Chemistry Students Help Local Business Develop Energy Calculator

Posted on 11/29/2010 11:32:26 AM

The Department of Chemistry recently assisted Gorell Windows & Doors, Indiana, with the development of an online energy savings calculator to show consumers the impact in energy savings of the company’s windows and doors in homes throughout America.

The calculator is visible on the Gorell Windows & Doors home page.

“We wanted to show consumers how highly energy-efficient products like Gorell windows and doors really do make a difference in energy saved,” Gorell Marketing Manager Dennis Ragan said. “Although we had calculated the approximate number of BTUs our products are saving, we needed help converting our data into information consumers could more easily relate to—such as what the savings would mean expressed in gallons of gasoline or in hours of electricity.”

A British thermal unit, or BTU, is a measurement of energy.

“With a university like IUP next door, and knowing its excellent reputation in so many areas, we inquired to determine if the university could help.”

Tracey Missien, director of the Office of Workforce and Economic Development, connected Ragan to Dr. Keith Kyler, a faculty member in the Chemistry Department since 2005.

Kyler, an organic chemist, involved one of his undergraduate chemistry classes in the project, having the students assist with the BTU conversion calculations and gain valuable project experience.

“These types of assignments bring important real-world projects into the classroom and allow our students to learn how to apply their academic knowledge toward a specific business problem,” Kyler said.

Ragan commented that he and others at Gorell were impressed with the results, and the company is especially pleased that Gorell is now able to demonstrate the energy savings of its products so that customers can see the benefits of making energy-efficient decisions.