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Institute for Energy Tiny Classroom

    • Mobile Power Lab
  • The Saint Francis University Institute for Energy's new tiny mobile power lab serves as an educational resource for SFU students and surrounding communities. 

  • Features include:

    • Solar panels with battery storage
    • Biomass pellet stove
    • Small wind turbine blade
    • Wall insulation demonstrations
    • and more to come!


    The "Tiny Classroom, Big Impact" project would not be possible without the gracious support of:
        Community Foundation for the Alleghenies logo   West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund Logo    Constellation, an Exelon company

    Redstone Renewable Energy, LLC

    WESS Energy Saving Systems

  • Recent News


    We welcomed students and staff from Seton LaSalle Catholic High School to the tiny classroom!


    It's a snowy December day in Loretto, but the pellet stove is keeping us warm!

    Tiny Classroom Snow


    An article about tiny spaces and featuring Saint Francis' tiny classroom appeared on the front page of today's Altoona Mirror! It has been picked up by the Associated Press and published nationally by a number of news organizations, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Centre Daily TimesChicago Tribune, Washington Times, Houston Chronicle, Miami Herald, Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times, and U.S. News & World Report.

    Fall 2017 News Updates


    Our first presentations at the tiny classroom were held today: SFU Science Day! Local high school students got to check out our new educational outreach center. #becomethatscientist

    Tiny Classroom Science Day 2017 Collage



    To help support the unit traveling to schools and events around the state, the SFU Institute for Energy was recently awarded a $20,000 grant from Constellation, an Exelon company

    Constellation, an Exelon companySFU was one of only 18 projects nationwide to receive a grant. "Energy innovation and creativity are essential to what we do every day,” said Joe Nigro, CEO, Constellation. “It’s a privilege to support and celebrate this year’s grant recipients for exhibiting their own innovation and creativity. That level of passion — in areas such as science, math, and technology — will foster the energy leaders of tomorrow.”

    Read more about the project



    Tiny Classroom Arrival

    The tiny classroom/mobile power lab is complete and just arrived on campus! What a transformation! We are excited to host our first group of students through it next Tuesday for SFU Science Day. Let us know if you'd like it to make a stop at your school or event. HUGE THANKS to Community Foundation for the Alleghenies and West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund for supporting this project!

    Construction Updates


    Tiny Classroom Exterior

    The tiny classroom construction phase is almost complete. The sign is now up! Internally, the biomass pellet stove is working and the solar panels are ready to charge the batteries. We hope to have the unit in Loretto in a few days.



    The inverter for the solar panels has arrived and been installed by Redstone Renewable Energy, LLC. Now to test the system to see if the panels charge the batteries!



    The exterior is complete, except for one small spot where the biomass stove will exhaust. We have received the biomass stove and are preparing for its installation. The inverter will hopefully arrive soon so that Redstone Renewable Energy can hook up the solar system to the batteries. We can then finish the front wall. Insulation installation has begun.

    Insulation Installation



    The exterior of the tiny classroom is almost complete! Two sides are 100% done.

    Tiny Classroom Outside Side
    We need to install our biomass stove and corresponding exhaust pipe before we can finish the back side. The stove and piping have been ordered and are ready for pick up.

    Tiny Classroom Outside Side Not Finished
    Because the tiny classroom will use both battery backup and “RV Style” grid tie, we need a special inverter. We special ordered the inverter 12 weeks ago and are still waiting for its arrival. Once that’s in, the 1.56 kW solar installation will be complete and we can finish the exterior of the last side. After the exterior is complete, construction on the interior will commence. Construction is expected to be finished by early November.

    Tiny Classroom Volunteer

    The project is being built with the support of community volunteers!


    July 2017

    Redstone Renewable Energy, LLC of State College, PA, installed the tiny classroom's solar panels. The six modules combine to create a 1.68 kW solar array.  The panels will produce electricity in DC, so an inverter will be used to convert the electricity to AC for use in the tiny classroom. This system will also feature a battery system.

     Solar Panel Installation


    May 2017

    We purchased a tiny house shell to turn into the tiny classroom!

    First Visit to Campus


     Fall 2016 - Spring 2017
    Tiny Office Project

    A team of students in the SFU Environmental Engineering program worked with the Institute for their senior capstone project, developing a design that conformed to the Institute's initial concept for the tiny classroom/office.


    Fall 2016

    The idea to construct a mobile energy education space is conceived. 

  • Tiny Classroom Contact Form

     Interested in the tiny classroom visiting your school or community?
    Submit your contact information below to let us know!

    Tour Visit Request
    and/or Comment:

    *Please note: While we try to provide outreach to the community as much as possible, our schedule, budget, and the weather may mean we cannot honor all requests for visits from the tiny classroom. If we are unable to make it to your community at this time, remember you are always welcome to come visit us in Loretto.