I got involved with UB’s GRoW Home project for a number of reasons. First, I believe that renewable energy systems such as photovoltaic, wind, geothermal, solar thermal, and any other carbon neutral technology is what the future should run on. I also had an interest in learning how to work within an interdisciplinary team in order to better understand how to effectively design renewable energy systems for buildings and other practical means. Lastly, I would someday like to live in a net zero home that can produce its own food year-round. This project seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn more about how these technologies can be used for a private residence, so that I may be able to someday design and build my own house that will help our world.
My responsibility within the GRoW Home project primarily involves management of the engineering team and advisement on engineering-related technology for the rest of the team. The engineering projects for the GRoW Home include basic mechanical, electrical, and plumbing layout and design, photovoltaic system design, efficient lighting design, solar- and geothermal HVAC design, and much more. In addition to management, I have taken a personal role and interest in developing the electrical system layout.
This project is an opportunity for students such as myself to get involved with a real sustainable housing design and construction process. It has brought students from a wide range of disciplines such as architecture, engineering, and management to work on a single project together. In addition to this, all of the students involved have a real interest in seeing this project succeed. So it is exciting to come in and work on the project each day.
I also believe that renewable energy technology and independent food production are the two most important areas of technology that should be explored and developed for the future of the planet. With the food and energy problems facing the world such as shortages, inefficiency, waste, and CO2 increases, these problems must be addressed by applying more sustainable technology practices from all disciplines. I feel that this project is a great way for not only the students involved, but UB’s staff, Buffalo’s community, and Solar Decathletes of other schools to spread the ideas and concepts of sustainable building design and show that it really works.