California Schools on Top

November 29, 2018

For ELECTRI International’s 2019 Student Passport competition, two NECA Student Chapters from California will go head to head to present their proposals at the January ELECTRI Council meeting.

The California State University Long Beach team will address ways to protect students from mass attacks at their schools.  This NECA Student Chapter believes its work will contribute to the safety within schools by taking a number of isolated systems and combining them into one system not yet found in the market. The Cal State Long Beach proposal is to develop an “Emergency Lock-Down System”. To protect the community’s students and staff in case of an emergency such as an intruder, this team proposes an “electrical locking system” that will be installed on each classroom and office door of an elementary school. These devices monitor and detect unusual high frequency sounds with sound-waves more than 140 decibels (dB). When the device detects a sound of such measurements, the emergency locking system is triggered throughout the entire school. Once the system is triggered by the sound of a gunshot, a signal is sent to all installed devices and locks down all classrooms from entry. This system does not allow the intruder to enter to any classrooms or offices; however, it allows for doors to opened from the inside to allow for evacuations. Only firefighters or police officers will be able to override the system, using a designated access control. All school staff, as well as local emergency services, will be trained to understand the purpose of the system and how it works, in order to protect school occupants. The Cal State Long Beach team anticipates a cost of just under $40,000 and the project will take three to four months to implement. This is the first year this university’s team has been selected for the final presentations.

The California Polytechnic NECA Student Chapter proposes building a 5 kW photovoltaic array that powers an ice making system and a small community resource center in the remote fishing village of Agbokpa, Ghana. Providing access to ice and refrigeration will help Agbokpa fishermen reduce spoilage and increase their income by eliminating the travel and cost currently associated with ice purchases. By slightly over-sizing the solar array beyond the needs of the refrigeration equipment, the team proposes to provide power to a community center that will serve as an electricity access point for community members to charge phones and will have LED lighting to provide children a place to study. For this project, the Cal Poly team is partnering with a solar refrigeration research team from Cal Poly’s Physics and Engineering Departments, Cal Poly’s student chapter of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), and with local contractors in Ghana. The team reports that it will commission the entire photovoltaic system in the Cal Poly Simpson Strong Tie (SST) lab, ship the completed system, and install it in Agbokpa, Ghana. The project cost is anticipated at $45,000 and the team also reports more than $25,000 in sponsorship commitments from the University and other companies in the electrical construction industry.