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David Meredith Named to Committee

November 8, 2006
UNIONTOWN, PA - Penn State Fayette, The Eberly campus associate professor  David Meredith was recently selected as one of approximately thirty professionals to attend a 5-day Department of Energy conference in Lexington, KY.  Hosted by the University of Kentucky, the conference was co-sponsored by the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC).  
“It was an honor to work with faculty and researchers from across the nation, “said Meredith.  “To sit at the table with a professor from the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture (where they only invite the world's top 20 architectural students each year) was cool.  To further the research efforts of a faculty member from Oberlin College in Ohio with work done at Fayette a decade ago was satisfying.  To learn about extreme design methods for temperatures of -50°F from colleagues in Fairbanks, Alaska was exciting.”  
According to Meredith, the objective was to write course curricula to teach the design, construction and operation of sustainable, high performance housing in the U.S.  
“Providing comfort in today's average home costs about 4-5 times as much as it needs to using conventional energy saving methods.  The annual cost in Fayette county to heat a 3-bedroom home should not exceed $300 with fuel oil (about $200 with natural gas).  Our national goal is to develop homes that use Zero energy and still provide the comfort level Americans have come to expect.  It will require some changes in attitude and expectations, but the timing is critically important.”
According to Meredith, the United States peaked in petroleum and natural gas production in 1970 and even though companies are drilling record numbers and length of new wells is greater today, the production is still dropping.  The global supply of oil will be half-consumed sometime in the next few years (if it hasn't already).  
”With China and India expectations exploding, the world could be in for a rough ride if something is not done about the gross energy consumption in the U.S.  With less than 5% of the world's population we consume almost 25% of the world's resources.  And that does not even begin to address the issue of Climate Change, often referred to as Global Warming.  States are now beginning to mandate energy measures that exceed the expectations of the federal government.  This will affect everything from the food chain to the size of Florida as ocean levels continue to rise.”
Meredith explained the local link to this issue is that Penn State Fayette had the first ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology)-accredited Solar Technology program in the nation back in 1982 and we continue to teach energy conservation and sustainable design in the Building Engineering Technology program today.  One recent example is the rain barrels that the Building Engineering Technology students in the Architectural Engineering Technology 103 class built and distributed last year. “Those rain barrels are the first step in a long journey to make homes in this region more environmentally friendly.”
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For more information, contact Melanie Thomas at 724-430-4199.

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