SERC Helps HSU Tackle Campus Energy Use

SERC is in its third year of providing technical mentoring to HSU’s Humboldt Energy Independence Fund (HEIF). This innovative program collects a small fee from each HSU student every semester and uses this pool of funding to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on campus. Among the many projects completed to date are a photovoltaic system on a campus rooftop and a retrofit of playfield lighting in the Redwood Bowl stadium. HEIF projects include student participation from initial idea development to full design and implementation. Students also participate actively alongside faculty and staff in HEIF program governance.

SERC engineers Richard Engel and Tom Quetchenbach currently oversee two teams of paid student HEIF interns. This year’s projects include:

  • a comprehensive inventory of campus lighting. Results are being shared with campus building maintenance staff, who will use the data to set lighting retrofit priorities.
  • development of energy-efficiency standards for campus remodels. Students are working with the campus Facilities Planning office to ensure such standards are used to specify new equipment, starting with energy-saving light fixtures.
  • creation of computer models to design indoor and outdoor retrofit projects for stage lighting in the music department’s main recital hall and roadway lighting for a campus entrance.

Tom and Richard support these projects by meeting regularly with the students, helping them plan their work, take field measurements, learn to use software, and solve other engineering problems.

HEIF interns and SERC mentor pore over campus building drawings.

The HEIF building standards team includes (left to right) interns Eric Sorensen and Danielle Burkhart and SERC mentor Tom Quetchenbach. Photo credit Michael Fisher.

Speaker Series: Sheri Woo and Carol Rische on Mad River Water Use Options

We are pleased to announce Carol Rische and Sheri Woo as the next presenters in the spring 2013 Sustainable Futures Speaker Series. Carol and Sheri will speak on Thursday, April 11 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm in the Behavior and Sciences Building room 166 (BSS 166) on the HSU campus. The title of their talk is “Evaluating Mad River Water Use
Options: A Local Issue with Regional Impacts.”

Sheri Woo is a licensed civil engineer who writes environmental science content. She prepares permitting documents with HT Harvey & Associates, is a Board Director of the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, holds shares in a local environmental firm, and is chair of the ArMack Orchestra parent committee (because, she says, in Humboldt
County, one can’t have too many jobs).

Carol Rische is a registered professional engineer who joined the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District (HBMWD) in 1996. She was appointed General Manager in March 2000. Prior to working at HBMWD, she was employed at PG&E for 12 years, initially in engineering and then in management.

Carol and Sheri’s talk focuses on a critically important set of water resource issues for Humboldt County and the wider region. Economic changes in the Humboldt Bay Region, including the closure of some high water consumption industries such as pulp mills, are forcing planners and the broader community to rethink water management in the Mad River watershed. As Carol and Sheri will explain, decisions made over the coming years could have far reaching implications. If you are interested in resource issues and economic development in Humboldt County, this is not a talk that you will want to miss.

Hydrogen Fueling Station Upgrade

SERC engineers have completed the testing phase of the project’s commissioning plan. Two critical and successful steps in the plan were the high pressure testing of the 700 bar dispensing system and hydrogen gas analysis. The gas analysis, performed by two independent laboratories, indicate that the station’s gas quality meets the Hydrogen Fuel Quality for Fuel Cell Vehicles (SAE J2719) requirements set forth by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

The final task for project completion will be the initial 700 bar hydrogen fueling of one of the Toyota FCHV-adv vehicles. Toyota engineers will be on-site to monitor the fueling process and ensure that station operators follow proper vehicle fueling protocols.

Toyota FCHV-adv

The fueling station now serves two Toyota FCHV-adv; the second vehicle, also on loan from UC Berkeley, arrived at SERC in July.