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Service-Learning Projects in Passive Solar Heating through the Sustainable City Year Program

Service learning engages students with community partners in creating products for public benefit, allowing students to learn field research and design communication methods while contributing their time and expertise.

Published onOct 24, 2019
Service-Learning Projects in Passive Solar Heating through the Sustainable City Year Program
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ABSTRACT

Service learning engages students with community partners in creating products for public benefit, allowing students to learn field research and design communication methods while contributing their time and expertise. From 2017-19, the University of Oregon Passive Heating Seminar has collaborated with the Sustainable City Year Program to provide schematic passive heating designs to three climatically distinct cities: Mediterranean Albany, sunny semi-arid La Pine, and coastal Dunes City, Oregon. These projects have provided specific sites, motivated clients, and authentic problems to students while promoting passive heating use in realizable, publicly-visible projects. In 2017, the City of Albany requested designs for a senior center sunspace, a community greenhouse, and park restrooms that would allow parks to remain open for events during cooler months. Schematic designs and performance estimates then allowed Albany to begin fundraising for construction. In 2018, the City of La Pine requested designs for a City Center, a community greenhouse, and a balcony sunspace prototype for multifamily housing. The City Center is currently under development, and the balcony sunspace projects supported acquisition of federal funding for further research. Dunes City, in turn, supported by a JPB Foundation grant, worked with students in 2019 to develop passive heating designs for disaster-relief shelters in the event of a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami. Together, these projects have allowed regional leaders to explore and develop their communities’ interests in passive solar heating as they strive to create resilient communities, while simultaneously promoting students’ awareness of their own potential as designers to support such efforts.

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