Three HSU students spent their summer as SERC interns helping to reduce environmental impacts at Redwood National and State Parks. Funding for the collaboration was provided by the nationwide University-National Park Energy Partnership Program (UNPEPP). UNPEPP links national parks with university students to provide energy services to the parks and real-world problem solving opportunities for the students. This was SERC’s sixth UNPEPP-supported project at the Redwood parks since 2000.
The students, environmental resources engineering majors Jeffrey Hinton, Teresa Persons, and Lucas Siegfried, developed a detailed plan to make the park’s Crescent City headquarters more energy efficient. They also designed a solar electric system to offset the building’s electric bills and helped the park to enroll in a national Climate Friendly Parks program.
At the close of their project, the students gave a presentation detailing their findings and recommendations to an enthusiastic audience of park rangers and administrators. The energy saving measures recommended by the students would save the park nearly $8,000 a year on utility bills and pay for themselves in less than one year. Their utility-connected rooftop solar system design could generate more than enough electricity to power the entire building. The students’ emissions inventory determined that vehicles operated in the park are the chief source of greenhouse gases at Redwood.
The interns enjoyed a strong working relationship with personnel at Redwood. “The park staff is very pleased with the professional way Teresa, Jeffrey and Lucas conducted themselves and the outstanding data that they captured on energy use at our headquarters building,” noted Chief of Facilities Management Ray Cozby. “We are implementing many of their recommendations immediately and are pursuing funding for others. We look forward to significant savings on utility costs as well as lowering our overall carbon footprint.”
“Being an UNPEPP intern was a wonderful experience,” said Lucas Siegfried. “I gained a lot of real world knowledge about networking and getting a job done.”