University of São Paulo - Brazil

Students from USP win international competition on energy efficiency for buildings

By Yasmin Araújo* | Original article in Portuguese.

A team composed of students from the Polytechnic School (Poli) of USP and the Instituto Superior Técnico in Portugal has won an international hackathon competition on Circularity and Energy Efficiency for Buildings. Named Elk Suggestions, the group consisting of Mariana Serrão and Guilherme Francisco, both from the Computer Engineering program; Vinicius Damin from Mechatronics Engineering; and Murilo Teixeira from Electrical Engineering, developed a platform that monitors and suggests energy-efficient habits for small and medium-sized businesses. This project earned them first place in the European competition.

Organized by the French company Schneider Electric, the competition annually awards innovative ideas that have the potential to contribute to a more sustainable and cleaner future. In line with the company’s purpose, the platform designed by Elk Suggestions analyzes the energy consumption of appliances in various metrics, such as usage time and carbon emissions. Based on the data collected, it suggests ways to improve energy efficiency and reduce expenses through more conscious and sustainable energy usage.

“By using machine learning and hardware created by us, we proposed an automated and user-friendly platform that measured certain parameters, understood consumption patterns, and made a series of suggestions aimed at more conscious energy usage,” Serrão explained. She emphasized that the project’s key differentiator was the generation of practical and applicable suggestions through the website.

The team emphasizes that many of the ideas for developing the platform stemmed from knowledge acquired in the course “Energy, Environment, and Sustainability,” taught at the Polytechnic School. They underscore the importance of expanding this knowledge into something that can bring tangible benefits. “Developing an idea that can have a very positive impact on society, something that can change the world, motivates us greatly to continue developing projects and researching,” says Damin.

Considered the most innovative idea among proposals from teams across Europe, the group received a prize of 5,000 euros, an international trip, and an opportunity to intern at Schneider Electric.

*From the Communications Office of the Polytechnic School of USP.