DoE energy efficiency
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The US Department of Energy (DoE) has launched three new challenges for building energy efficiency, through its online competition.

The DoE’s JUMP into STEM initiative is entering its third year with three new concurrent challenges open to university student submissions.

Developed by building science researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the challenges focus on advanced building construction methods, grid-interactive efficient buildings (GEB), and building energy audits for residential or commercial buildings.

A team of more than 30 university professors will include the JUMP into STEM competition as a graded item they assign in their classrooms, although students not enrolled in one of these classes are also eligible and encouraged to apply.

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These professors represent colleges and universities from across the country, and over half are from historically black colleges and universities or other minority-serving institutions.

The competition encourages participation from student groups who are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as well as teams consisting of a broad variety of majors.

Traditionally, most building science researchers have been from civil and mechanical engineering programmes, whereas JUMP into STEM strives to include additional disciplines, such as computer science, data science, statistics, mathematics, physics, economics, sociology, meteorology, architecture, and public policy.

The goal is to attract a diverse group of innovative students to building science research and address some of the current challenges facing the industry.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Alex Fitzsimmons, said: “JUMP into STEM is a key component of BTO’s strategy to enhance the preparedness of America’s energy workforce.

“JUMP into STEM finds innovators in the formative years of their careers, inspiring them to take on the many challenges and opportunities that await them in the building sciences field.”