March 22, 2016

Contact: Amy Hewes

Cal Poly Students Sweep Residential Energy Modeling Competition

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly students swept the Residential Energy Modeling Competition sponsored by the California Association of Building Energy Consultants (CABEC). General engineering senior Mia Sheperd placed first; Aaron Feinstein, a mechanical engineering junior, placed second; and civil engineering senior Chase Hemming placed third.

The contest required students to create an energy model for a single-family residential project using the California Energy Commission-approved compliance software tools.

“While California requires an energy budget filed for every new or altered building, there are currently fewer than 200 people statewide registered as certified energy consultants,” noted Melinda Keller, an instructor in Cal Poly’s Mechanical Engineering Department. “With this energy modeling competition, CABEC is striving to encourage new people to learn the trade.”

First place winner Sheperd is president of the Cal Poly Zero Waste Club. “I have wanted to get into energy modeling since I first heard about it,” she said. “My goal is to become a certified energy engineer. Thanks to my major, general engineering, I’ve had the chance to get my hands on more energy-related projects.”

Feinstein entered the contest to learn EnergyPro, energy compliance software approved by the California Energy Commission. “It was interesting to see how the energy consumption of a building could change based on factors we were altering in the program,” he said. “Cal Poly has contributed to my success because professors like Melinda Keller take the time to coach and help students learn, even outside of the classroom.”

“As a civil engineering major,” Hemming said, “it was useful to get practice reading plan and elevation drawings and then inputting that information into the energy modeling program. In the future, I’m interested in designing sustainable infrastructure. This competition helped introduce me to the energy side of that field.”

The students won free trips to Lake Tahoe in April to participate in the CABEC conference, where they will be presented with the awards and monetary prizes.

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Caption (from left ): Melinda Keller, Chase Hemming, Mia Sheperd and Aaron Feinstein.