Student Displays at RCEA Open House - Humboldt State Now

Student Displays at RCEA Open House

The Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) will host an open house from 5:00 to 7:00 PM on Wed., May 9 2007 featuring eight new energy displays designed and constructed by HSU students as part of a local Service Learning partnership.

The Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) will host an open house from 5:00 to 7:00 PM on Wed., May 9 2007 featuring eight new energy displays designed and constructed by HSU students as part of a local Service Learning partnership.

Eight student teams designed and constructed interactive, professional displays focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy in Humboldt County. “These displays will greatly enhance the quality of information available at the Redwood Coast Energy Resource Center, and will help us to better educate Humboldt residents about applications, resources and opportunities” said RCEA’s Executive Director, David Boyd. The students selected topics of growing public interest and developed them with a focus on local relevance, according to Boyd.

Students in HSU’s Engineering 215 Introduction to Design class developed and built the displays in cooperation with RCEA, which provided design considerations, client feedback, and materials. Over the course of the spring semester, students worked in teams to develop their projects, going from initial problem statement to final solution and execution. Instructors Lonny Grafman and Eileen Cashman, PhD provided design framework, feedback and expertise to guide students in their goals. The teams received many accolades during their recent formal presentation to faculty and community judges, which according to Cashman and Grafman “demonstrated the amazing value of collaborative, community-based projects.”

The displays cover a wide range of energy topics, ranging from efficiency measures available for commercial lighting and industrial motors, to local potential for renewable energy technologies, including grid-connected photovoltaic electricity and solar water heating. One display features a new local efficiency program for vending machines, and includes a soda vending machine which has been refit to dispense free compact fluorescent lamps to Redwood Coast Energy Resource Center (RCERC) visitors. Another display, titled “Are You an Energy Bigfoot?,” invites visitors to enter some basics about their lifestyle and receive an analysis of their carbon footprint.

“I am especially interested in the ‘‘Green Office Practices’’ display”” said Boyd. The team designing that display chose to highlight the sustainable energy, water, and waste practices used at the RCERC, treating the entire resource center as a living display.

The public is invited to the official unveiling, awards ceremony, and viewing of the displays on Wednesday, May 9 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM at the RCERC, 517 5th Street (between F and G) in Eureka.

The displays were made possible in part through a partnership between RCEA and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, known as the Redwood Coast Energy Watch. RCEW funding comes from California utility ratepayers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

RCEA is a Joint Powers Authority, representing seven municipalities (the Cities of Arcata, Blue Lake, Eureka, Ferndale, Fortuna, Trinidad and Rio Dell), the County of Humboldt, and the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District. RCEA’s purpose is to develop and implement sustainable energy initiatives that reduce energy demand, increase energy efficiency, and advance the use of clean, efficient and renewable resources available in the region.