An Energy-Saving Home on the Range

window experiment

SERC engineer Richard Engel (right) and students compare thermal performance of double and single panel glass. (Photo Credit SERC)

A few months ago, staff of southern Oregon’s Siskiyou Field Institute (SFI) asked SERC to help make SFI’s newly acquired Deer Creek Center (DCC) a showcase for clean energy. SFI is a non-profit dedicated to increasing scientific understanding of the Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion through outdoor education. The Institute wanted to put solar energy to work on the DCC’s half-century-old, 6,000-square-foot ranch house. SERC staff explained to our counterparts at SFI that they would get more bang for their limited bucks by tackling energy efficiency first. So the Institute hired SERC to perform a comprehensive energy audit.

SFI, in keeping with their educational mission, also invited students from nearby Illinois Valley High School to participate in a full day of energy auditor and renewable power training put on by SERC’s Richard Engel and Stephen Kullmann. Stephen, a master’s student in international development technologies at HSU, is hoping to build his master’s thesis around the development of a comprehensive clean energy strategy for the whole 870-acre DCC property.

SERC found many opportunities for energy upgrades, including building insulation and appliance replacement. The high school students participated eagerly in the hands-on training, carrying out energy experiments and fanning out in teams to look for ways to help SFI save energy throughout the house. This applied learning experience was another chance for SERC to share our sustainable energy know-how for the benefit of our bioregion.