Architecture students, faculty hope Delta research will impact state

October 15th, 2015 Comments Off on Architecture students, faculty hope Delta research will impact state

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Edward Holmes and Ben Marshall, fourth-year architecture students and members of the Audit Squad, work in Greenwood.

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When Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow Emily Roush-Elliot recently secured a grant to conduct energy audits on a sample of low income housing in Greenwood, she knew just who to call on – the Audit Squad!

Using equipment she purchased from a previous grant, Assistant Professor of Architecture Emily McGlohn and her students, the Audit Squad, joined with Roush-Elliot to test air infiltration rates of 28 houses in Greenwood.

The group, which includes architecture student research assistants Ashtyn Bryant, Edward Holmes and Ben Marshall, has made six trips to Greenwood to conduct the tests where they are comparing the newly installed Katrina Houses in Baptist Town to a span of similar types of houses built in the area in 50s, 60s and 90s.

“Poor air infiltration rates – how much air passes through the building’s envelope – has monetary and health burdens associated with it,” explained McGlohn. “And a lot of times, low income housing isn’t very energy efficient. Since high air infiltration rates relate to how much heating and cooling you are losing, they also relate to high utility bills,” said McGlohn, “our goal is to identity issues and make recommendations to homeowners for improvements.”

The group is using their results to create “home energy retrofit” kits and a brochure that will explain what is causing higher energy bills and how to install easy fixes provided in the kits. Kits will include items such as caulk, weather stripping, window unit air conditioner covers, etc.)

“One of the biggest issues we see is that homeowners often keep their a.c. units in the window during the winter. So, covers will be included in the kits as an easy fix to help keep some of the heat from escaping,” said McGlohn.

The Audit Squad hopes the information they are gathering will encourage other housing nonprofits throughout the state to invest in home energy retrofits for their clients and to build more efficiently to begin with.

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