Carol Brzozowski 2015-11-11 14:41:55
The concepts of energy efficiency seem so technical to those outside of the field that non-technical employees in commercial and government facilities don’t give it much thought—it’s beyond their comprehension. Scott C. Dunning, Ph.D., P.E., a professor and director of the School of Engineering Technology at the University of Maine, wants to change that. Dunning seeks to help companies develop a culture of energy efficiency by training entry-level employees in basic energy concepts. His tool: the Energy Efficiency Practitioner (EEP) program offered through the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE). Dunning partnered with his colleague Christopher Russell to create a customizable program to engage people from all disciplines in the process of implementing best practices at work and at home in energy efficiency. The idea came from a conversation with Al Thumann, executive director of the Association of Energy Engineers. They were discussing how many of the lessons taught to engineers as part of the Certified Energy Manager program could be shared with non-technical workers without the use of rigorous calculations. The result is a two-and-a-half-day course that covers the most common topics in energy efficiency and relates the concepts to typical residential equipment, providing attendees with a common frame of reference. “As people apply the knowledge in their homes and see the savings in their energy bills, they become engaged in the workplace to produce energy savings,” notes Dunning. What He Does Day to Day The EEP course is one of several courses that Dunning has developed for AEE. The training courses are part of his outreach and professional development as director of the School of Engineering Technology at the University of Maine. His duties there include serving as academic dean for more than 500 students in four technical disciplines and teaching undergraduate classes in electrical engineering technology. What Led Him to This Line of Work Dunning’s academic training was in electrical engineering, and he earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. at the University of Maine. His research focused on methods to optimize the delivery of electricity through the nation’s power grid. After working as a power systems engineer for several years, he developed an interest in teaching and accepted a position on faculty at the University of Maine. Dunning was disappointed at the limited available research funding opportunities in power systems at the time, so he began focusing on energy efficiency. He received a recurring grant from the US Department of Energy in 1993 to establish an Industrial Assessment Center to train students in energy efficiency and provide energy audits for manufacturers. After seven years of energy auditing, he developed a desire to help Maine companies move beyond energy audits to new product development. He teamed with several like-minded faculty members, and the result was the University of Maine Advanced Manufacturing Center. He served as executive director of the new program from startup through construction of its current 30,000-square-foot facility leading projects, ranging from new medical devices to complete manufacturing process lines. After five years, he was offered the opportunity to lead the School of Engineering Technology and has served in that position ever since. What He Likes Best About His Work “Engineering training helps you develop insight into how things work and I really like applying that knowledge to help people,” says Dunning. “I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to teach energy efficiency to people throughout the world and I have really enjoyed learning from people I’ve met through the courses.” His Greatest Challenge Dunning is passionate about raising awareness of how we use energy in our lives. “As humans, we can produce about one-eighth horsepower. Each day, I travel to work in a vehicle that produces 200 horsepower or the approximate work of 1,600 humans, yet most of us rarely consider that. Our natural desire is to improve our comfort and without energy awareness, we will continue to drive increases in world energy consumption.” Carol Brzozowski writes on the topics of technology and industry.
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