When it comes to understanding new green industries and technologies, nothing beats hands-on experience. That is the idea behind one of the Shreveport Job Corps Center’s biggest ARRA-funded projects – the “premier green home.”
Instructors saw an opportunity to take advantage of an old shed on campus that had been unused for years, and turn it into a home that the entire campus could take part in building. It became known as the premier green home because it was built entirely out of green materials and involved four career training areas – carpentry, painting, welding, and Home Builders Institute (HBI).
This project not only gave valuable experience to students but allowed the center to work with several local contractors, providing welcomed business to these companies and establishing relationships that will benefit students and the center in the future.
“The premier green home is essentially one big instructional project,” said Steven Ingle, Shreveport Job Corps Center Team Manager. “It is a great way to provide hands-on training to students and teach them about important green technologies they will need to know when they graduate and start looking for jobs.”
The premier green home is laid out like a traditional home, but a closer look reveals the materials and technologies used aren’t traditional at all.
Locally manufactured bald cypress, pine, and cedar wood were used throughout the home. Bamboo, which has a high insulation value, was installed on walls by the Carpentry and HBI students.
The home’s bathroom has an innovative greywater system, which recycles water used on the chillers in the building next door and from the gutter system, allowing the toilet to operate using no water from the city water system. The bathroom also has a waterless urinal, which uses no water at all. The pipes are made of PVC and copper, which are recyclable materials, and the low-flow aerators on showerheads and fixtures are the most energy-efficient available on the market. The bathroom also includes a vintage clawfoot tub, which was purchased for welding students to refurbish.
Topping off the premier green home is a bedroom furnished with a bed that welding students made from old iron fencing that was taken down at the center. Welding students also built the table and chairs located in the dining room.
“This project taught me how to reuse items that you already have, but might not realize you can use again,” Welding student Jerry Walker said. “It is very important to learn to reuse things so that you won’t be throwing away your money or creating unnecessary waste.”
Low-wattage, energy-efficient zone heating and cooling systems were installed throughout the house. These units, which run on timers, cool or heat only the specific room in which they are located, which saves money on electrical costs.
To provide energy to the premier green home, the center took advantage of another ARRA-funded project on center. Energy generated from the solar panels that were installed on the academic building across the street is transported to the green home via an electrical wire. From there the energy is put into the power grid, which supplies power to the green home.
Because of the innovative green technologies that were used on the premier green home, it uses half the energy of a traditional home of the same size.
Now that construction is finished on the premier green home, it will be used for training and educating future students and community members. A group of local veterans recently visited the home to learn how to make their own homes more energy-efficient. The center also plans to include more green technologies in the house as they become available.