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Myers-Lawson School of Construction students place first in national sustainable building competition


   

Two rows of students pictured with their faculty advisor. The winning team in the 2013 National Sustainable Building and LEED Problem Competition: (Back row, left to right) Alek Leckszas, Tim Reddick, Glenn Sullivan, Christine Fiori, (Front row, left to right) Andrew McNulty, Evan Underwood, and Justin Rajadhyaksha


BLACKSBURG, Va., March 20, 2013 – A team of six students from Virginia Tech’s Myers-Lawson School of Construction traveled to Sparks, Nev., last month to compete in the Associated Schools of Construction National Sustainable Building and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Competition and finished in first place, recording the highest total score ever in the Sustainable Building and LEED Problem Competition.

They competed against 12 other collegiate teams from across the country, including Arizona State University, California Polytechnic State University, and Colorado State University. 

The winning team, advised by Christine Fiori, associate director for the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, included the following students:

  • Alek Leckszas of Richmond, Va., a third-year construction engineering and management major in the College of Engineering;
  • Andrew McNulty of Erie, Pa., a third-year building construction major in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies;
  • Justin Rajadhyaksha of Alexandria, Va., a third-year building construction major in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies;
  • Tim Reddick of Alexandria Bay, N.Y., a third-year building construction major in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies;
  • Glenn Sullivan of Virginia Beach, Va., a fourth-year building construction major in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies; and
  • Evan Underwood of Fishersville, Va., a fourth-year building construction major in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.

The problem competition included the completion of a request for qualification package and detailed analysis of five problems related to indoor environmental quality, sustainable site selection, alternative transportation, sustainable wood, and water efficiency, with the goals of obtaining sufficient LEED credits to achieve LEED Platinum Certification while incorporating components of the Living Building Challenge.

In addition to the technical components, the challenge required the students to work as a cohesive team to complete a project designed to challenge their intellect, stamina, and patience.

It was an intense and demanding day of competition; the teams received their problem at 6 a.m., and were required to submit their solutions at 9 p.m. that evening.

The competition culminated in a presentation to a panel of six judges from Skanska USA Building Inc., who had worked on the actual project throughout the pre-construction and construction phases. Skanska USA, the sponsor for the competition, is one of the largest construction and development companies in the country.

Describing the experience, junior Alek Leckzsas said, "Competing with my team to win first in the Sustainable Building and LEED Competition was not only one of my favorite experiences at Virginia Tech, it has also encouraged me to pursue a career in sustainability with renewable energy. "

The competition offered students a valuable opportunity to interact with industry representatives and students from other universities as well as to reinforce the skills learned from their coursework by applying them to a real-world scenario.

“During the competition I relied on knowledge from my green engineering courses and field experience to solve real world issues,” said team captain Evan Underwood. “Overall the competition was not only a valuable educational experience, but also great preparation for a career in the construction industry. Participating has reminded me that we are the future, and that we have the power to build a more sustainable tomorrow.”

Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies is composed of four schools: the School of Architecture + Design, including architecture, industrial design, interior design and landscape architecture; the School of Public and International Affairs, including urban affairs and planning, public administration and policy and government and international affairs; the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, which includes building construction in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and construction engineering management in the College of Engineering; and the School of the Visual Arts, including programs in studio art, visual communication and art history.