Illinois Tech NECA student chapter aiming for Gold at Green Energy Challenge

TechNews Writer
Mon Apr 15, 2019

The ELECTRI International Foundation Green Energy Challenge is the 2019 edition of the National Competition for National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) Student Chapters. This year the competition will be amongst 33 student chapters, hosted in Las Vegas, Nevada from September 14 - 17. The Illinois Tech student chapter has been participating in the competition for the past few years, notably last year, placing third in the final presentation round of the competition, and placing first in the proposal submissions. They hope to attain top three for their proposed submission to be sponsored for the final round taking place in Nevada.

Historically, the team has been graciously sponsored by the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA), Chicago Chapter of NECA, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) local 134, and Gurtz Electric company. We have had representatives from the above competition, come to the chapter meetings and advise the competitors on how to audit and optimize the Provident Hospital of Cook County.

We have also had Tim Taylor of ECA and Brian Haug, Director of Continental Energy Solutions come in to our meetings to advise on Photovoltaic (PV) panel placement, and energy audits. 

The purpose of the competition is to Energy audit an existing building, explore possible ways to turn the building "Net Zero," and calculate the Return on Investment (ROI) from the savings made from the optimization of heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, lighting retrofit, and installing PV Cells for electricity generation, leading to ComEd rebates. 

The building of choice was the Provident Hospital of Cook County, serving the historic Washington Park neighborhood on 51st Street. The building was built in the 1890s, and then brought into the Cook County Hospital system in 1993. It is most notable for Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, a prominent African-American surgeon and founder of Provident. He went on to perform the nation’s first open-heart surgery at the hospital in the summer of 1893. This operation was done without X-rays, antibiotics, surgical prep-work or tools of modern surgery and the patient, James Cornish, was discharged 51 days after this remarkable recovery.

The team consists of eight core members, along with an additional 12 participants who work under team leaders. Core members are as follows. 

Ryan Schonken – president of IIT NECA Student Chapter, Ryan was responsible for classroom coordination, client communication, community outreach, and team organization.

Muhammad Rafiul Islam Zareef – vice president of IIT NECA Student Chapter, Rafiul was responsible for assisting president with coordination, supporting teams with technical analysis and outreach as needed, and project development

Kaitlyn Krupa – treasurer of IIT NECA Student Chapter, Kaitlyn was responsible for conducting schematic estimates, performing finance plan analysis and payback periods, and contracting with Student Government Associatoin (SGA) for project’s budget

Michael O’Brien - director of IIT NECA Student Chapter, Michael was responsible for the project’s video making and directing, assisting in the energy analysis of the HVAC and lighting system. 

Ammar Alsamak – secretary of IIT NECA Student Chapter, Ammar was responsible for keeping track of teams’ performances, recording NECA-IIT interacting with the community and people of profession, and project and proposal development.

Supporting Team Members:

Carlos Vaca: Solar Energy Systems Team Leader

Jaime King: Energy Efficiency Analysis (HVAC) Team Leader

Peter Upham: Lighting Energy Systems Team Leader 


The chapter meets every Thursday 6:25 to 9:00 p.m. at the Tech South Smart Lab and is overseen by Dr. Daniel Tomal. They are very ecstatic to showcase their proposal on IPRO day on April 26, 2019, and hope that you drop by to see their findings. 



Appears in
2019 - Spring - Issue 11