Carnegie Mellon University
November 29, 2022

EST&P Students Take on the MIT EnergyHack 2022

By Marilyn Kung

Fifteen of our EST&P students competed in MIT EnergyHack 2022, a three-day event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from Friday, November 11th to Sunday, November 13th. Over 400 individuals and 100 teams participated from different universities across the globe. Ten main sponsors each provided a challenge statement related to this year's theme of “Decarbonize the Built Environment”, which touched on current issues facing the energy transition and decarbonization in the built environment. Hackers explored opportunities that could improve or expand these businesses. 36-hours were given, from problem statement reveals to final submission, to choose a challenge, perform case studies and research, provide a holistic solution, create a comprehensive presentation, and practice their pitch to the sponsors. Even after little sleep from an early Friday morning flight, many EST&P students stayed up (with the help of coffee and snacks) to diligently hack away at the challenges. On the final day, teams pitched their energy saving solutions, with up to nine other teams in contention for a chance to compete in the final round.

One team of EST&P students, Team 74 Kilt Built (Sruthi Easwaran, Chris Fang, Gokul Krishnan, Marilyn Kung) were finalists for the "Data Center of the Future" challenge from the sponsor Fifth Wall. The goal was to determine the best technological companies to invest in for building a decarbonized data center. Kilt Built analyzed a variety of companies and performed case studies in cooling, efficiency & electrification, construction, and clean technologies, recommending five businesses. Their solution revealed carbon dioxide emission savings ranging from 10 to 55% each for every chosen company.


This event was the first EnergyHack for many EST&P students. Throughout the competition, participants honed skills including problem solving and contextualization, team collaboration, task delegation, and time management. While the time constraint was more stressful than anticipated, our students persevered and applied their best efforts in creating comprehensive solutions. One of the most challenging parts was communicating the energy solution while under a time crunch and demanding requirements for submission.

However, this event opened up the opportunity to connect with students from other institutions such as Harvard, MIT, Northwestern, etc. and have discussions with executives and representatives from interesting companies such as:

  • Tynt - Engineering windows from Reversible Metal Electrodeposition (RME) material for energy savings in residential and commercial buildings, with opportunities for lowering carbon emissions
  • SPAN - Creating an AI monitoring circuit breaker, which can help manage electricity consumption by reducing burden on the grid
  • And many other businesses/organizations, such as Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), McKinsey Sustainability, Fifth Wall, Skanska, Nucor, Perkins & Will, Tangible Materials, and MIT Center for Real Estate.


After enormous hacking efforts and several sleepless nights, EST&P students took away new connections and insights on decarbonization in the building sector. Exploring the Boston area together before and after the EnergyHack, such as the scenic Charles River and Boston Harbor, was an enjoyable experience. This weekend trip gave students the opportunity to create real solutions in carbon emission reductions, and further deepened the camaraderie of the cohort.