Overview & Requirements

About the Program

DTE Energy is partnering with The Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD) to recognize and support energy efficiency technology innovation for its commercial, light industrial and municipal electric customers through the DTE Energy E-Challenge Competition for Colleges and Universities. This competition seeks innovative energy efficiency technology demonstration opportunities in advanced energy efficiency processes. The competition encourages demonstration projects that integrate energy efficient solutions that bring under-utilized energy efficiency products to the DTE Electric service area, or accelerate the commercialization of Michigan-based energy technologies.

Competition Focus Areas

The E-Challenge Competition requires that demonstrations showcase advancements in energy saving processes. Examples include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems (HVAC)
  2. Water use (e.g., boiler systems, chillers)
  3. Industrial process control
  4. Lighting (not to include basic lighting changes)
  5. System efficiency improvements
  6. Operational changes and equipment replacement
  7. Improve an existing DTE program or current energy
    measure

Application Qualifications

An application can be submitted by a student or team of students that is approved by a department within the university that is offering an innovative energy savings process to be demonstrated at a “to be determined” site that will be recommended by the submitter. The site may be within the college or university campus or local business or facility. The final site is subject to approval by DTE Energy and the ESD team, henceforth known as the program administrators.

Energy Efficiency Eligibility Requirements

Any energy saving product, material, system, structure, process or methodology that is innovative in application or use, including but not limited to inventions, is eligible within the following parameters.

  1. The product must demonstrate electric or natural gas energy savings.
  2. If gas savings are being demonstrated, preference will be given to DTE Energy gas customers, but customers of other gas utilities within the DTE Energy electric footprint will also be considered. DTE Energy must consent to the final demonstration site selection.
  3. The technology or product must apply to one or more of the following: light industrial, commercial, business or municipal applications.
  4. The innovation must be a technology that is new to the Michigan market or integrates multiple existing technologies in new ways.
  5. The product must be ready for commercialization or demonstrated in market with validation of energy savings, but have not been widely adopted. (The project cannot be a concept. It must be able to be demonstrated.)
  6. The submission must include proof of concept documentation to establish the validity of the technology to be demonstrated.
  7. The technology/product must demonstrate less than an 8-year ROI in energy use. Beginning energy usage figures must be supplied to show reduction in energy consumption. Energy savings must be able to be metered, monitored and reported.
  8. E-Challenge awardees will be required to coordinate with the program administrators to measure and validate energy savings and create a visual display at demonstration location. The program administrators will assist in developing display materials.
  9. E-Challenge awardees are required to work with program administrators to promote the results of the demonstration through marketing channels, including sharing energy efficiency ROI findings within vertical market sectors, and production of a case study.
  10. The innovation must be able to be standardized for DTE Energy Custom or Prescriptive Incentives in a vertical market application.
  11. Participants will be required to sign an honor statement affirming the truth and validity of all energy savings claimed.
  12. Patents will not be applied for or funded.

Application Preferences

The intent of the E-Challenge Competition for Colleges and Universities is to showcase innovation through market-ready advanced energy efficiency solutions that utilize Michigan-based technology products or companies or combine standalone technologies into an integrated solution to maximize energy savings.
Preference will be given to applications that incorporate one or more of the following objectives:

  1. Michigan based technologies and businesses.
  2. Applications that include product development collaboration with multidisciplinary teams (e.g. students in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, facilities managers, professors).
  3. Energy efficiency technologies that promote energy savings that have been under-utilized in the DTE Electric service area or are new to the DTE Electric service area.
  4. Demonstration locations with high visibility or public visitation history (e.g. office buildings, schools, hospitals, markets) for educational exposure.
  5. Energy saving demonstrations in vertical market applications that can be proliferated in multiple customer locations throughout the DTE Electric service territory (e.g. municipalities, hospitals, parking lots or decks, car dealerships, universities, restaurants, hotels, industrial and
    manufacturing operations, etc.).
  6. Submittals with energy savings solutions demonstrating less than a three-year ROI.
  7. Preference given to projects with sustainability of savings during peak demand (3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday). Data to be supplied by the university or host site and demonstrate long duration capacity reduction (KWHR/KWH).
  8. Operational changes and equipment replacement are acceptable submittals as well as system efficiency improvements (not to include renewable or alternative energy or basic lighting changes).
  9. Ideas that examine what can be done differently with existing technology to save money are encouraged along with improving any existing programs, ideas or concepts.

Challenge Award & Scholarships

Up to $250,000 may be awarded to successful applicant(s) to create the demonstration for their energy savings innovation. The program administrators reserve the right to award one, multiple or no projects based on the quantity and merits of submitted applications. Submissions will be evaluated throughout the demonstration process. Individual or team scholarships of up to $20,000 will be awarded. Scholarships will not be distributed until final reports are completed.

Entry Procedures/Judging Process

Initial entries describing the demonstration and energy savings concept(s) will require submission by March 17, 2017 (extended deadline). Submittals with high scoring first round applications will be invited to submit a second, more detailed application for a second phase of judging. The program administrators reserve the right to amend the submission deadlines and awarding deadlines, as needed. All questions and answers will be made public and become part of the public domain by being posted at www.e-challenge.net. Questions can be directed to Leslie A. Smith, CMP, at lsmith@esd.org. All entries must be submitted online by 5 p.m. March 17, 2017 (extended deadline).

  1. The initial screening of applications/abstracts will be complete by March 31, 2017. All entrants will be notified, via email, by April 1, 2017. The qualifying entrants will move on to judging in a second round.
  2. Applicants chosen to qualify for a second round of judging will need to supply a maximum 12 pages of documentation for consideration. Details will be provided upon notification.
  3. In March, a finalist or finalists will be chosen to demonstrate their innovation (DTE Energy reserves the right to award more than one entrant).
  4. Finalists will be recognized at the 2017 DTE/ESD Energy Conference and Exhibition scheduled for Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. Further recognition will be provided by The Engineering Society of Detroit.
  5. All submitted material becomes the property of ESD and will not be returned (does not imply ownership). All submission of data will be subject to a third party audit.

Applications will be evaluated by an impartial panel of industry judges chosen by the program administrators. Awards are based on the inherent qualities of each project as perceived by the judges. Any and all awards of the judges of the program are final unless otherwise determined by DTE Energy at its sole discretion.

Up to $250,000 may be awarded to successful applicant(s) to create the demonstration for their energy savings innovation. The program administrators reserve the right to award one, multiple or no projects based on the quantity and merits of submitted applications. Submissions will be evaluated throughout the demonstration process. Individual or team scholarships of up to $20,000 will be awarded. Scholarships will not be distributed until final reports are completed.