The US Dept of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge  is an effort to reduce the energy use of commercial buildings by 20% by 2020 by catalyzing private-sector investment and innovation. DOE and its “Challenge Partners” are developing replicable solutions to the barriers faced by building owners as they adopt energy efficient practices in their commercial building stocks.
As part of the initiative, DOE runs an annual Better Buildings Case Competition, announced by Secretary Chu at his visit to MIT in November 2011. The competition invites university energy clubs to propose the best and most innovative solutions to our nation's energy efficiency problems.
Each team was assigned two cases; the MIT team was challenged to develop (1) an energy efficiency strategy for the City of Fort Worth and (2) a business plan to upgrade heating and cooling systems in a big box retail chain. Lecturer Harvey Michaels advised the team with support from other faculty in the department.
Two awards are given per case and for the second straight year, the team from MIT won awards for both proposals:
- City of Fort Worth - Best Proposal
- Big Box Retail (The Everything Store) - Most Innovative Proposal
The team from MIT included the following students:
- Ryan Cook and Chris Jones – Urban Studies and Planning
- Ryan Sheinbein and Dania El Hassan – Management
- Kate Goldstein – Building Technologies
- Zak Accuardi and Carla Li -Technology and Policy
- Mehmet Onbasli – Materials Science
- Wardah Inam and Defne Gurel – Electrical Engineering