Posts Tagged ‘Energy conservation’

ATETV Episode 48: Working Hand in Hand with Industry

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

This week, we learn how internship programs can help pave the way to future careers, and explore an Energy Education program that is paving the way to a cleaner, more efficient environment.

In our first segment, we visit Florence-Darlington Technical College, where students are offered the opportunity to pursue internships with companies in their chosen technology fields. The end result: Students have an added advantage once they graduate, and in many cases, may even be offered full-time employment with the companies for which they interned!

“We give [Florence-Darlington students] an opportunity to come here and work hand in hand with our technicians in our process area to actually put in projects,” explains employer John Kimbrough of Wellman, Inc. “Then, if they actually perform well, if they have the skills and if they’re team players, we consider them for job openings [once they graduate.]”

It’s a similar story at ESAB Welding & Cutting Products, where Jill Heiden relies on interns from Florence-Darlington to fulfill numerous key job responsibilities. “The interns have their own jobs, they are hands-on,” she notes. “They have a mentor that they can shadow, but they are actually working in technical jobs on the floor with the already employed technicians.” The benefit of this arrangement, she adds, is that students get to learn what real life is about.

It’s what Elaine Craft of the South Carolina Advanced Technological Education (SC ATE)Center of Excellence calls a “grow your own” approach. “Industries actually get these students [as employees] early on in the program, and the students can grow up with the industry as they complete their two-year associate degrees.” As a result, she adds, students develop skills that can be put to immediate use once they enter the workplace.

Notes Wellman’s John Kimbrough, “Hopefully, [our student interns] will take a job with us [when they graduate] but even if they don’t, when they go on to the real world, they will have these hands-on skills in which they’ve actually worked in a manufacturing environment, and that looks good on somebody’s resume.”

And, no matter what workplace that may be, there will likely be an emphasis on energy efficiency. In this week’s second segment, we visit with students and educators at Sinclair Community College’s Center for Energy Education.

Before students pursue a career in any type of alternative or renewable energy field, they need to understand the basics of energy efficiency, according to Sinclair’s Bob Gilbert.

“Students learn how to analyze utility data, learn what portion of their natural gas is for hot water, what is for heating purposes, and then apply the same principles to electricity,” Bob explains. “We [have students] look at the envelope, look at the mechanical systems, and look at the operational procedures. Then they come up with an energy management plan.” Through this plan, students are actually able to quantify savings in dollars and cents, and from there, translate savings into CO2 emissions.

By studying energy codes, simulation software, code compliance software — coupled with hands-on experience in the field — Sinclair students become fully prepared to conduct energy audits and implement their broad-based energy efficiency education in the real world, particularly in industry, which adds up to a more sustainable future for our country.

Or as student Howard Ducker puts it, “Now when I leave a room, I turn off the lights.”

LEED-ing the Way

Friday, August 6th, 2010

leed_certification

What is LEED?

This week, Sinclair Community College student Senya Oji-Njideka described the school’s Civil Engineering Technology program, which emphasizes energy conservation and energy analysis. In the course of his description, he mentioned several national programs being implemented to help save energy. One of those is the LEED building certification program — we did a little more homework to find out what LEED is all about and why it’s critical to Architectural Technology students — or anyone who is interested in buildings, and in the future of the planet.

LEED actually stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The voluntary certification program was at the forefront of the energy conservation effort, established in 1998 by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). If a building has been “LEED-certified” it means that it is environmentally sound, constructed with materials and methods that are water-efficient and energy-efficient. It also means that it was designed with an eye to reduced carbon emissions and improved indoor air quality.

Within the U.S., more than 15,000 buildings have been LEED-certified, and that number is increasing as businesses and institutions become more concerned with the environment. Certification is based on a point-based ranking, and a building gains points based on seven different categories: Energy and Atmosphere; Sustainable Site; Indoor Environmental Air Quality; Materials and Resources; Water Efficiency; and Innovation in Design. Points are given for such things as using low-emitting materials in painting, flooring and adhesives to reusing existing materials during a reuild to creating a water efficient landscape.

So, what does this all mean to Senya and other students interested in careers in the building industry?

