NECA Student Chapter Aiming for Gold at Green Energy Challenge

The ELECTRI International Foundation Green Energy Challenge is the 2019 edition of the national competition for the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) student chapters. This year the competition will be among 33 student chapters and hosted in Las Vegas from September 14–17. The Illinois Tech student chapter has been participating in the competition for the past few years, most notably last year, placing third in the final presentation round of the competition and first in proposal submissions. The team hopes to attain top three for their proposed submission to be sponsored for the final round taking place in Nevada. The chapter meets every Thursday from 6:25–9 p.m. in the Tech South Smart Lab and is overseen by School of Applied Technology faculty member Daniel Tomal. The team is ecstatic to showcase their proposal on Provident Hospital of Cook County on IPRO day on Friday, April 26, and hope that you drop by to see their findings.

The purpose of the competition is to conduct an energy audit of an existing building, explore possible ways to convert the building to “Net Zero,” and calculate the return on investment (ROI) from the savings made by the optimization of HVAC systems, lighting retrofit, and the installation of photovoltaic cells for electricity generation, leading to ComEd rebates. Historically, the team has been sponsored by the ECA (the Chicago Chapter of NECA), IBEW Local 134, and Gurtz Electric company. Representatives have come to chapter meetings to advise the team on how to audit and optimize Provident Hospital. Tim Taylor of the ECA and Brian Haug, director of Continental Energy Solutions, have visited to advise on PV panel placement and energy audits.

Provident Hospital of Cook County, serving the historic Washington Park neighborhood on 51st Street in Chicago, was built in the 1890s, and then brought into the Cook County hospital system in 1993. It is most notable for being founded by Daniel Hale Williams, a prominent African-American surgeon. He went on to perform the nation’s first open-heart surgery at the hospital in the summer of 1893. This operation was done without X-rays, antibiotics, surgical prep-work, or tools of modern surgery. The patient, James Cornish, underwent a remarkable recovery and was discharged in 51 days.

The Illinois Tech NECA team consists of eight core members along with an additional 12 participants who work under team leaders:

  • Ryan Schonken—president; responsible for classroom coordination, client communication, community outreach, and organization efforts
  • Muhammad Rafiul Islam Zareef—vice president; responsible for assisting president with coordination, supporting teams with technical analysis and outreach as needed, and project development
  • Kaitlyn Krupa—treasurer; responsible for conducting schematic estimates, performing finance plan analysis and payback periods, and contracting with the Student Government Organization for the project’s budget
  • Michael O’Brien—director; responsible for the project’s video making and directing and assisting in the energy analysis of the HVAC and lighting system
  • Ammar Alsamak—secretary; responsible for keeping track of the team’s performance, the recording of NECA-IIT interacting with the community and professional guest, and project and proposal development
  • Carlos Vaca—Solar Energy Systems Team Leader
  • Jaime King—Energy Efficiency Analysis (HVAC) Team Leader
  • Peter Upham—Lighting Energy Systems Team Leader