PARKERSBURG - A model house built by students at the Wood County Technical Center was moved Friday to its new home at West Virginia University at Parkersburg.
Taken in two pieces, the 24-by-24-foot home was lifted onto flatbed trucks and then reassembled on a foundation behind the Caperton Center on the campus of WVU-P. The home will be used as a solar lab for the college's energy assessment and management technology and solar energy technology programs.
Doug Kiger, director of the Wood County Technical Center, said collaboration began on the project in 2011 when the college received a grant for construction of a modular home.
Photo by Michael Erb
Crews load part of a solar home onto a flatbed truck Friday at the Wood County Technical Center. The house, constructed by Tech Center students, was moved to West Virginia University at Parkersburg and will be used for college energy and solar technology classes.
"I appreciate the opportunity for the students to get the experience while building something at someone else's expense," he said. "This wasn't just thrown together. It was built with a purpose."
Seniors David Fritz and Ian Elmore acted as student foremen on the project.
"We built this from the ground up," Elmore said. "We started in late October, early November, so it took us about four months to complete."
"It's been a great experience," Fritz said. "I can look at this building a couple of years from now and say 'I did this. I helped build this.' "
Weather issues slowed down construction at times, but Elmore and Fritz said on average a crew of about 10 students put in three hours of work a day on the project.
Elmore said the building contains a variety of designs, from varying window sizes and types to wall thickness and weather proofing. The variation will allow the WVU-P classes to study how different kinds of energy efficient features work, such as thickness of insulation and materials used.
Kiger said wiring of the building will be performed by Caperton Center students, and it will be a fully functioning house.
A foundation for the home was built near the Caperton Center and the home was installed Friday morning.
The home was announced by WVU-P in September of last year, and instructor Gary Thompson said the lab is intended to give students in the energy and solar programs hands-on experience. Both of the programs require a large amount of practical, hands-on work and to complete their degree, EAMT students must collect scientific data characterizing a building's efficiency, analyze and understand the data and then communicate their findings and recommendations. Students in the SET program must be able to perform a site analysis to determine the suitability of a site for solar power installation and then design and install an appropriate solar system.
EAMT students will use the building as a test structure for the Build Performance Institute Building Analyst certification test. Students will quantify and evaluate the building insulation, indoor air quality, and building envelope shell leakage and make recommendation for repairs and upgrades. SET students will install, test and troubleshoot various solar PV and solar hot water systems.
Design of the building was provided by Pickering Associates. Heating and air conditioning installation will be performed by students, and SET students will install solar panels in the home, which will feed energy back into the college.