selected as the competition’s Best Presenter and received an ELECTRI award of $500.

Poster Competition Results

San Diego State NECA Student Chapter, Photo by Chuck FazioNine teams entered the Green Energy Challenge Poster Competition. The top schools receiving awards for their posters included: San Diego State ($1,000); Iowa State ($750); and Illinois Institute of Technology ($350).


For additional information about ELECTRI International and its Green Energy Challenge, contact Sylvia Selwood, ELECTRI Director of Operations and University Relations, at 301-215-4539 or sselwood@electri.org.


Sep 27

Time Change: Green Energy Challenge Competition

The ELECTRI International/NECA Green Energy Challenge student competition has been rescheduled. Join us for it’s new time at 1:30pm on Sunday, September 28 in room Skyline A.

The ELECTRI International / NECA Green Energy Challenge marks a yearly highlight for NECA Student Chapters. Teams agree that the popular Challenge is stimulating because it makes them focus on problem solving by thinking in new, creative ways.

NECA Student Chapter teams demonstrate their ability to analyze particular electrical construction management “problems” outlined for them and create a comprehensive plan and budget for an appropriate retrofit.

A jury of contractors and industry partners evaluate written proposals. The top three student teams are then invited to the NECA Convention to make oral presentations of their project. The three finalist teams selected are Colorado State University, Iowa State University and San Diego State University.  The jury evaluates both the substance and the presentation.

Electrical construction companies and industry partners looking to hire the best and brightest students in the country appreciate the opportunity to assess the finalists’ work firsthand during the NECA Convention.

ELECTRI International provides financial awards to the winning school and assists with the cost of bringing the three finalist teams to the NECA Convention.

Oct 15

University of Washington Wins Green Energy Challenge

Cheers, whoops of joy, and applause went up at the NECA Student Chapter Summit as the University of Washington student team was announced as winner of the 2013 Green Energy Challenge. Penn State followed with second place, and Iowa State rounded out the finalists in third.

This marks the second first-place win for UW teams. The school came in second place in the 2012 Green Energy Challenge and they were determined to take back the top spot this year.  UW won the first Green Energy Challenge held in their hometown of Seattle at the 2009 NECA Convention, and they have placed among the finalist every year of the competition.

“Obviously, UW is a powerhouse team,” said Russ Alessi, President of ELECTRI International, the competition’s sponsor. “They grasped the concept of the Green Energy Challenge to give students the chance to solve a real-world energy problem, and they have consistently delivered innovative solutions.”

This year’s design challenge required teams to create a comprehensive design and bid package for a parking garage “green energy” retrofit in their communities. Teams had to perform an energy audit of an existing parking facility and specify a lighting efficiency upgrade system and handle installation for new electric vehicle charging stations. Teams had to calculate ROI for update investments.

The real challenge came with integrating a renewable power source into the facility. All three teams rejected wind power due to expense and zoning restrictions. Solar panel rooftop panels were used by all three, but the UW team opted to put their panels on the roof of an adjacent campus building ideally situated to gather solar energy. The electricity generated was used to power both the garage and building. Teams also presented solar financing options for their clients to calculate into the overall ROI.

ELECTRI International thanks the NECA contractors, chapters and industry partners who shared their experts as student team advisers and Challenge jurors.

Oct 13

Welcome to NECA 2013 Washington DC!

The rainy weather hasn’t dampened spirits so far at the Board of Governors meeting, Energy Forum and pre-convention workshops – and especially last night’s Opening Reception at the National Building Museum!

I’m Beth Margulies, NECA’s communications director, and I’ll be live-blogging all the great programs and events at NECA 2013 DC. My personal favorite so far has been the Green Energy Challenge student design competitions – the three finalists teams from Iowa State, Penn State and the University of Washington gave outstanding presentations yesterday an intimidating “Board of Directors” made up of NECA contractors and industry experts. Those jurors will evaluate the presentations and the winning team will be announced Sunday at the NECA Student Chapter Summit.

Student teams were charged with creating a bid package for lighting retrofits, EV charging station installations and a renewable power source for a parking facility in their campus communities – everything from the types of lighting controls to financing options.  Pretty impressive stuff, and each student team thanked their sponsoring NECA chapter and local contractors for helping them create their comprehensive presentations.

Stay tuned to find out who won this year’s Green Energy Challenge, plus recaps from the general sessions and photos and videos direct from NECA 2013 DC! Leave a comment if you have any questions or thoughts about what you see and experience.

