Colorado State University team is finalist in national Green Energy Challenge

Note to Reporters: An artist’s rendering of improvements to the Hartshorn Health Services building is available with this news release online at

A team of Colorado State University students who designed an energy renovation of a campus health clinic is one of only three selected to compete in a national green energy contest being held in September.

The project focused on CSU’s Hartshorn Health Services building as part of the Green Energy Challenge sponsored by ELECTRI International and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). The CSU team, from the Department of Construction Management, received notice July 15 that it was selected as a finalist to compete in the contest’s final stage at the 2014 NECA convention in Chicago Sept. 27-30.

“I speak for myself and everyone on the team in saying we are very proud of this year’s product,” said Dan Proud, a CM senior and the group’s project manager. “After three long months of hard work and dedication, we have delivered a top proposal that we are confident will even be partially utilized by CSU in the future.”

CSU’s proposal was one of 15 initially submitted. Teams were required to conduct an energy audit of the power and lighting systems in a student union building and then design a preliminary energy retrofit for these systems as well as a new solar energy component with a sub-metering plan to support monitoring and feedback regarding energy used. Hartshorn’s lighting system has not been updated since the Spring Creek Flood in 1997, and lighting alone consumes nearly half of the building’s total energy.

The CSU team’s proposal includes an LED lighting design, a new solar photovoltaic system to reduce consumption from local utilities, a building monitoring system to display real-time energy consumption, and a self-sustaining gazebo on the north lawn with its own solar lighting system and electric vehicle charging stations. These changes and additions would cost less than $500,000 and decrease Hartshorn’s energy consumption by almost 60 percent.

The additional monitoring system could help decrease energy use further by educating occupants on where energy is used most and how to reduce that usage.

“We’re trying to promote green energy and a green lifestyle to the campus and to building occupants,” said Mike McLain, a CM senior and the team’s lighting engineer. “We can break it down to the level of ‘this office is using more energy than this office,’ let occupants know and change their mindset.”

“The proposal presented by this student group is thorough, well-presented, and useful to the staff in CSU’s Facilities Management,” said Carol Dollard, CSU’s lead energy engineer. “Hartshorn is a student-funded building, so any work to upgrade the facility has to be funded through revenues generated by services or by allocated student fees. This report will help staff prioritize those funds for future projects.”

Dynalectric, Sturgeon Electric, Guarantee Electric, Conserve-A-Watt, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers all sponsored the team or provided general insight for the final proposal.

“I cannot stress enough how much time and energy everyone put into this project, not just team members but our sponsors and the department as well,” said Proud.

The Department of Construction Management is part of the College of Health and Human Sciences at Colorado State University.