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NAIT partners with Student Energy in new Ventures pilot project

By Admin User on March 9, 2022

NAIT has joined forces with renewable resource company Student Energy in a new Student Energy Ventures pilot project. The partnership encourages students to set the pace in sustainable energy resource endeavours.

The project is a government-funded initiative to involve students in clean energy projects throughout Western Canada. Sean Collins, the Senior Director of Student Energy Ventures, hopes the project will act as an initial guide to helping other students and institutes set up clean energy resources.

“We set an organizational goal to try and help kickstart ten-thousand youth-led energy projects by the end of the decade,” said Collins.

NAIT is the first institute to take part in the Ventures initiative.

According to Dr. Jim Sandercock, the Chair of NAIT’s Alternative Energy Program, the partnership is a chance for students to gain working knowledge of their career field.

“We want to do as much at NAIT that is as real-world as possible, and here’s a project that’s literally set up an actual, you know, solar project,” said Sandercock.

Students of NAIT’s Alternative Energy Program, Jack Harding and Ethan Buchanan, are the pilot project leads. They are the first to undertake the endeavour with small-scale rooftop solar panelling.

“I had no clue about how important this project would be. I just thought it was working with a company to work on one of their other projects. I didn’t think it’d be something as important as this,” said Buchanan.

The project on NAIT’s roof is set to be commissioned in May of this year. Resources and documents will be granted to other institutions and individuals for those curious about creating a project of their own.

“Part of what we’re trying to do is show that a large part of it all can be done by anyone,” said Harding.

While Alberta has some of the best sunlight in the country, solar panels are a resource that can make a lot of difference for the environment.

“We’re reducing the effects of climate change by not contributing as much in terms of pollutants as you would with coal or natural gas energy source. It’s a renewable resource. It doesn’t make any noise. It’s pretty innocuous once it’s installed,” said Harding.

NAIT’s sustainability effort hopes to decrease waste and increase its use of natural resources in the future.

“As we’re making new buildings, as we’re doing renovations on old buildings, we can really put the entire institute on much more of an energy diet. We’re not talking about turning off the lights and making the students cold during lecture, I mean, we can still deliver all of our energy needs, but we could definitely do it in a more efficient way,” said Sandercock.



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