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College catches wind of energy education opportunities (5/03)

Plans to implement an energy program at Cambrian College in Greater Sudbury are taking shape.

Plans to implement an energy program at Cambrian College in Greater Sudbury are taking shape.

John Hood, dean of science skills and technology at the college recently forwarded a proposal to the Association of Canadian Community Colleges for $213,000 to kick start an energy systems technology program focusing on geothermal, wind, solar, biodiesel and conservation energy for the fall semester of 2004.

“Energy is an issue,” Hood says. “We all see energy costs increasing and we all see issues related to petroleum energy, so we have to look at alternate forms.”

The college is partnering with Earth Care Sudbury to establish not only a program, but also the construction of an eco-building. The facility would be the size of a small home on the college’s main campus grounds.

“Since we are partnered with Earth Care Sudbury, which is associated with Greater Sudbury, this (building) would be open to the public.”

The building would be considered a laboratory to allow companies and individual entrepreneurs the opportunity to experiment with different sources of energy, Hood says.

“Companies or individuals could come here and connect up to our building and we would utilize the students at the college” by including them in the practical installation and implementation of the energy forms, he explains. Students from not only the energy program, but also from instrumentation and the chemical and power engineering programs will be involved in the implementation process.

Finding better ways of containing heat in buildings, be it a different type of window glass or a higher “R value” with insulation will also be considered.

“It is one thing to say we have to find other sources of energy, but you can also reduce our dependency on petroleum by reducing energy needs.

“If someone has a way of putting in basement walls that are energy efficient, then they can use this as their lab,” Hood says.

Once the building is complete, it may be used as a day care or student residence, Hood says.

“We want to put a load on it so whatever we put in there can be tested.”

The total cost of the facility is expected to be $250,000 with contributions from private partners and in-kind contributions from Cambrian College.

“We plan on proceeding with the construction of the building regardless of whether we get funding,” Hood says.

The college has to wait for a green light from the Association of Canadian and Community Colleges for funding approval for the program, which should come around May 2003. As well, they will need the consent of the province before offering the program as part of their curriculum.