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.