How we heard about Schneider Go Green and Women in Energy
This is Rainbow and Yvonne from THE TEAM introducing “Lighting Balance of Building” (LBOB) as our solution. Both of us study the same major which is Environmental Management and Technology(EVMT) at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. As told by its name, our major is about how to manage environmental issues, especially through green technologies, this probably could explain why we were interested in the Schneider Go Green 2020 Competition. This competition has prompted us several times via different means, including faculty’s email, Agorize platform as well as social media platforms such as Linkedin and Facebook. At first, we were a little bit hesitant about participating in such a globalized and large-scale competition, not only because of fierce competition but also because of the lack of technical knowledge. Although our major is a multidisciplinary programme in which we can touch on different fields, including Science, Business, Engineering, and Social Science, we are not as professional and proficient as those engineering students. Nevertheless, we noticed that our classmates, Kirsi and Michael, who won the China Region and proceeded as finalists in Schneider Go Green 2019, have had a great time throughout their journey, and that’s why we decided to count ourselves in.
Where did our bold idea start?
It is not hard to do something from 1 to infinity, but it is always hard to initiate something from 0 to 1. You have to come up with something novel but feasible, something which has not been introduced by anyone else. We started brainstorming from the environment surrounding us. In Hong Kong, also known as a “concrete jungle”, there are tremendous high-rise buildings to accommodate such a huge population within this tiny land. Meanwhile, for one of the most common buildings in Hong Kong, office buildings, we observed that there is a wastage of not making use of the glass which occupy nearly 80% of the building. Given the rising trend of a smart building, we thought of how to smartly maximize the daylight without uplifting the interior temperature as well as the HVAC loading much, and also making use of the glass as solar panels. And this was how we came up with our idea, a lighting balance module of building automation systems. If you are struggling with what to propose, a great starting point is to observe your surroundings and you will find out the pain points to be tackled. You may then follow this direction for further research and brainstorming afterward.
There were three surprises throughout our journey. The first one is that we passed and became top 12 in the Greater China Region. The second one is that we won 2nd runner up in China Region. Due to the pandemic, we were unable to make it face-to-face and had to deliver our speech in a pre-recorded video format and answer judges’ questions live at the event. The memory was vivid that we didn’t sleep till 5 am HKT the day before the final of China Region, just taking a short nap before the competition started. Even though we were doing this virtually, we were still very nervous, not to mention how nervous we were after listening to the other team’s brilliant presentation. It was totally out of our expectation that we could get into the Top 3 as we thought we didn’t perform well in the Q&A session. It was lucky that there were no tough technical questions for us, but we didn’t manage to answer fluently and precisely to some questions due to the language barrier. However, this failure didn’t kill us but made us stronger, as we re-watched the recording and figured out what questions were raised when we were preparing for the global final round. Reflection and improvement are always necessary, and this was one of our takeaways from this competition.
The last and undoubtedly the biggest surprise for us was winning the Women in Energy award and having the chance to pitch at the global finals with other fantastic finalists. It was again really out of our imagination to believe that we have gone through this far on the Go Green journey. Before the global final, we first had the pre-show event. It was a precious opportunity to hear inspiring sharings on careers, network, and innovation, and more importantly, learn more about Schneider’s core values and culture. Two days after was the nerve-racking, yet exciting and fruitful Global Finals. Different from the Regional Finals, we did live presentations and Q&A sessions for the Global Finals, so we spent more time and effort practicing and rehearsing our speech to better prepare ourselves. Having teams from all over the world, the Global Finals lasted for over 5 hours. Not only were we delighted to present our idea to the panel judges after all the hard work, but also we enjoyed listening to other teams’ brilliant ideas on tackling different sustainability issues. The diversity and creativity of ideas have broadened our horizons and perspectives towards sustainability.
Our obstacles and ways to overcome
Throughout the preparation we had from idea development, Regional Finals to the Global Finals, we couldn’t help but realize our lack of technical knowledge in technologies or engineering. We had an initial idea of what components are needed for our solution and what issues it could tackle, but we were unsure about how things work and whether it is feasible to implement in terms of an engineering perspective. When examining the financial feasibility of our solution, we also found ourselves not familiar with calculating figures such as payback period, return on investment (ROI), or internal rate of return (IRR), which are all useful for us to explain and support our proposed idea. However, this did not hold us back from further developing our idea. Understanding our shortcomings, we began to research more extensively to learn about each component of our solutions. We are also grateful to have very supportive and helpful mentors, Mr. Wang Zhao and Mr. Difu Li, who provided useful insights to improve our solution and presentation, by guiding us to research more on Schneider’s solutions for leverage and helping us structure and visualize our proposed system with a coherent schematic diagram.
Advice for fellows
For those who are sharing the same thoughts as us in the beginning, who are afraid of the lack of knowledge, please just go for it! There will be great mentors guiding you through the journey, making your bold idea more realistic and perfect. Our experience could probably serve as an example that it doesn’t matter if you are not in a technical or business field, as long as you are brave enough to share your bold idea, Schneider Go Green is definitely a place for you to shine.
In the end, we would love to express our gratitude to our mentors, Mr. Wang Zhao and Mr. Difu Li, guest speakers, panel of judges, and all staff who organized such an amazing event for us. It was undeniably difficult to arrange such a global event under the special situation this past year, yet thanks to all the great preparation work from Schneider, we were able to enjoy and learn much more than we would have expected through this competition. We are so grateful to be part of the Schneider Go Green journey and hope that many of you can experience it too!
here’s how you can join this year’s edition or pre-register for next year! For more information and to register, check out our website at gogreen.se.com!
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