Energy Secretary announces winners of student energy efficient buildings competition

March 6, 2012

As part of President Barack Obama's all-of-the-above energy strategy, Energy Secretary Steven Chu recently announced the winners of a competition that asked collegiate students to develop and present real-world solutions for the creation of more energy efficient buildings, according to a Department of Energy release.

The release noted that Chu recognized the winners of the Better Buildings Case Competition, part of the DOE's Better Buildings Challenge, at an event that was held at the White House on March 2. He congratulated the students for their efforts in tackling some of the barriers to improving energy efficiency.

The competition provides a place for the next generation of engineers, entrepreneurs and policymakers to showcase their skills and a foundation for them to start careers in clean energy. This move also helps to generate creative solutions to real-world problems that may be used by businesses.

"Through the Better Buildings Case Competition, the Energy Department is inspiring the clean energy workforce of tomorrow to find innovative solutions that will save energy and money for American families and businesses," said Secretary Chu at the event.. "We hope that the high-impact ideas presented by these talented students today will help the companies, cities, universities and other partners participating in the President’s Better Buildings Challenge to identify cost-effective, energy-saving improvements they can make in their own buildings."

Among the winners of the competition were graduate students from Carnegie Mellon University. They worked to help develop a plan for the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., with an eye focused on sustainability and energy efficiency, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The Carnegie Mellon team competed against groups of students from Harvard, the Massachusetts Insitute of Technology, Dartmouth and Georgia Tech, among others, and was able to win the "Best Proposal" prize, the news source reported.

Carnegie Mellon is a member organization of the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC), a Department of Energy-designated national innovation HUB.

The GPIC was designated as the HUB for the energy efficient buildings sector, and the organizations who work in the effort look to develop and design technology and building plans that will help to reduce energy costs and consumption for buildings in the Greater Philadelphia region.

This effort will help to establish Philadelphia as a leader in the sector, generate jobs and work to reduce the total emissions that commercial buildings are currently responsible for in the U.S.