TheNew York State Energy Research and Development Authorityrecently awarded $205,000 to Integral Building Design, which is partnering with SUNY Ulster to turn one of its original campus buildings into a state-of-the-art, energy-efficiency building-science “lab house” training facility.
The facility will be called the
Kelder Science Lab and Test House. Located on the Stone Ridge Campus, it will
be used for hands-on energy efficiency training by the Hudson Valley’s
five-college Clean Energy Technology Training Consortium, which includes
Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland and Sullivan county community colleges. The
consortium has been active in developing training programs in clean energy
technologies and energy efficiency with support from NYSERDA.
Building-science lab houses,
also known as pressure houses, are built and outfitted so the entire house
becomes a building-science laboratory, demonstrating energy loss issues and
other problems faced by those working in energy-efficiency fields.
This lab house is one of five
such facilities being developed across New York State with NYSERDA funding to
increase regional access to hands-on field training and testing facilities that
prepare energy-efficiency workers for certifications. The other NYSERDA-funded
lab houses are located in Queens, Schenectady, Plattsburgh and Long Island.
The Kelder building was the
original farmhouse on the apple orchard donated to Ulster County in 1964 for
creation of the community college. A two-story addition was built in the 1970s,
so the combined space could be used as a conference center. The building has
most recently been used for storage.
“The development of an
energy-efficiency training lab house is central to SUNY Ulster’s mission,” said
Dr. Donald Katt, president of SUNY Ulster. “This project is in keeping with the
college’s vision to provide accessible, relevant programs to our community. To
do so in such a sustainably focused way allows SUNY Ulster to continue to be a
leader in energy-efficiency training.”
Francis J. Murray Jr., president
and CEO of NYSERDA, added: “Contractors have told us overwhelmingly that job
applicants with hands-on work experience are the most attractive job
candidates. This lab house will meet that need by providing learning in a
Building Performance Institute
certification courses, field training on air leakage and duct testing, and
field testing will take place in the Kelder House addition. Once completed, this
facility will be a valuable resource in training and educating building
professionals throughout the region.
Beyond energy efficiency,
students and seasoned professionals alike will have opportunities to gain
experience and expertise in a wide range of sustainable building practices.
Many of the trainings will focus on how to improve existing buildings, with
special attention to the problems found in older homes, including issues
related to high energy usage, moisture damage, improper ventilation, draftiness
and poor indoor air-quality.
Integral Building Design Inc.,
in partnership with SUNY Ulster Community College, Ulster YouthBuild and other
project sponsors, is investing approximately $313,000 of in-kind support into
the project. Ulster YouthBuild members will provide labor to retrofit the
original house and will receive a Basics of Building Science course at no cost.