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UNH Students to Help Municipalities Conserve Energy

Release Date:
4/14/2014 12:00 AM

April 14, 2014

Jessica Zielinski, features-2 Jessica Zielinski

WEST HAVEN, CONN. – Connecticut municipalities could soon experience reduced energy bills under a grant awarded to the University of New Haven by the Connecticut Campus Compact, a statewide coalition that promotes public and community service.

Under the grant, UNH engineering and sustainability studies students will train municipal employees in Woodbridge, Easton, North Haven, North Branford, West Haven, East Haven, Bridgeport, Milford, Hamden, Ansonia, and Derby,  on ways to save energy.

Amy Thompson, an assistant professor of industrial and system engineering at the University of New Haven, will serve as the project’s faculty adviser. Students will use an energy portfolio management tool developed by the EPA to train municipal officials.

“We want to put the town officials in the driver’s seat,” said Jessica Zielinski, of Madison, Conn, a UNH junior in sustainability studies who will be running the training sessions.

The energy portfolio training grant is the result of portfolios created by UNH students through a previous grant supported by United Illuminating’s Clean Energy Communities program. The portfolio combines all energy consumption information into an easy to read and interpret format.

“The largest cost of making a product used to be the material and the labor, but now energy used to power the building is becoming a more significant cost driver,” said Thompson. “Even in service industries and non-profits like town offices, there are great savings to be achieved by analyzing and reducing energy usage.

“This allows local communities to make better decisions about how to spend money to reduce energy costs on a continuing basis,” said Thompson. “The project and the Campus Compact Grant are great ways for engineering students to give back while gaining exposure to a nontraditional work area.”

Students working on the project include; Zielinski, Reece Buendia of Woodinville, Wash., a senior studying system engineering, and Kuang Huang of Taiwan, a graduate student in industrial engineering.

For more information, contact Thompson at

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. Founded in 1920 the University enrolls approximately 1,800 graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates.