Duo selected as semi-finalists for Go Green in the City

July 13, 2018

 Alex Delgado Beebe and Kathryn Kalbfleisch, juniors Civil and Environmental Engineering students, were  selected as semi-finalists for Go Green in the City, a competition sponsored by Schneider Electric in Boston, July 18th, to help encourage global business solutions. The challenge centered on solving a real-life case challenge within the energy management community or coming up with a fresh idea for efficient energy management in an urban environment. 

The competition featured 23,000 from 180 countries, with semi-finalists innovation, technical and economic feasibility, and compatibility with Schneider Electric’s values. The North American Semi-Finals included 7 teams of 2 people from the US, Canada, and Mexico.

Beebe and Kalbfleisch engaged their project by looking at a way to connect potential researchers with smaller startups, businesses that are often limited in their ability to develop new products without the necessary workforce to realize their vision. Formerly serving two co-op rotations through Ford, he currently on co-op at the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center. Through that, Beebe has first hand experience working with businesses in rural communities, small businesses and organizations that want to continue to develop, but who have met a roadblock with getting researchers involved.

“What we believe and what we’ve learned from talking to people, is the resources that they don’t have,"  said Beebe. "They can go through our platform to connect to faculty.”

Their platform works like e-Harmony, a crowd-sourced dating site, wherein users input their data for other members of the community to peruse. Beebe and Kalbfleisch have met with a variety of faculty and staff to consult on the project, from Dr. John Usher to Andrew Marsh, Assistant Director of the Conn Center, each of which gave them unique perspectives on what could best benefit the communities that they are trying to help.

“It’s to address the problem that small manufacturers have to not be able to pursue sustained development,” said Kalbfleisch. “Our solution is to a networking platform, where manufacturing representatives can make profiles and be matched to pursue projects together.”

Having already met through shared coursework, Beebe and Kalfleisch shared a commonality in their interest for renewable energy. When the challenge went out for the Go Green in the City, they looked towards their nascent environmentalism as inspiration. Both hope to pursue careers that involve sustainable energy, with Kalbfleisch considering a career in green design through construction to making buildings sustainable, while Beebe is interested in possibly working with the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Even when you look through Schneider Electrics their values and mission statements, I think what the interesting phrase was is ‘bringing economic and technical development,’” said Beebe. “I thought of these rural communities, communities that haven’t been touched with the sustainability range. This saves a lot of money and keep jobs open. I think both of us are pretty environmentally conscious.”

To get the student perspective visit our feature, Kalblfleisch and Beebe present in Boston, a journal style account of their preparation and presentation.