June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Community Engagement Division
26.1077.1 - 26.1077.8
Learning through a Community-based Energy Conservation ProjectLocal school district representatives asked our engineering department to work with them toidentify potential projects to conserve both fiscal and environmental resources, and we quicklyagreed to this partnership. The project team included the district’s Superintendent and BusinessManager, junior electrical and computer engineering students, a faculty mentor, and theuniversity’s Director of Sustainability.Students were introduced to energy metering and billing, sustainability, and the environmentalimpact of power usage. Students were given web access to real time utility data from smartmeters, annual electricity costs, and square footage for eight school district buildings. Studentteams evaluated available data, and developed project proposals and site survey plans based ontheir research. Teams focused on computers and technology; plumbing and interior lighting;kitchen appliances and lab hoods; and building automation schedules and exterior lighting.Students were given weekend access to the high school to implement their site plan, and to makedirect measurements of power consumption and light intensity. Students completed final reportsthat included results of their site survey, recommendations, and expected energy savings and costsavings. Student team recommendations included suggested use of software to automaticallyshut down student computer systems at night to save an estimated 140,000 kWh/year, upgradesto low-flush toilets to save an estimated 10,000 gallons of water per year per toilet, and upgradesto outdoor lighting to more energy efficient LEDs to provide long-term savings in both energyand maintenance costs.This project had significant impact on the student participants; 38% obtained an internship in theenergy industry, and 50% accepted full time employment in the energy industry upon graduation.These numbers are more than twice the typical average seen in previous engineering graduates.The school district has implemented recommendations from the report, and continues toreference the document in their ongoing conservation efforts.
Zakzewski, C., & Murphy, M. R., & Mahon, M. (2015, June), Learning through a Community-based Energy Conservation Project Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24414
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