Carnegie Mellon University
March 27, 2014

CMU Wins Top Honors at Better Buildings Case Competition

CMU Wins Top Honors at Better Buildings Case Competition
Carnegie Mellon University has continued the tradition of winning top honors at the annual Better Buildings Case Competition hosted by the Department of Energy. Previous winners have seen their ideas implemented in real-world systems across the country. This year, the CMU team won two Best Proposal awards for its solutions to cases addressing some of the biggest problems in reducing building energy use.

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.

The CMU team members are: 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).

Pictured above (left to right): Matthew Plunkett (Tepper), Matineh Eybpoosh (CEE), Rubén Morón (Architecture), Casey Canfield (EPP), Vedran Lešić (visiting Fulbright scholar, EPP), Nathaniel Horner (EPP). Not pictured: Julian Lamy (EPP)