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Habitat High students learn energy conservation
Lanier Tech program allows trainees to get hands-on experience
Lanier Tech instructor Joey Watkins explains a solar panel system. - photo by Tom Reed

Energy conservation was drilled into Habitat High students Thursday during the first class of the initial Green Technologies Training Program.

The students are part of a Habitat for Humanity of Hall County program that gives those who have excelled in construction class the opportunity to work on-site building a house during the school year. Students in construction classes from county high schools, including Johnson, West Hall, Flowery Branch and Chestatee, also will attend the daylong training over the next two months.

The training program, designed and led by staff from Lanier Technical College, is part of Hall County’s environmental management system, EnviroShare.

It’s a voluntary network of local governments, school systems, residents, businesses and nonprofit organizations that work together toward common environmental goals.

A couple of students who took Thursday’s class said the lessons will help working on the Habitat house, their future careers and as an eventual homeowner.

“It will definitely give us an insight on why we’re insulating as much as we are,” said Jacob Owens, a senior at Chestatee High School.

Owens wants to join engineering firm M.C. Dean Inc., where his father works, and become an electrician. He said he can use the energy conservation techniques and tools he learned Thursday to insulate around electrical boxes and switches in his career.

Eleven of the 18 Habitat students took the class, so there could be a lot of hands-on learning, said Tim Bala, Lanier director of customized training and economic development. The other seven are scheduled to take the training in the next couple of weeks.

The class was held at Lanier’s Featherbone Communiversity on Chestnut Street. Concepts taught included temperature measurement, air tightness and solar technology.

The program is paid for by a grant to Hall County. The county won nearly $55,000 in federal funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission to its energy training and demonstration program. It’s focused on workforce development, and Bala said those who go through the class will have an advantage over kids who graduate high school without such specialized training.

Chestatee senior Taylor Kapiloff said he hasn’t decided what he wants to do after graduation, but he’d love to start his own business and said he thinks carpentry is also a good life skill and will help him in whatever he does.
“They’re going to have a head start going out,” Bala said.

While the green technology training was hands-on, the habitat students will benefit from the additional on-site work they do.

“Habitat High is an off-campus program, so they can actually apply what they’ve learned to a real house,” said Rodney Presley, a Lanier Charter Career Academy instructor.

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