Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Integrated Science and Technology

Advisor(s)

Morgan C. Benton, Ph.D.

Abstract

Fossil fuels play a vital role in our daily lives. Oil, natural gas, and coal powers our cars, heats our homes and water, and are used by power companies to generate the massive amounts of electricity used every day by the United States. However, this reliance on a finite source of energy is not sustainable. Fossil fuels such as these are non-renewable resources whose production will eventually be unable to keep up with the rate of consumption. Furthermore, the extraction of the stored energy in these fuels through combustion releases harmful substances into the environment, including toxins and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. To end this reliance on fossil fuels we need to make fundamental changes in our globally collective behaviors. One of the easiest behavioral changes to make toward this goal is to focus on conserving energy at home. By reducing one’s home energy usage through a home energy audit, a person can save money on electric and heating bills, help reduce his/her impact on the environment, and even potentially increase the market value of their home. Because traditional audit reports often fail to effectively change homeowner’s energy consumption behaviors, the objective of this project is to determine if the home auditing process could be made more efficient and effective through the formation of volunteer auditing teams and the development of specialized software applications to address specific obstacles to energy usage behavior changes. To achieve this goal, we started the formation of a new campus organization, established the technologic infrastructure to store auditing data and develop future applications, acquired the necessary hardware to perform our audits, performed preliminary home energy audits, and developed a sizeable portion of the home energy auditing application to be used by the future members of the Madison Conservation Corps.

 
 

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