UW NECA Student Chapter Battles Energy Consumption in the Built Environment

Students in the Construction Management program are participating in a competition held by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) called the “Green Energy Challenge.” It is a nationwide competition that encourages student teams to seek out creative and sustainable solutions to today’s energy consumption demands within the built environment.

This year’s team is led by CM senior Colin Hudacek and includes CM students Austin Schwalbe, Arthur Dyachk, Kevin Kilborn, and Finance and Information Systems student Mikey Callan.

Each student chapter must select a facility that provides beneficial services to the local community and generate a mock company proposal for upgrading the various mechanical and electrical systems within the building. Teams must also develop and implement a community outreach plan with strategies aimed at reducing the building’s present energy consumption demands.

The UW team, named Spectre Energy Solutions,  chose to partner with the locally based non-profit Plymouth Housing Group. Plymouth is an organization dedicated to providing permanent adult supportive housing for homeless citizens. With 13 residential apartment buildings located throughout the greater Seattle and King County area, Plymouth provides housing for over 1,000 formerly-homeless individuals. The UW team submitted their comprehensive proposal–which included an energy retrofit plan to reach a net-zero energy consumption–for Plymouth’s Langdon & Anne Simons Senior Apartments.

Some of their proposed strategies include improvements to the facility’s mechanical heating system and the installation of a photovoltaic solar array situated on the building’s rooftop which will produce over 100,000 kWh of renewable energy per year to offset overall energy consumption. Their design also includes upgrading the facility’s current lighting systems while seeking to minimize heat loss and air infiltration by enhancing the building’s exterior envelope and insulation assemblies.

To help raise energy awareness, the UW team partnered with PRIME Electric,  a local design-build electrical contractor, and Sylvania, a lighting manufacturer, to provide nearly 500 LEDs for a light bulb exchange in UW’s Red Square. The team pledged to replace and recycle every bulb collected from passing students and faculty.

Working with a variety of prominent local contractors, engineers, and suppliers, the University of Washington team hopes to make it to the finals held in Philadelphia this September. The team submitted their proposal in April and will be notified in late July if they will be moving on to the final presentation.