Press Release: Carnegie Mellon Team's Energy-Efficiency Strategies Earn Two First-Place Awards at Better Buildings Competition-Carnegie Mellon News - Carnegie Mellon University

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Press Release: Carnegie Mellon Team's Energy-Efficiency Strategies Earn Two First-Place Awards at Better Buildings Competition

Contacts: Sherry Stokes / 412-268-5976 / stokes@cmu.edu
                Pam Wigley / 412-268-1047 / pwigley@andrew.cmu.edu       
                Mark Burd / 412-268-3486 / mdburd@andrew.cmu.edu
                                                                   
Better Buildings TeamPITTSBURGH—For the third year in a row, a multidisciplinary team of Carnegie Mellon University students took top honors at the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Case Competition. Team Everpower won two "Best Proposal" awards for solutions to cases that address real-world energy problems that businesses and other organizations encounter.

The annual event, which took place March 14 in Washington, D.C., supports the Obama administration's Better Buildings Initiative goal to reduce energy consumption by at least 20 percent by 2020 in commercial and industrial buildings across the U.S.

Team Everpower competed in the "Picking up PACE: Taking Commercial PACE Financing to Scale" contest that 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 energy-saving benefits of energy-efficiency projects, such as productivity improvements and health benefits.

The second competition, "A Side of Savings: Energy Efficiency in the Restaurant Franchise Model," involved giving incentives to 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.

Members of the Carnegie Mellon team are: Matineh Eybpoosh, a doctoral student in civil and environmental engineering; Rubén Morón, a master's degree student in the School of Architecture; Matthew Plunkett, an MBA student in the Tepper School of Business; Vedran Lešic, a visiting Fulbright scholar in engineering and public policy; and Casey Canfield, Julian Lamy and Nathaniel Horner, doctoral students in engineering and public policy.

Other universities competing in the competition included the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California, Santa Barbara, Harvard University, Stanford University and Yale University.

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Pictured above (left to right) are team members Matthew Plunkett, Matineh Eybpoosh, Rubén Morón, Casey Canfield, Vedran Lešic and Nathaniel Horner. Not pictured is Julian Lamy.