It means that, going forward, a thorough knowledge of LEED requirements is extremely useful — and often mandatory — for careers in Architectural Technology and Civil Engineering. The USGBC offers “LEED Professional Accreditation” to demonstrate a person’s expertise and ability to guide a building project through the LEED certification process. Exams are given in several categories, including the LEED-NC (New construction/major renovation), LEED-EB (Existing Building) and LEED-CI (Commercial Interior).

Check out the USGBC website where you’ll find plenty of background on green building initiatives as well as LEEDS-related laws and incentives that are being implemented in communities throughout the country to promote environmentally responsible building projects — both commercial and residential. The website also goes into more detail regarding LEEDS certification requirements and can direct you to exam-prep courses and other instruction to help prepare for LEEDS accreditation testing.

ATETV Episode 44: Impacting the Future, One Experience at a Time

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

This week, we visit a community college that has designed its Civil Engineering program with direct input from local industry, and talk with a student who is paying attention to energy conservation in his classroom work – and in his personal life.

In our first segment, we talk with Tressa Gardner of the South Carolina ATE Center, who describes the relationship between Florence-Darlington Technical College and the region’s area industries. It turns out that it’s mutually beneficial.

“We have great industry in this area, and it’s very important that we supply these [businesses] with the workers that they need,” says Tressa. As a result of this forward-thinking approach, Florence-Darlington graduates have many job opportunities to consider, be it as an engineering technician for a welding and cutting products company, a career in automation or a future as an “E and I” tech working in electrical and instrumentation technology.

As Tressa explains, a big reason why these job opportunities are available is the “hands-on” training that Florence-Darlington’s engineering students receive.

“The Pythagorean Theorem makes no sense if you just [work on it all day] without any real-life context,” she says. But, she adds, Florence-Darlington students discover that if they wind up working in power distribution for Progress Energy company, they’ll actually use the Pythagorean Theorem every day.

In our second segment, we learn that a similar “reality check” is in place at Sinclair Community College, where Civil Architectural Technology student Senya Oji-Njideka is applying new energy conservation skills to his classroom work, as well as to his own future.

“I have gotten more interested in energy analysis and energy conservation since I’ve been at Sinclair,” Senya explains. “Energy analysis is taking into account all the resources that you’re using at [one] time…and then making sure that you’re using what you need and only what you need, and not wasting at all.”

Senya finds that this mindset is not only good for his education, it’s just plain good. “I constantly find myself making people aware of how they’re using energy and how much it really costs, not just to their pocketbook, but also to the environment…. This is the future of technology. Everybody on the planet is going to have to [start conserving]. You’ve got to start somewhere.”

ATETV Episode 43: Collaboration, Conservation and the Cutting Edge

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

This week, we learn how companies look to graduates to meet workforce demands, learn about the latest trends in energy conservation and talk with a student who is returning to school to study laser technology.

In our first segment, we visit Springfield Technical Community College, where Computer Technology students are taking classes side-by-side with professionals from area computer companies.

Says Scott Edwards of Juniper Networks, “The collaboration between Juniper and local colleges [enables students to] access the same information [being accessed by professionals] which helps them prepare for the same types of jobs.”

And as Springfield’s Gordon Snyder notes, “What we’re doing is exposing companies to the community college…We have made good connections with these companies and they realize what great places community colleges are. [In fact, community colleges] are now probably the first place they come when want to hire somebody new.”

While industry is becoming more aware of the programs offered at Springfield Technical College, students, teachers and consumers alike are becoming more aware of the high costs of energy – and ways to conserve – as we learn in our second segment.

As Mike Traen of Certified Energy Raters explains, green building verifications and performance testing for Energy Star compliance and rating is a great movement.

“It’s a way to be environmentally responsible,” says Mike. “It amounts to not using more than you have to, not disposing of more than you have to. It’s a good thing for a home owner because you’re going to save money in the process.” Mike predicts that the field of Energy Efficiency and Compliance will expand and that the need for qualified energy technicians, too, will increase.

And, it’s a similar message in our third segment, which takes us to Central Carolina Community College’s Laser and Photonics Program, where student and former truck driver Andy Dawson is making a change, and embarking on an exciting, fast-paced career.

“I’m loving every minute of the program so far,” says Andy. “I mean any time I get something in my hands and I’m having to do the work on it and being able to break that laser down [and figure out what’s wrong with it and how to best fix it] to get it working correctly [I get excited]” he adds. “For just two years’ investment, you can’t go wrong in a community college program, “ he notes.