Dr. Dino Ress, professor of sustainable and renewable energy systems at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, is currently supervising two student projects. Both projects are being funded by the Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement.
The first project is an audit-based project with the Prairie Athletic Club, located in Sun Prairie, to cut its water and heat expenses. The athletic club has seen a large expansion in the past few years and aims to cut its energy consumption by $30,000 each year. Students are looking at ways to reduce costs including liquid pool covers, replacing furnaces and the installation of solar water heaters.
The students went through calculations and tests to determine the efficiency of the liquid pool covers.
“We built a model aquarium that simulated the actual pool conditions,” said Rose Henkel, a senior environmental engineering major who is working on this project. “We recorded 24 hours of observation with and without the liquid pool cover to calculate the rate of evaporation.”
The students determined that the liquid cover is worth the investment for the business.
“Without PACCE we cannot construct projects or visit the job site for research,” said Henkel.