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an energy-focused civic hackathon,
a challenge to solve an issue using technology and your unique experiences,
an opportunity to create a meaningful impact in the community,
your chance to brainstorm with like-minded individuals, have fun and win a prize!
What is a Hackathon?
Hackathons are an efficient, low risk, low cost way to encourage innovation, catalyze startups and engage talent. They present the perfect opportunity to foster innovation in the smart energy sector and initiate positive change in the community.
Who Should Join BRITEhack?
Anyone with an idea, a solution or a desire to create a positive impact is welcome to join us. We strongly encourage any interested engineers, designers, developers, project managers and students to participate in BRITEhack.
The Challenges from 2020 BRITEhack
Our event on January 31, 2020 featured two challenges for participants to choose from.
1. Warren’s St. Joseph’s Hospital is burdened by the challenge of energy costs, reliability and disruption. Find creative solutions for the hospital to reduce reliance on the grid and optimize efficiency.
The Saint Joseph Hospital energy needs are served by two major utilities. Natural gas is used to fire the boilers that provide heat to the facility in the winter. Electricity is used for typical building utility loads like lighting, computers, and instruments. Electricity operates the chiller plant that provides facility cooling in the summer. Electricity also powers large medical equipment such as the MRI, CT machines & other specialty equipment, and the linear accelerator.Wayne Tennant, VP Support Services, Mercy Health Youngstown
The facility has a single electricity feed from a local substation. They are considering a second feed from another substation to provide redundancy. There are four diesel generators with automatic switching capability that can power the facility (all except the chillers and large medical equipment) if the utility power is lost.
Energy challenges faced by St. Joe’s are cost, reliability and minimal disruption. Reduction of energy cost is always a welcome outcome. To that end, some of the lighting has already been converted to LED. Frequent electrical power outages (whether of a momentary or longer duration) are not only inconvenient but greatly impair St. Joe’s ability to provide seamless patient care.
What opportunities exist to reduce St. Joe’s reliance on or remove the facility from the grid, effectively lowering their dependency on utilities? Potential solutions could include the implementation of load shedding, combined heat and power systems, solar generation and other means of energy to support the facility – i.e. steam absorption for the chiller plant. Solutions should focus on long-term sustainability with ideas and implementations that can remain beneficial to the facility for the next 30 to 50 years given current energy, building efficiency and safety technologies. Solutions must be compliant with life safety codes that are typically used for a hospital setting. Solutions would be of particular interest in the event that Mercy Health develops a new campus to succeed St. Joseph’s
2. The Trumbull Metropolitan Housing Authority incurs large expenses from burst pipes when residents move out without notifying TMHA. Design a sensor that can determine occupancy status across a variety of property types.
TMHA operates almost 600 rental units in the Trumbull County area. In most cases the utilities are in the name of the tenant. Sometimes tenants will move out without notifying TMHA. In some cases the heat will get turned off before TMHA finds out. When that happens in the winter, pipes can freeze and burst, creating a large repair bill.TMHA
TMHA reports that this usually happens 2 to 5 times each year, with a resulting repair bill that can range from $1,000 to $12,000.
TMHA seeks a low-cost solution that will allow them to be automatically notified when a tenant moves out, and especially when the gas is turned off. This would allow them to avoid repairs associated with frozen pipes and perhaps get a property re-rented quickly.
Interested in sponsoring 2021 BRITEhack?
Sponsorship opportunities for 2021 BRITEhack aren’t available just yet, but you can check out past opportunities in the meantime!