I have the pleasure of introducing my next featured Mover and Shaker in TS DesignsLand – Stuart Pendergraph. As the very first Green Intern TS Designs has ever had, Stuart has set the bar high for interns to come. I first met him back in February – in a meeting I had only a small amount of business being in with the Energy Giants of TS Designs. He was definitely in his element. If you are one of our many devout blog followers, you’ve probably already given his Energy Audit a look and said, “WOW”.
From planning to cut holes in our roof with Tom to working with fancy high-tech equipment I’ve only ever seen in Predator, Stuart has been making big changes here at TS Designs. Some energy saving solutions have been as grand in scale as replacing entire walls with windows – others are as small as attaching motion detectors to the lights used everyday. Any way you slice it, he has truly made a positive impact here as TS Designs.
Okay, now I’ll let him talk.
Me (N): What drew you to the internship program through Alamance Community College?
Stuart (S): I was enrolled in the HVAC program at Alamance Community College when the “green” certification program started up and I was interested in learning more about renewable energy. Like many others before me, I too came to realize that our dependence on fossil fuels is destroying more than just our environment. America imports a majority of its oil from the volatile middle east region and this makes us very vulnerable when it comes to national security. We are fortunate to live in a nation that has a vast amount of untapped renewable resources. The Southwestern region of America is called the “solar Saudi Arabia” because of the lack of precipitation and clouds. Both of our coastlines have huge wind energy potential, along with the mid-western corridor. Just look at how Saudi Arabia is beginning to embrace solar energy and they happen to be sitting atop an ocean of oil. That ought to open your eyes.
N: How has your work at TS Designs informed what you will do with your future?
S: I believe that energy conservation is the most crucial piece of the puzzle. If your building is wasting energy due to leaks and improper insulation, then why would you install expensive solar panels on your roof? Companies today are looking for ways to reduce operating cost without spending too much money and energy conservation gives you the most “bang for your buck”.
My work at TS Designs has prepared me for the challenges that an energy auditor will face when working with industries. It is the responsibility of the energy auditor to discover the problem areas that exist within a building and make recommendations for reducing or eliminating wasted energy. In my opinion, energy auditing will be the fastest growing segment within the renewable energy realm and my internship at T.S. Designs was a wonderful opportunity to gain some practical experience.
N: What was the most challenging task you had to undertake while working at TS Designs & how did you overcome it?
S: Working with Tom (only kidding). Tom was very helpful and understanding during my internship. He spent many hours helping me understand how to incorporate Excel spreadsheets into my energy audit. Learning how to use this software to extract important information for my report was one of the hardest challenges that I had to overcome.
N: What is something you never thought you’d have done before you started your position at TS? (Like installing skylights with Tom on the roof.)
S: Using a thermal imaging camera and gas analyzer to gather information for my report. The thermal camera always draws a crowd when it is being used because it is totally awesome. It sees the heat energy emitted from objects and it is used to detect heat gain and loss.
N: Talk about some of the cool changes you implemented all over the TS Designs facility.
S: As an intern, I was only allowed to make recommendations, document implementation and calculate energy/cost savings. There were some “cool” changes made by Tom that helped save some energy. The skylights were a simple solution to a big lighting problem. The skylights were designed, built and installed by Tom to eliminate dark areas within the building, without having to install additional lighting. Motion controlled lighting was also used in several locations throughout the building to reduce power use when people were not working in the area.
N: What advice can you give to a young professional thinking about diving into the world of sustainability, energy, etc.?
S: Be patient. America is slowly beginning to embrace the renewable energy concept and the future is looking bright. Pun intended.