The project to build a Saint Francis University Tiny
Classroom is officially a reality! The Tiny Classroom Big Impact project,
currently under construction, will provide hands-on, renewable energy education
for SFU students and community members in central and southwestern Pennsylvania.
A year ago, the Institute for Energy dreamed an idea to construct a tiny mobile
classroom. They envisioned the classroom
would utilize renewable energy and serve as a teaching tool about
sustainability and power technologies for communities in the region. Two local organizations are making that dream
come true. In February, the Community
Foundation for the Alleghenies (CFA) pledged $21,200 for the project, and in
July, the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund (WPPSEF) contributed $23,000.
Environmental Engineering students helped with the design
concept as part of their Senior Capstone project last semester. Students
enrolled in the new Energy Technology and Policy minor will utilize the
classroom as well. The lab will include a 1.56 kW solar PV system with battery
storage, a small deployable wind turbine, a see-through wall demonstrating
insulation techniques, a biomass heater, and other energy related technologies.
The mobile power lab will travel around the region providing the opportunity for
participants to experience renewable energy applications that may be feasible
for use in their home.
“The Tiny Classroom Big Impact project allows our
organization to reach a much broader audience and bring renewable energy to the
people” says Allison Rohrs, SFU Institute for Energy Director. “Lots of people have heard about these
technologies, but few have stepped inside a solar powered house or touched a
wind turbine blade. We hope this
experiential learning inspires our community to be more sustainable and
thoughtful about their energy use. We
are so excited to offer this new program and very grateful for the support from
CFA and WPPSEF.”
Please contact Allison Rohrs, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are interested
in volunteering or have general inquiries.