The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) annual Better Buildings Case Competition (BBCC) engages the next generation of engineers, entrepreneurs and policymakers to develop creative solutions to real-world energy efficiency barriers for businesses and other organizations across the marketplace. Through the Competition, interdisciplinary teams of university students gain critical skills and experience to start careers in clean energy. Since its launch in 2012, the BBCC has supported the Obama Administration’s Better Buildings Initiative goal to reduce energy consumption by at least 20% in the next decade in commercial and industrial buildings across the U.S.
The BBCC focuses on issues affecting energy efficiency in buildings including complex challenges across multiple industries, such as data access, tenant engagement, equipment replacement, program implementation, business models and more. High profile case partners and the Department of Energy describe real-world energy efficiency issues in the form of “cases,” which are then distributed to teams of graduate and undergraduate students. Interdisciplinary teams, from US institutes of higher education, have roughly three months to formulate solutions based on their own research and resources provided by case partners. The Competition culminates in an all-day workshop in Washington, DC where student teams present their solutions to expert judging panels. The event serves as a high-profile platform where students can showcase their most creative ideas and solutions, receive feedback from the judges, and interact directly with industry and government leaders. The workshop also provides a neutral forum for stakeholders to discuss best practices and become better acquainted.
Since its inception, the annual BBCC has produced over 100 solutions for an audience of over 60 industry organizations and government agencies. Over the past three years, the competition has grown as an industry-recognized forum for innovative problem solving around energy efficiency and has attracted some of the brightest new minds in the energy industry.
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