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Green building class benefits high schools, Habitat for Humanity


Green building Using paper, tape, and dry pasta, students from the Giles County Technology Center take part in an exercise to demonstrate material life cycle planning.

May 13, 2015 – This school year, high school students at the Giles County Technology Center worked to create a house for Habitat for Humanity in their shop. Though they have a good grasp of traditional building methods, the students weren’t familiar with green building practices. School officials and representatives from Habitat for Humanity approached Associate Professor Daniel Hindman for help.

Hindman volunteered to have students in his Green Building Systems course provide lessons on green building for the high school students. The concept so impressed Technology Center Principal Forest Fowler that he asked Hindman to present the idea to a group of technical educators and administrators from Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, and Pulaski county schools as well as New River Community College.

The Virginia Tech students, all juniors and seniors, were tasked with creating models, posters, and interactive displays to demonstrate green building concepts. Working in teams of three or four, they addressed the topics of energy use, disaster protection, the definition of green building, material life cycle planning, passive house concepts, and construction details of floors, roofs, and walls.

More than 30 high school students and teachers visited campus in November to see the student presentations and demonstrations of the models they created. “I realized this was a great project to get my students involved in,” Hindman said. “They demonstrated what they had learned over the course of the semester by creating teaching modules on aspects of green building to educate the high school students. They’re energized by this project because of its service learning component.”

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