Thursday, June 5, 2014

CMU Students Do Well in Energy Competitions

  • DOE Better Buildings Competition:   CMU team members  Matineh Eybpoosh, a doctoral student in Civil and Environmental Engineering; Rubén Morón, a master’s student in the School of Architecture; Matthew Plunkett, an MBA student in the Tepper School of Business; Vedran Lešić, a visiting Fulbright scholar in engineering and public policy; and Casey Canfield, Julian Lamy, and Nathaniel Horner, doctoral students in engineering and public policy (EPP) did well in the DOE Better Buildings Case Competition.

The team took the Best Proposal award in the Picking up PACE: Taking Commercial PACE Financing to Scale Case Study competition. The case focused on designing a state-level program and business plan for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, a means of connecting loans to a building rather than an individual. The team’s solution emphasized using a diffusion model to slowly scale up the program over time and marketing the non-energy saving benefits of energy efficiency projects, such as productivity improvements and health benefits.

Their second Best Proposal award was in the A Side of Savings: Energy Efficiency in the Restaurant Franchise Model Case Study competition. Students were challenged to develop a strategy that involved incentivizing franchise fast-food restaurants to invest in energy efficiency to meet a corporate goal. The team recommended an opt-in competition that used social norms and a cash prize to encourage energy efficiency via both technology investment and behavior change.

Abstract: Incandescent bulbs release up to 95 percent of input energy as heat, impacting the overall building energy consumption: replacing them increases demands for heating service that needs to be provided by the heating systems and decreases demands for cooling service that needs to be provided by the cooling systems. This work investigates the net energy consumption, CO2e emissions, and savings in energy bills for single-family detached houses across the U.S. as one moves towards more efficient lighting systems. In some regions, these heating and cooling effects from more efficient lighting can undermine up to 40 percent of originally intended primary energy savings, erode anticipated carbon savings completely, or lead to 30 percent less household monetary savings than intended. The size of the effect depends on regional factors such as climate, technologies used for heating and cooling, electricity fuel mix, emissions factors, and electricity prices. However, we also find that for moderate lighting efficiency interventions, the overall effect is small in magnitude, corresponding at most to 1 percent of either total emissions or of energy consumption by a house.

Pike Powers Energy Research Fellowship Competition: CMU Student Brock Glasgo and Visiting FellowVedran Lescic were awarded the 2nd and 3rd place in the Pike Powers Energy Research Fellowship competition. Brock will be receiving an cash prize of $2500, and Vedran will be receiving $1500.  The competition was decided based on the votes of the Pecan Street Research Institute Data Advisory Board and the Industry Board after a review of their papers and watching a presentation on their work.

Vedran's topic was "Understanding customers’ (mis)perceptions of home energy use," (with Inês Azevedo and Tamar Krishnamurti), and Brock's topic was "Understanding the potential for electricity savings and assessing feasibility of a transition towards DC-powered buildings (with Inês Azevedo and Chris Hendrickson).

Congrats to all the students!


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