Proud Penn State Green Energy Challenge finalists + their green garage retrofit

Aug 28

National Energy Forum Brings Industry and Policy Leaders Together

How Electrical Construction is Shaping Renewable Power, Energy Conservation

Third Annual NECA Energy Forum

Saturday, October 12 
12-4 pm
$145 for NECA members
$75 with full Convention registration
[Lunch is included with registration]

As our nation strives for energy independence and consumer demand for renewable power and energy conservation continues to rise, electrical contractors are constantly updating their expertise in green energy trends and technology. The NECA 2013 Energy Forum will bring electrical contractors together with leading policy-makers and industry leaders shaping the energy solutions market today.

The speakers and panel discussions at the 2013 NECA Energy Forum are the best source for practical information about the trends, technology, and economic factors affecting the energy market today. Developers, engineers and building managers look to electrical contractors to provide solutions for their green energy goals. Discover the latest advances in emerging technologies, energy efficiency, renewables, energy storage, combined heat and power, and the projected abundance of natural gas can mean for the electrical construction industry.

The Energy Forum will wrap up just in time for the finalists’ presentations for NECA Green Energy Challenge, the annual NECA Student Chapter design competition. Also remember that energy solutions education at NECA 2013 Washington DC doesn’t stop with the Energy Forum and continue with management education and technical workshops. Register today!

Jul 16

Penn State, Iowa State and University of Washington Earn Finalist Spots for 2013 Green Energy Challenge

Annual Student Design Competition Inspires Real Energy Solutions

The 2013 annual Green Energy Challenge student competition, sponsored by ELECTRI International – the Foundation for Electrical Construction – is down to three finalist Student Chapter teams: The Pennsylvania State University, Iowa State University, and the University of Washington.

The finalists were selected by an eight-member competition jury that included electrical contractors and industry allies. Fifteen student teams submitted proposals to conduct an energy audit of a parking structure on campus or in the neighboring community for the initial round of competition. In addition to the technical recommendations offered in each retrofit proposal, teams were judged on construction planning and project management.

2012 Green Energy Challenge poster session in Las Vegas

2012 Green Energy Challenge poster session in Las Vegas

Finalist teams are responsible for further developing their proposal into presentations for the full jury at the 2013 annual convention of the National Electrical Contractors Association, Oct. 12-15, in Washington, D.C. NECA’s annual Energy Forum will also be held that day; the Energy Forum focusing on the work of electrical contractors in the energy solutions market of renewable power, energy storage and efficiency technology. ELECTRI International hosts the students’ travel to and participation at the event. A poster session of submissions from the participating student chapter teams is also part of the event.

Jurist Phillip Rose, Roman Electric Company, Milwaukee, WI, offered his analysis of the 2013 competition: “Since the beginning of the Green Energy Challenge, the bar has been raised each and every year. This year was the tightest competition we have seen to date. The level of knowledge and professionalism in the proposals were as good as we’ve ever seen. I was really impressed with our three 2013 finalists. After reading their proposals, I can’t wait to see the final three presentations.”

ELECTRI International President Russ Alessi said, “The student teams are bringing cutting-edge solutions to real-world problems that building owners and operators are coping with today. The Green Energy Challenge is an ideal way to explore what options could truly work, with guidance from electrical contractors who have hands-on experience.”

About ELECTRI: ELECTRI International – The Foundation for Electrical Construction, Inc. is the primary research arm of the electrical construction industry. Foundation research helps to improve the productivity, professionalism, and competitiveness of electrical contractors. ELECTRI International also represents the U.S. electrical construction industry internationally. For more information, visit www.electri.org.

For more information about ELECTRI International and the Green Energy Challenge, contact Sylvia Selwood, ELECTRI Director of Operations and University Relations, at 301-215-4539 or sselwood@necanet.org

Oct 02

More Winners for Green Energy Challenge in Poster Competition!

In addition to the four finalist presentations, Green Energy Challenge jurors also evaluated submissions from all 18 NECA Student Chapter teams who entered this year’s competition. Each team was invited to display their submission on a single board, including those who didn’t make it to the finals.

Southern Polytechnic University won first place in the poster competition, followed by Purdue University in second and GEC team winners Youngstown State University in third place for the competition.

We also learned that this year’s GEC winners aren’t just taking home prestigious awards, but cash prizes for their accomplishments. Finalist team awards won:

  • First Place: Youngstown State University — $2,000
  • Second Place: University of Washington — $1,000
  • Third Place: Iowa State University — $750

Poster competition winners won:

  • First Place: Southern Polytechnic University — $750
  • Second Place: Purdue University — $500
  • Third Place: Youngstown State University — $250

Full details about the 2012 Green Energy Challenge competition guidelines and scoring can be found online.