Researching Strategies and Systems for an Energy Efficient Building

The Cornell Barn Project: Research and examine differences between traditional building construction and energy efficiency construction. The student will review, interpret, summarize and chart pros and cons of systems, strategies and items recommended in energy efficient new construction. In addition, student will calculate each feature's average return on investment and propose those which present the highest yield. Based on student's findings, a list of potential funding opportunities, tax credits, applications, etc., for each system, strategy and item will be outlined and developed into print and/or digital materials for residential, commercial and contractor outreach.

Roles and responsibilities 

Student intern will work cooperatively with director, facilities committee, contractors and staff, each step of the process and provide updates and recommendations based on research. The intern will participate in meetings, workshops and discussions with highly skilled individuals who currently work in the field of construction and energy efficiency. The intern will learn what Cornell Cooperative Extension is and the important role it plays with CALS and CHE.

Qualifications and previous coursework

This opportunity was made available to non-graduating students enrolled in Cornell University's CAS, ILR, AAP, COE and JCB.

The student must possess the following: 

  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively through oral, written, Internet and visual channels. 
  • Ability to organize and prioritize work and meet deadlines. 
  • Must be able to demonstrate the ability to work as part of a team and to relate and work effectively with diverse people.
  • Ability to work independently, make decisions, attend to details, handle multiple assignments, set priorities and work under pressure. 
  • Ability to manage long-term goals within a context of day-to-day deadlines

Learning outcomes 

Anticipated learning outcomes may include generating a list of new construction energy efficient systems, strategies, and items. Select and evaluate pros and cons of each item on the list. Analyze and calculate upfront costs versus return on investment for each. Describe and explain each aspect researched to Board of Directors, Facilities Committee, Staff and contractors. Develop print/digital resources simplifying research and knowledge learned for residential and commercial owners and contractors. Identify grant sources, tax credits or other awards that can assist with offsetting the upfront costs. Conceptionally outline how this knowledge could be integrated into 4-H STEM activities.