U of T CECA/NECA wins second in the 2020 Green Energy Challenge

The Northern Lights Solutions (NLS), a student design team in CECA/NECA U of T at Orde Street Public School (OSPS) in Toronto.

The University of Toronto student chapter of the Canadian/National Electrical Contractors Association (CECA/NECA) has overcome the challenge of working during the pandemic and won second place in the 2020 ELECTRI International/NECA Green Energy Challenge.

The Northern Lights Solutions (NLS) is a student design team in CECA/NECA U of T. Each year, the team takes part in the ELECTRI International Green Energy Challenge (GEC) to propose retrofits and implement an energy awareness campaign that helps a local community facility to reduce its overall energy consumption.

This year, the team partnered with the Orde Street Public School (OSPS), located right by the U of T campus in downtown Toronto, to design an energy retrofit plan. OSPS serves a diverse community by providing a range of educational services to over 450 students from more than 30 countries. The team conducted an on-site energy audit and use collected data (electricity usage, building enclosures, and mechanical systems) in combination with insights from resident interviews to recommend and design improvements for the buildings’ performance with detailed implementation plan and budget analysis. The team proposed retrofits that could reduce 80% of OSPS’s current energy consumption, with further guidelines to help achieve net-zero consumption.

The 2020 GEC team leads include: Noah Cassidy (CIV 1T9), previous President of CECA/NECA U of T, Rose Zhang (CivE Year 3, Co-Project Manager); Adrian Sin (CivE PEY, Co-Project Manager); Mahia Anhara (CivE PEY, Project Management); Bo Zhao (CivE Year 2, Building Energy Performance); Ziyi Wang (CivE Year 3, Lighting), Keziah Nongo (CivE Year 3, Solar), and Kin Hey Chan (CivE Year 2, Community Engagement).

Due to COVID-19, in-person volunteering at OSPS was cancelled. However, the team successfully launched the online energy awareness campaign for students. “Our team has put together lesson plans, videos, blog posts, and an online game with the themes of energy, building materials, and how the indoor environment impacts human wellbeing to students from different ages,” said Chan. “We hope the students enjoy their learning and become stewards of the environment right from home”.

“We’d like to thank Professor Brenda McCabe (our faculty advisor), the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering, and our industry connections at CECA for the continuous support and resources they provide us with each year. We plan to continue working hard to help our local communities!” said Noah (CIV 1T9).

By Kin Chan