Technical School Outreach
The Technical School Outreach initiative is an innovative educational opportunity brought to you by Energy Trust of Oregon's ENERGY STAR® New Homes program. It is designed to integrate energy efficiency and building science curriculum into technical school education.
At its core, Technical School Outreach is a student and teacher development program, offering a combination of classroom and field learning experiences. The program is structured to introduce participants to the theories and best practices for energy efficient, climate-specific residential design and construction. With its flexible menu of educational tools and materials, the initiative provides schools with an opportunity to incorporate cutting edge curriculum and project-based learning experiences into existing technical programs.
Technical School Outreach utilizes a unique "House as a System" approach in which the interactions of all systems are carefully considered to design and construct homes that are energy efficient, durable and comfortable. Students are introduced to key building science concepts through a series of training modules. Field experiences, led by local and regional industry experts, are offered to reinforce and expand on key concepts, while introducing best practice specifications for design and installation.
The educational activities offered by the initiative culminate in a Career Summit, delivered in collaboration with participating high schools, sponsoring colleges, green building organizations and industry professionals. Additionally, a group learning exchange event, delivered in partnership with participating schools, industry experts and building material manufacturing representatives, helps reinforce skills and knowledge that have been gained by participants.
Customized educational modules are administered onsite by industry professionals and technical experts. An introductory module provides the context for energy conservation and summarizes energy efficiency strategies endorsed by the ENERGY STAR New Homes program. Additional modules target areas such as air sealing, insulation, mechanical ventilation, heating and cooling, solar technologies and building diagnostics, as well as emerging technologies such as tankless water heaters and radiant floor heating.
Field experiences at ENERGY STAR home building sites provide students with hands-on training in areas such as effective air sealing techniques, framing alternatives, proper installation of mechanical systems, insulation material alternatives, blower door diagnostic testing and renewable energy applications.
Technical School Outreach features a number of hands-on demonstrations to engage students. I-SMART HouseTM is a unique exploded-view architectural model used to illustrate a wide range of current building science and construction principles. A "How to Build Better" book and educational sheets accompany the workshop modules.
A job recruitment event provides students and teachers with important exposure to career opportunities, while educating potential employers about the achievements and value of technical school programs.
Students join in a building exercise in which they create a project under the guidance of an industry expert. At the same time, instructors attend a professional development seminar. The learning exchange concludes with a critique of the projects created. It also can serve as preparation for the regional and national Skills USA competitions.
To learn more about New Homes Technical School Outreach, contact the appropriate program staff member or call us at 1.866.368.7878.