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Energy Efficiency In The Built Environment

On this Project:


Kevin Ketchman



Holistic Residential Energy Audits

Homeowners experience multi-faceted barriers to adoption of energy efficient technologies and appliances, including informational, financial and behavioral.  Research has demonstrated that targeting a single barrier is not sufficient to stimulate investment in all homeowners. 

In response, the National Energy Leadership Corps (NELC), developed and implemented course curriculum to train students in residential energy and holistic energy assessments.  Course continent was developed using flipped classroom pedagogical design.  Modules were developed and provided to students through a web-based platform where students completed video lectures, module quizzes, and pre- and post-module questionnaires to gauge students' perceived learning and confidence in the lessons' material.  One research question that emerged from this work was if students could learn complex systems thinking through a flipped-classroom.  To answer this question, analysis of the pre- and post questionnaires, final course reflection survey and College and University Classroom Environmental Inventory was performed.

Apart of the NELC design was the integration of holistic thinking to energy assessments, where homeowners' worldviews, interests and building needs were considered in addition to traditional costs analysis, when recommending energy efficiency measures (EEM).  The culminating experience for students was the energy assessment, where students entered homes to perform and deliver an informative energy assessment report.  Between 2012 and 2015, students completed a total of 120 energy assessments.  Recommended energy efficiency measures had potentially real impacts on homeowners' energy bills.  A post-assessment survey was delivered to homeowners to quantify homeowners' investments in the recommended EEMs and other "catalytic" investments potentially influenced through the homeowners experience with the students assessors.  Post-assessment surveys revealed homeowners' perceptions on barriers and motivators to adopting recommended energy efficiency measures and implementing self-identified measures.

Homeowner survey responses on their perception of envelope improvements (e.g. insulation, windows, etc.) in six categories, organized by those who adopted the envelope EEM and those who did not.  The six categories are: potential to save money, improve comfort, fits within their budget, have available time to implement, have the necessary information, have the skills to implement, and the recommendation is a priority to the homeowner.

Associated Publications

Marks, J., Ketchman, K.J., Bilec, M.M. (2014). "Understanding the benefits of the flipped classroom in the context of sustainable engineering." ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings.

Ketchman, K.J., Khanna, V., Riley, D., Bilec, M.M. (2016). "Evaluation of a Holistic Energy Assessment Program." Procedia Engineering, 145, 468-475. doi:

Ketchman, K.J., Khanna, V., Riley, D.R., Bilec, M.M. (2017 submitted), “A Survey of Homeowners’ Motivations for the Adoption of Energy Efficiency Measures: Evaluating a Holistic Energy Assessment Program.” ASCE Journal of Architectural Engineering

Ketchman, K.J., Parrish, K., Khanna, V., Bilec, M.M. (2017 submitted), “Synergizing Disparate Component-level Energy Resources into a Single Whole Building Tool to Support Energy Conservation Action in Small Commercial Buildings.” Energy and Buildings

Ketchman, K.J., Khanna, V., Parrish, K., Bilec, M.M. (in progress), “Evaluation of the Sources and Measure of Uncertainty in Appliance-level Electricity Energy Estimate Resources in a Food Service and Office Small Commercial Building.” 

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