The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) annual Better Buildings Case Competition engages the next generation of engineers, entrepreneurs and policy makers to develop creative solutions to real-world energy efficiency problems for businesses and other organizations across the marketplace. Through the competition, interdisciplinary teams of university students gain critical skills and experience to start careers in clean energy. Since its launch in 2012, the competition has supported the Obama Administration’s Better Buildings Initiative goal to reduce energy consumption by at least 20% by 2020 in commercial and industrial buildings across the U.S.
The Better Buildings Case Competition focuses on any issues affecting energy efficiency in buildings. High profile case partners and the Department of Energy describe real-world energy efficiency issues in the form of “cases,” which are then distributed to teams of graduate and undergraduate students. Interdisciplinary teams, from US institutes of higher education, have roughly three months to formulate 10-page solutions based on their own research and resources provided by case partners. The competition culminates in an all day workshop in Washington, DC where student teams present their solutions to expert judges and case partners for open comment followed by development and networking opportunities.
This year’s final event was held at the DOE campus on March 14, 2014, and included many opportunities for participating students. The event serves as a high-profile platform where students can showcase their most creative ideas and solutions, receive feedback from the judges, and interact directly with industry and government leaders.