Published: March 5, 2020

Engineering seniors and graduate students put their skills to the test through capstone design projects. In most cases, mechanical engineering teams are sponsored by industry partners or pitch their ideas to investors. Follow capstone design teams through our series of Capstone Design Q&As to learn how students are using engineering to solve real-world problems. 

energy monitoring system
A rendering of the residential energy monitoring system currently under development by CU Boulder mechanical engineering capstone design students. 

What problem does your project solve?

Team Give-A-Watt is creating a residential energy monitoring system that reports accurate and actionable data to consumers. Most consumers want to save the environment and really want to save money. Our product allows homeowners to monitor their electricity usage and work to reduce it. The energy monitor is differentiated from other energy monitors, because it shows users electricity usage in dollar amounts, so consumers can easily conceptualize energy use and understand the real monetary benefits of saving energy.

What have you and your capstone design team accomplished that you are proud of?

We have accomplished significant customer development which allowed us to fine-tune our design to fit what customers want and need. We also developed a design that is manufacturable and passed manufacturing reviews. We are proud of our team dynamic and overall effectiveness.

2020 Team 44
Team members from left to right: Jeremy Donhowe, Austin Urban, Clara Wilson, Katlyn Stockslager, Matthew Roberts

What have you learned from this project?

Time management, time management, time management! We have responsibilities to multiple parties including our director, client, faculty advisor and ourselves. Managing those responsibilities and getting deliverables where they need to be on time is important. The team is learning how to do that effectively.

What are you most excited to share about your project?

We are most excited to share our finished product and see consumer interest.

What advice do you have for future capstone design teams?

Senior Design is an opportunity to show your skills and what you’ve learned in your engineering curriculum, but it is also an opportunity to innovate and have fun. Try to enjoy what you’re doing and create something amazing! Also, a good team dynamic isn’t automatic; it takes work. Having a good team dynamic can make your project ten times easier and ten times more successful.