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K-State Today

December 7, 2011



A greener future: Engineering students help make president's residence more energy efficient

By Communications and Marketing

Students from the department of architectural engineering and construction science recently had the opportunity to refine a piece of Kansas State University history.

The students, members of the student chapters of the Associated General Contractors and Architectural Engineering Institute, insulated and sealed the attic and crawl space areas of the university president's residence in an effort to showcase best practices in energy savings for homeowners. The volunteer project was completed as part of the recent Take Charge! Challenge between the cities of Manhattan and Lawrence and Kansas State University and the University of Kansas.

An energy audit performed in spring 2011 found that the president's home had a much higher infiltration or air leakage rate than recommended. This was identified as the most cost-effective energy-saving opportunity for the home. Constructed in the early 1920s, the home also had minimal or no insulation in a number of readily accessible attic and crawl space locations.

Elizabeth Gorney, a concurrent bachelor's and master's student in architectural engineering, Clifton, Va., is analyzing the home's energy use as part of her master's research. She participated in the audit and has gathered additional information about the structure, including thermal images. Her major professor, Ray Yunk, associate professor of architectural engineering and construction science, recognized this as an opportunity for students to get involved in a targeted volunteer project that could make an immediate impact and generate more interest in building energy savings. He contacted Ray Buyle, the faculty adviser for the student chapter of the Associated General Contractors and assistant professor of architectural engineering and construction science. The chapter has a long history of performing volunteer work projects on campus, for local schools and churches, and on alternative spring break trips to New Orleans.

Chapter members accepted the project and inventoried the home to come up with a list of required materials for the project. Shortly after the project was approved, Casey Lauer, the university's director of energy and environmental programs, was approached with the idea that if the Division of Facilities would procure the materials, the students would provide the labor. The materials included fiberglass batt insulation, rigid board insulation, spray foam insulation, expanding foam sealant, weather-stripping and caulking.

The student crew put in around 60 hours of dirty -- and sometimes dark -- work installing the energy-saving

improvements earlier this fall. Follow-up testing, analysis and thermal imaging are planned to verify the results.

"We can already tell it is warmer in several areas, so they did make a difference," said Noel Schulz, K-State's first lady and Paslay professor of electrical and computer engineering.

"This is another great example of the cooperative attitude and work ethic of the students and faculty in the K-State department of architectural engineering and construction science," said Dave Fritchen, professor and department head.

The student crew members included:

Caleb Broxterman, sophomore in pre-professional construction science and management, Axtell; Roberto Varela, junior in pre-professional construction science and management, Dodge City; Grant Weber, sophomore in pre-professional construction science and management, Frankfort; Keith Hammerschmidt, senior in architectural engineering, Hays; Richard Iverson, sophomore in pre-professional construction science and management, Holton; Kyle Montoya, junior in construction science and management, Holyrood; Shane Evans, senior in construction science and management, Lenexa; Sean Hood, concurrent, bachelor's and master's student in architectural engineering, and Richard Kim, senior in architectural engineering, both of Manhattan; Garrett Elder, senior in architectural engineering, Olathe; and Chad Jamison, junior in construction science and management, Wakeeney.

From out of state: Adam Neth, senior in architectural engineering, Liberty, Mo.; and Brian Schrotenboer, senior, construction science and management, Wildwood, Mo.

Faculty members assisting included Buyle, Yunk and Eric Bartholomew, assistant professor of architectural engineering and construction science.

More information on the president's residence is available at http://www.k-state.edu/president/residence/.