George McDougall students participate in Dragon’s Den
Thursday, Dec 19, 2013 10:29 am
The students involved in George McDougall High School’s Building Futures program put their home building knowledge to good use as they came up with ideas to present to a panel of judges from McKee Homes Ltd. on Dec. 12.
“We are very excited to hear the new, innovative thoughts they have,” said Elaine McKee-Doel, president of McKee Homes Ltd., prior to the Dec. 12, student presentations.
The Building Futures program allows students the opportunity to learn what it takes to build a house from the ground up, as they combine traditional learning with real-life experience.
Upon completion of the program, the students will receive their Residential Construction Site Manager Level One Academic accreditation, while at the same time completing the curriculum for the Grade 10 school year.
McKee-Doel said she is excited about the project because the students have had hands-on experience in the industry and their young minds may have a different way of looking at things.
Students Brayden Zuegler, Brad Bursey and Kieran Bruce presented a new sprinkler system that utilizes rainwater.
The system would funnel rainwater through the eavestroughs to a filter that rids the water of shingle and tar residue. Once filtered, the system would send the water to an underground sprinkler system.
Ziegler said they prepared for the presentation by learning how much all the components cost and finding out how viable the project would be.
“We thought we’d try to save them money and came up with something like this,” Ziegler said, adding the system would benefit McKee Homes because it is an environmentally friendly initiative and it would benefit homeowners because it would save them money on their water bills.
Mackenzie Carr and Erinn Jones were also looking to provide an idea that is good for the environment and for homeowners with their motion sensor lighting system.
Their idea would replace all light switches in the home with motion-activated ones that turn the light on when you walk in and shut it off automatically when there is no motion in the room.
“It’s a practical change,” Jones said. “It’s not a difficult change because you don’t have to change the way you’re doing anything.”
The girls researched costs and different motion sensor switches and found one they think meets the bill of being relatively inexpensive and effective.
“The homeowner will get their money back in three-and–a-half years,” Carr said, adding the savings are in energy consumption and thus electricity bills.
The pair said they think the idea is a good one because it is good for a wide cliental and would be useful for kids, adults and the elderly.
Other ideas include an environmentally friendly water heat exchanger, a new marketing plan for McKee Homes and larger plans like building an eco-friendly college in Airdrie.
Nate Bunnage, Hunter Hudson and Connor Steinnan are looking to building materials in their project and recommended the homebuilder switches to structural insulated panels (SIPs) for their framing and insulation material.
SIPs is a composite building material that consists of an insulating layer of rigid core sandwiched between two layers of structural board.
One of the students even took a trip to High River to a SIPs supplier to gather information on the panels and came back with tons of data and a sample of the product.
“It’s reported by using SIPs it increases building speed by up to 55 per cent,” Bunnage said, adding the product is about 97 per cent more efficient than regular fiberglass insulation.
All the students involved in these presentations did a significant amount of research on their projects and contacted builders, suppliers and other sources to further increase their knowledge.
The kids also gained first-hand knowledge from the work they’ve completed and professionals they learned from in the Building Futures program.
The students involved in the SIPs idea have all participated in framing and insulating a house and the students with the sprinkler system idea have learned from plumbers and landscapers.
The Dragon’s Den presentation was done on Dec. 12. McKee-Doel said the panel will take some time to review the ideas and will announce any winning projects in the New Year.
“It would be really cool to think we could change the future about how Airdrie is built,” Bunnage said.
For more information on the Building Futures program with McKee homes, visit www.mckeehomes.com/index/about-us/building-futures.html