At the engineering firm of FSC Inc., CEO Sonia Garapaty hosted a Bring Your Kids to Work day for her team members’ children. David Kaibel, manufacturers’ representative of Comfort Sales Agency Inc., had asked my husband, Hot Rod, whom he knows through their Caleffi connection, to participate. (How nice when industry partners collaborate!) About 15 kids, aged 8 to 15 years old, joined us — on a bright, sunny day — to have some fun with the sun.
Hot Rod set up a full array of solar experiments, including:
Hot Rod topped an evacuated-tube solar collector with a tea kettle. During the course of the hour-long event, the water heated to 195 F. He explained how a vacuum is a perfect insulator and why the outer layer of the collector was so cool.
Hot Rod had gauges and thermometers on everything. The kids had lots of questions, and they had a few problems already identified. Like, what do you do with the extra hot water? And, is battery technology capable of handling PV storage requirements? It was a sharp crowd. There were some neat, organic learning moments, too. The dark PV panel was hot, yet the white table on which it was sitting was cool. And the event took place in front of a glass-cube office building. One of the kids asked, “Could that whole building be solar panels?” It sure could.
My favorite part was how some of the kids were making connections between the simple components and how one might configure them. Someone asked, “You could create a gofundme or Kickstarter for a new product?” Absolutely!
It was a wonderful event! Hats off to the folks at Comfort Sales and FSC MEP Engineers. Hot Rod’s demo (thanks, Caleffi NA) was part of a day designed to introduce the children to the world of engineering and alternative energy. They involved their team members to lead activities in CAD design, basic coding and world-wide approaches to energy. They led a rousing game of Bingo to review all that they had experienced.
Finally, they topped the day off with Make-Your-Own Sundaes. Certainly, there are engineering skills involved in making a banana split!
I was super proud of Hot Rod’s presentation. He was lovely to the kids, encouraging with their questions and respectful of their differing levels of understanding.
My hope is to inspire you to engage in local community events, to educate young people of all ages to embrace the opportunities in the trades. Alternative energy is the most exciting emerging market across the globe. Each of us has a unique experience within the energy and contracting world. From engineering to hands-on installations to manufacturing to journalism to business building and more! How cool to share these experiences with those who will ultimately take our places and move our communities towards prosperous, sustainable, energy and building solutions.
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Are you already doing cool, educational activities in your community? We at PHC News would love to hear it! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the editors email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We love pictures, too!