Competition seeks to make universities more eco-friendly

Becky Tener and Becky Tener

The University chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association has been counting light bulbs and testing wind energy in an effort to plan an eco-friendly facelift for an area school in hopes of making a difference. The NECA is hosting a competition called the Green Energy Challenge, said John Flood, a junior and one of the six members of the NECA chapter.’ The competition calls for members of the University to form a team and pick a school in their area to find ways to make it more environmental friendly. Flood said their team does exactly what a real contractor would do from the relationship with the client to making plans and cost proposals. ‘We’re all construction management students,’ he said. ‘So this contest is really to educate [us] on the electrical contracting industry and social networking.’ The team has been working on the project since late February and decided on the Vanguard Career Center in Fremont to study and propose green changes. Flood said the team is working on the planning part of the project and is looking at how much this type of revamp would cost Vanguard. Some changes they’re proposing to make the career center more green are a new energy efficient lighting system and more dependency on solar and wind energy. Flood said the proposal they have now would save Vanguard 60 percent on energy usage. Sophomore Morgan Montgomery was a student at Vanguard and said the 41 year-old building could learn form the proposal to make the career center greener. ‘We’ll go in there and say this is how we will turn it green,’ he said. ‘It’s focused on green energy with a movement in mind.’ Montgomery said making green changes like this is the new direction for his profession. Taking an old building like the Vanguard Career Center and making a few modern changes will become more popular and cost effective. ‘This is the wave of the future. It’s a no-brainer to jump on the bandwagon and go with it,’ he said. Sophomore Craig Riegle said the team has spent a lot of time on this project, but it’s is something they all love to do. ‘[We’ve] grown to learn the environment, I love using tools and my hands,’ he said ‘There is just something about watching something build up before your eyes. That’s why we do this.’ The University NECA chapter has to turn in their final proposal for Vanguard by the end of May, and if they win, they’ll receive a free trip to Seattle to present their proposal.