Students working for greener house

Hannah Heger, Features Editor

When people think about problems in energy efficiency many don’t think that they come from their house. Pairs of students in Advanced Placement Environmental Science have been developing parts of an energy efficient house.

“So each pair of students in the class got control of a different system of the house,” Clancy Livingston, AP Environmental Science teacher, said. “One pair is working on the heating and cooling, one pair is working on the physical structure…and then their goal is to make all of those pieces as energy efficient as they can.”

Over the past couple of week each group has researched and designed what would be most efficient for their individual aspect of the house.

“I am working on cooling,” Maddy Perkins, junior, said. “Our job is to decide what ways we can keep the house from being too hot.”

While some groups design the most efficient plan for cooling they still need to coordinate with other groups to develop this house.

“One of the most difficult [parts] was just getting a plan together and getting a majority of the class to agree on a plan,” Perkins said.

But having a perfectly energy efficient house doesn’t come free, along with having to make an efficient house one group has to keep this house well within a budget.

“My partner Elizabeth Kim [junior] and I are focused on the budgeting, meaning we oversee costs and [try to] establish a budget that we could adhere to,” Alexis Gray, junior, said. “It’s quite difficult, mainly because we’re ‘building’ the house from scratch and have to find base prices solely from research. It got easier once everyone started putting together their plans, and we were able to establish a base budget and encouraged other pairs to search for lower costing, environmentally friendly building materials and systems.”

As these groups work and develop this energy efficient house the students have done most of this with little to no teacher involvement.

“So I got them started on the project. And after that, I’ve been as hands off as I can be, they’ve done all of the research,” Livingston said. “I know a couple groups that actually called contractors or people who make some of the different equipment they’re looking at to get information. Honestly this project is kind of taken on a life of its own beyond what I thought it was going to. I’m really proud of the students.”