In Workshop, Students Find Energy-Efficient Solutions for Buildings


In partnership with Schneider Electric, SEAS and Tsai CITY are holding an eight-session workshop series in which students will explore and develop solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with a focus on energy use in buildings.

“This workshop series with Schneider Electric provides Yale students with access to the latest information and analysis methods regarding an important aspect of our society - that being our energy needs and use,” said SEAS Deputy Dean Vincent Wilczynski. “Equally significant, the workshop provides a chance for Yale students to get an ‘internal internship with a multinational company,’ where they need not even leave campus to gain valuable experience and mentorship from corporate leaders.”

Thomas Kwan, director of sustainability research at Schneider Electric, said the company was keen to collaborate with the Yale community and work with students who can bring a fresh perspective and ingenuity to challenges faced by industry. The workshop offers students an opportunity to learn about the challenges of the building segment as related to climate change and to develop solutions with a systems approach. 

“It’s an exciting time to develop sustainable solutions at the nexus of energy, buildings, and digital technologies,” he said. “This workshop was a natural outcome from our engagement with SEAS to elevate meaningful engagement with industry.” 

The workshop series will include eight lectures hosted on Monday evenings from 5 to 7 p.m. during the 2023 spring semester. It will include sessions with industry experts, energy transition visionaries, and essential training for coding. These lectures will give students the foundational knowledge and skill sets needed to create successful projects. Additionally, industry experts will provide guidance and insights to student teams. Workshop participants will work side by side with leaders from Schneider Electric to create solutions that have the potential to be developed into a commercial product.

“Such hands-on learning is key to the approach used throughout SEAS, for it gives students the chance to practice their craft while on the Yale campus,” Wilczynski said.

Students will work in teams and use real-world, detailed data on building energy use, carbon footprint, building type, and size provided by Schneider Electric. Teams will analyze the data flows and consider new paradigms for efficiency, solar panel size and remuneration, and smart controls. Teams will include students from SEAS, Yale School of the Environment, and the Yale School of Architecture. “We highly value multi-disciplinary teams and those with computer science skills,” Kwan said. “The digital frontier is critical to forward-thinking solutions for society.”

The teams’ results will be presented to a panel that includes members from Yale and Schneider Electric at the conclusion of the workshop.

Students can apply as an established team or as an individual that will be assigned a team during the selection process. Teams will be expected to meet outside of lecture time for at least two hours per week to discuss and deliver solutions. 

Twenty students will be selected by January 23 to participate in this innovative workshop.