UCI Energy Warriors Go to Washington

A student team calling themselves the Energy Warriors represented UCI at the second annual National Better Buildings Case Competition in Washington, D.C. in early March. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the competition challenges university teams to develop and present real-world business and technical solutions to cut energy waste and improve the efficiency in commercial buildings across the country.

The Energy Warriors were among 14 university teams that competed to find the best solutions to energy efficiency challenges presented in four case studies. The case studies consisted of real scenarios, background information, and data provided by organizations in the Better Buildings Challenge program—a broad public-private partnership working to make America's commercial and industrial buildings 20 percent more efficient by 2020.

UCI’s 10-member multidisciplinary team, led by Bogdan Rusu, Andrew Clark and Jeremy Pearson from the Samueli School, took on two cases. One looked at strategies to achieve energy savings through a renovation of a publicly owned, multitenant office building in Montgomery County, Penn. The other case focused on strategies for energy metering and measurement to meet federal savings goals in government buildings across the U.S. Teams presented their ideas and written proposals to a panel of commercial real estate and energy experts at the White House Campus.

“This has been one of the best experiences in my life,” says Kenny Teeter, a senior majoring in civil engineering. “They gave us real problems, and we came up with real solutions. As students, we don’t often get to do real-life challenges.”

“We didn’t place, but the judges were impressed with our team,” says Rusu, a senior majoring in chemical engineering. “They asked us a lot of specific questions and were very engaged in discussing our ideas.”

The UCI team included undergraduate and graduate students from engineering, business, urban planning, economics and  English. The students spent five weeks preparing the proposals. This is the second year a UCI team has competed in the event. Other schools participating included Carnegie Mellon University, MIT, UC Santa Barbara, Yale, and University of Chicago.

The Better Buildings competition provides the next generation of engineers, entrepreneurs and policymakers with skills and experience to start careers in clean energy. Previous case partners have recruited competing students for internships or full-time positions. For more information, see www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/betterbuildings/casecompetition.html.

UCI 2013 Energy Warriors

Bogdan Rusu, Chemical Engineering

Alexis (Lexie) Moores, Environmental Engineering

Christine Hsieh, Economics

Kassidy Deason, Environmental Science

Andrew Clark, Chemical Engineering

Jeremy Pearson, Chemical Engineering

Kai Zhang, Urban Planning

Kenny Teeter, Civil Engineering

Jennifer Moore, English 

Olivia Grim, Business Economics (Not pictured)

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