T3 Students Immerse Themselves in Energy Audit Experience
“I really like this kind of math!” exclaimed Sydney Lincoln, a sophomore at Bethel Regional High school. Excitement about math is not typically associated with high school students, but Lincoln had just made a hands-on connection between the classroom and the real world. Lincoln and seven other students from Bethel and Dillingham recently participated in an energy audit training where they conducted an energy audit and retrofit analysis on an Anchorage residence with a certified energy auditor. This weekend-long event was developed by the Teaching Through Technology Energy Club, which engages high school students in learning energy-related issues impacting their communities.
Chandler Kemp, an instructor in the Sustainable Energy Program at the UAF Bristol Bay campus, led the students through the audit and a series of related concepts and skills, including quantifying heat transfer, air infiltration, and energy use. The bulk of the weekend focused on the audit and follow-up analysis. This included measuring the building envelope with appropriate tools, calculating R-values, and using a blower door to assess the “tightness” of the home.
Much to the surprise of the students and homeowner, the blower-door test revealed significant air leaks coming from above the kitchen exhaust fan and attic access panel—simple improvements, but difficult to detect without the proper equipment.
Additionally, students used energy efficiency software (AKWarm) and data from the audit to develop a computer model for the home, which included information about the benefits of various retrofits.
Photo by George Reising John Brink and students from Bethel record air exchange data from a blower-door test.
At the conclusion of the event, Kennedy Gosuk, a senior from Dillingham High School, shared her experience with the team. “This was such an amazing weekend! I learned so much and really appreciate the opportunity,” she said.
Kennedy and other students plan to apply what they learned to conduct an energy assessment in each of their home communities. Whether they pursue careers in the energy sector is yet to be determined, but this is another step towards developing energy literacy and technology confidence.
The training was the latest opportunity for students working with the T3 Energy Club and included one UA credit towards their Sustainable Energy Endorsement. The event was hosted in partnership with the UAF Upward Bound Program, Alaska Center for Energy and Power, T3 Alliance, and Sustainable Energy Program at the UAF Bristol Bay campus, with additional support from the Cold Climate Housing Research Center, State of Alaska CTE program, USDA, and Office of Naval Research.
For more information about the UAF T3 program or T3 Energy Club, please contact George Reising at email@example.com.