The objective of the Sustainability Demonstration House project is to retrofit the Kettle Gundlach building for energy, water, and gas efficiency. After the renovations, AEE plans to use the house to share sustainability with students and the public and share our experience with those who may be looking to improve the sustainability of their own homes.
In 2016, AEE partnered with Superior Ideas to spread public awareness of the Sustainability Demonstration House project. Before the project began, the Gundlach building was largely unused. Formerly the president’s residence, the building recently had at most one resident. Once the house is retrofitted, it is the team’s goal to open the house to residents who can test out many different methods of sustainable living firsthand and give feedback on their experience.
The team is currently working on exploring methods to implement simultaneously in the Sustainability Demonstration House. One method includes creating a mathematical model of the house to analyze heat loss through walls, windows, etc. and adding insulation where needed. Additionally, the project will include smart meters, which will be used to manage and lower energy, water, and gas usage and enable the team to track improvements made to the house. There are also options to improve energy usage by replacing inefficient appliances throughout the house.
The Sustainability Demonstration House will be opened to the public for those who are interested in the project while these improvements are underway. It is likely the house will undergo long-term efficiency analysis so it can be seen how the changes improved its sustainability. These results are planned to be published through our partnerships with groups on campus and in the community.
Throughout this project, AEE has been lucky enough to work with some very important organizations as well as numerous highly motivated individuals. Working alongside the Director of Sustainability at Michigan Tech, the ETEC enterprise, the MTU Social Science department, and various individuals around the Keweenaw Peninsula has helped drastically with the forward progress of this community project. Our approach with this project is to get the community as involved as possible. We plan to continue to reach out to others in the area who would desire to be a part in the project.
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