Colleges vying for energy efficiency crown in DTE, ESD competition

SOUTHFIELD—Teams of students and faculty from seven Michigan colleges and universities are putting their creative engineering minds together to develop energy-efficient, waste-reducing programs on their campuses. Seven teams have been selected to move on to the next phase of the E-Challenge Competition, which involves developing an energy management program that will be implemented at their college or university.

The E-Challenge Competition, held in partnership with DTE Energy and The Engineering Society of Detroit, provides engineering students an opportunity to develop innovative energy-efficiency plans along with the chance to be awarded financial incentives and scholarships. The 2020 competition was launched in October 2019. Colleges and universities had until Nov. 30 to submit an application.

Seven teams applied and have been awarded start-up grants to aid in developing their programs. Moving onto the next phase of the competition are Henry Ford College, Lake Superior State University, Oakland University, University of Detroit Mercy, University of Michigan, University of Michigan-Dearborn and Wayne State University. Each team will be paired with a DTE Energy Certified Energy Manager to provide mentoring and guidance as teams finalize their plans. Final program plans, due by March 31, must include a comprehensive, five-year energy management plan using the tools and support provided by DTE Energy Smart Team under the DTE Strategic Energy Plan program.

“DTE Energy and ESD partnered in this program to recognize and support continuous energy improvement and sustainability at Michigan colleges and universities, as well as support the creative minds of Michigan students in developing effective, successful energy management programs,” said Patrick Ryan, principal supervisor at DTE Energy. “The competition seeks innovative plans that utilize recognized energy management principles to reduce energy waste at colleges and universities in DTE’s service territory.”

“These student and faculty teams are developing programs which prioritize energy-efficiency and control energy costs by changing behaviors, identifying opportunities, and making energy choices that align with industry best practices,” said Nichole Becker, principal energy manager at DTE Energy. “A set of tools and support from DTE Energy Managers are provided to help the teams develop their plan.”

Each plan will be judged by a panel of energy-efficiency experts. Teams with the most comprehensive plans will be awarded support for their plan’s implementation phase through the DTE Strategic Energy Management (SEM) program. Judging of the submitted plans will take place in April, and at least two plans will be chosen to participate in the SEM program. The finalists will be eligible for individual or team scholarships and will also be recognized at the 2020 DTE/ESD Michigan Energy Efficiency Conference & Exhibition, May 5, at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.

For more information on the E-Challenge Competition for Colleges and Universities sponsored by DTE Energy and The Engineering Society of Detroit, visit www.e-challenge.net.

DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company with operating units that include an electric company serving 2.2 million customers in Southeast Michigan and a natural gas company serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan. The DTE portfolio includes energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects; renewable natural gas; natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage; and energy marketing and trading. DTE has pledged to reduce carbon dioxide and methane emissions by more than 80 percent by 2040 to produce cleaner energy while keeping it safe, reliable and affordable. DTE Electric aspires to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. More at dteenergy.com.

Founded in 1895, The Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD) is a multi-disciplinary society uniting engineering, scientific and allied professions to enhance professional development and foster excitement in math and science to produce our next generation of leaders. Serving this generation of engineers and fostering the next. For more information, visit www.esd.org.

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