The University of Canterbury Student Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) are making great progress with their innovative ‘Warm Homes’ programme, led by Vanessa Lowe. They have put together some simple equipment required for a “home energy check kit”, and developed a simple home energy check process. This process is a team effort, where six members of EWB work together to conduct a rapid assessment of the energy efficiency of student dwellings. The team then develop an action plan based on the findings of the assessment for both the landlord and the tenant.
The rapid assessment has been piloted in one home, and EWB is now ramping up to roll out more assessments within the EWB student community. Long term, Vanessa’s aspirations are to apply for sponsorship for low cost energy efficiency materials (e.g. draught stopping), and move beyond EWB members to deliver an education programme to a wider student population on how to look for a warm, energy efficient home. Vanessa also hopes that any information collected about student rental properties can be collated and made publicly available so that prospective tenants have good information about the energy efficiency of the property they are looking to rent.
Congratulations to Vanessa and EWB on this very exciting initiative – a first for UC students!