UNH Students to Help Municipalities Conserve Energy

UNH Students to Help Municipalities Conserve Energy

by Madalyne Longfellow
Media Relations Graduate Assistant

Connecticut municipalities could soon experience reduced energy bills under a grant awarded to UNH by the Connecticut Campus Compact, a statewide coalition that promotes public and community service.

Under the grant, UNH engineering and sustainability studies students will train municipal employees in Woodbridge, Easton, North Haven, North Branford, West Haven, East Haven, Bridgeport, Milford, Hamden, Ansonia and Derby  on ways to save energy.

Jessica Zielinski '15

Amy Thompson, an assistant professor of industrial and system engineering at UNH, will serve as the project’s faculty adviser. Students will use an energy portfolio management tool developed by the EPA to train municipal officials.

“We want to put the town officials in the driver’s seat,” said Jessica Zielinski, of Madison, Conn, a junior in sustainability studies who will be running the training sessions.

The energy portfolio training grant is the result of portfolios created by UNH students through a previous grant supported by United Illuminating’s Clean Energy Communities program. The portfolio combines all energy consumption information into an easy-to read-and-interpret format.

“The largest cost of making a product used to be the material and the labor, but now energy used to power the building is becoming a more significant cost driver,” said Thompson. “Even in service industries and nonprofits like town offices, there are great savings to be achieved by analyzing and reducing energy usage.

“This allows local communities to make better decisions about how to spend money to reduce energy costs on a continuing basis,” said Thompson. “The project and the Campus Compact grant are great ways for engineering students to give back while gaining exposure to a nontraditional work area.”

Students working on the project include Zielinski, Reece Buendia of Woodinville, Wash., a senior studying system engineering, and Kuang Huang of Taiwan, a graduate student in industrial engineering.

Last year, Adam Sipperly '13 worked with a classmate on a similar project for the town of Woodbridge.

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