Students propose greener version of Hartshorn for competition

English: A sprout in a lightbulb.
English: A sprout in a lightbulb. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The sixth annual Green Energy Challenge is underway and the National Electrical Contracting Association of CSU is ready.

“Our confidence level is very, very high,” said Daniel Proud, president of NECA and team captain of the project. “We believe we are making the top three this year.”

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Each NECA chapter, an organization for construction management majors, has been challenged to design an energy-related retrofit for a Student Union building on campus.

The CSU NECA chapter chose Hartshorn Medical Center because they wanted a building that was not energy efficient and their other options, the LSC, library and Rec Center, were all already LEED certified.

“It actually ended up being, for us, a gem, and it’s actually shown real results,” said Mike McLain, vice president of NECA and assistant captain for the project.

Those results come in the form of a proposed 50 to 60 percent decrease in energy consumption at Hartshorn through suggested lighting renovation, solar panel installation and the implementation of an online energy monitoring system.

The lighting system of Hartshorn has not been updated since 1997, providing much room for improvement. Lighting alone currently makes up 45 to 48 percent of the total energy consumption of the building.

Proposing a change in lighting to LED, the team found they could decrease that energy used for lighting by 70 percent, with the remaining 30 percent and more being covered by the solar panel installation on Hartshorn’s rooftop.

In just three months’ time, the team has developed a proposal that would decrease energy consumption by up to 60 percent and that would cost under $500,000. The remaining 40 percent of energy usage could be decreased even further with the monitoring system developed by Proud.

“You can even break it down to the level of this office is using more energy than this office,” McLain said. “You could tell that occupant you’re using more energy than this office, and doing that you can change their mindset. We’re trying to promote green energy and green lifestyle to campus and to the building occupants.”

The two alternate ideas the team has suggested in their competition proposal include a self-sustained gazebo with lighting and USB outlets and four electric car charging stations in Hartshorn’s parking lot.

The team has been in contact with and advised by CSU Facilities Management, specifically with Carol Dollard, lead energy engineer for CSU, who said she is excited about what these students are doing.

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“It’s been a very energetic group,” Dollard said. “These guys have been very thorough and asked a lot of questions, and I’ve been very impressed.”

The team is confident in not only making it to the oral presentations in Chicago and placing among the top schools, but they are also confident CSU will implement at least parts of their proposal.

“We are treating it as if CSU wants to do this and they are choosing the people who can do it the best,” said Owen Thurston, NECA member and financial planner for the project.

“Which is obviously us,” Proud added with a grin.

The team was sponsored by and worked closely with Dynaelectric, Sturgeon Electric, Guarantee, Conserve-A-Watt, CSU and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

At 6 p.m. this Wednesday, April 30 in room 122 of the Preconstruction Center on Laurel Street, the team will present their proposal to the CSU and Fort Collins community.

Collegian Green Beat Reporter Laren Cyphers can be reached at news@collegian.com.