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Students Learning First-Hand About Energy Consumption

From a kegerator to a microwave, students track what it costs to run various household appliances.

Thanks to a donation of 25 Power Check energy meters from Xcel Energy, students in the Principles of Sustainability class now have the ability to test a variety of household appliances to see how much energy is being used.

As business and industry moves into areas of energy conservation, alternative energy sources and sustainability, CVTC has added a Principles of Sustainability class for the first time in the fall semester. James Hanke, economic development manager from Xcel Energy, presented the Power Check meters to Ron Keys, the instructor of the class.

“Working with companies such as Xcel Energy ensures that our students have relevant and current materials, equipment and technology so they are prepared to work with the new energy and sustainability career areas needed for our community,” stated Ron. “Our class is primarily made up of students from our Residential Construction program. It will be fun to work with them, comparing the energy use of appliances and electronics to see what costs more to run.”

Students already put the energy meters to test, plugging in everything from the standard television to the kegerator. “It costs $6 a month to run my kegerator,” said Jeff Long, a residential construction student from Medford. “But it’s worth it!”

One of the more interesting comparisons Ron did with the class was comparing a standard Christmas tree light bulb with the more efficient LED strand of lights. “It takes nine kilowatts of power to run just one standard light bulb,” he said to the class. “And the LED strand of lights doesn’t even register on the meter. So maybe the extra cost of the LED lights is worth the energy savings.”

Ron and other faculty members will be able to use the energy meters in a variety of classes throughout the semester.

Instructor Ron Keys, center in photo, tests the electrical use of a strand of LED Christmas lights while Austin Taylor, left, Residential Construction student, and James Hanke, Xcel Energy community service manager, look on.