YSU GECT team takes first in Las Vegas NECA competition

Fifteen Engineering students from Youngstown State University’s National Electrical Contractors Association chapter have won the fourth annual Green Energy Challenge in Las Vegas, Nevada in September. It was the Youngstown State University Green Energy Challenge Team’s first victory.

NECA and ELECTRI International– The Foundation for Electrical Construction jointly sponsor the competition. In the past, the YSU team won third place in 2010 and second place in 2011.

“Once again, our students shone on the national stage against competitors from prestigious engineering schools around the country,” said Theodore R. Bosela, YSU professor of Engineering Technology and the team’s advisor. “Their performance is another indication of the caliber of students at YSU, the quality of our Engineering Technology and Engineering academic programs and reflective of YSU’s emerging role as an urban research institution.”

The YSU Green Energy Challenge Team

The competition required the team to choose a building from their campus, preform an energy audit on the power and lighting in the building, and then redesign and retrofit the building with a more efficient energy system.

The YSU Green Energy students chose to assess the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor. Their proposal, written collaboratively by Mike Currao, Jarrett Scacchetti, Dave Wright, Ethan Parks, Jason Nutt and Mike Sammartino, suggests that the more efficient system will pay for itself in a little over two years.

In their proposal, the team analyzed the use of power and lighting in the building. They discovered that while the facility is currently, by government standards, energy-efficient, the center could use some upgrades. In particular, the center could save more energy and money by incorporating variable frequency drives, VFDs, into some of the existing machinery.

VFDs follow the Affinity Laws in components such as pumps and motors. The VFDs also allow for equipment to experience a “soft start” mechanism, reducing the surge that often occurs as equipment starts up.

The lighting system was broken down into three segments, and recommendations were made for changes in the lighting systems. The alternative lighting indicated greater efficiency and an overall money saving solution.

“They had to consider the whole business aspect: how to package it, how to present it, how to market it,” said Bosela. “What makes this competition so great for the students is that it reflects the kind of real world environment that they will be working in.”

To see the whole proposal the YSU Green Energy team presented at the conference, please visit the NECA Blog, or click here to go straight to the PDF file.