Hi, I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving! On Tuesday the POE kids learned what our final is going to be for engineering. On December 17th a Physical Scale Model of the Airstream is due along with Electrical Requirements and LOAD Calculations. This is what the teams will be working on for the rest of the semester. I like knowing what we are all going to be busy with and hopefully there won’t be any crazy surprises. The physical scale model is supposed to show our floor plan design and we’re using a 1:18 scale. I can’t believe we’re already designing floor plans for the commons area! It seems like just yesterday we were interviewing teachers. December is right around the corner (Sunday!!!) meaning my group and I have a lot of work to do. The Electrical Requirements and LOAD Calculations are going to show all of the electrical needs of our design which will help determine what type of solar panels we’ll use to power the Airstream. This part of the project displays another side of engineering and strays more away from the design aspect.
At Ann Richards, we are all about being eco-friendly. In fact, that’s the whole purpose of Project VENTURA. The other part of this project is constructing it ourselves, so I researched some different ways for us to remain eco-friendly while renovating the Airstream. I found on the website, NOLO, a page about green remodeling. Some of the tips didn’t really apply to what we were doing like hiring green-savvy professionals, but there was advice that was very helpful. I’ve always known that putting eco-friendly appliances and materials was a must but I did not know what materials were considered green. On this webpage it says to use linoleum rather than vinyl. Apparently vinyl is the most harmful plastic to the environment and can cause health problems! Even though nobody has decided on what materials they want to use, this is useful information for when we start that portion of the project. Another tip mentioned was to avoid putting in carpet or hardwood and instead use bamboo, cork, or reclaimed wood. One of the reasons for this is because bamboo and cork grow more quickly, therefore making it less likely for the species to decrease.
The Daily Green website has an article pertaining to home renovation tips which is perfect for us. In a way, this commons area is kind of like a home since there is most likely going to be a kitchen, living room area, and dining space. Anyway, I found the article mentioned another useful tool that could help us throughout the project. There is a website called REGREEN that has a variety of case studies about renovating homes, along with interactive tools and basic regulations that anybody can understand (even a bunch of teenagers who don’t know what they’re doing). The Daily Green talks about Green Depot, an eco-friendly store. Unfortunately there is not a location in Texas, however about a week ago there was a Green Building Expo at ARS and one of the businesses participating was TreeHouse. TreeHouse is a store dedicated to green materials and appliances. Ally and I had the opportunity to talk to the representative and we explained the project. The representative was super friendly, and mentioned some different materials we could potentially use, and gave us his email for further contact! It was quite exciting.