RESEARCH & INNOVATION: ANNUAL REPORT

Jeffrey Manser

Faculty, Renewable Energies/School of Technology

 

Jeffrey Manser profile

A global renewables solution – providing cost-effective and clean energy storage – is often referred to as the “holy grail” of engineering solutions. While that search endures, for now there are more modest dilemmas to solve, like helping a single business reduce its energy use.

It is in discovering these energy efficiencies for a company’s facility that fuels the drive of mechanical engineer (PEng) and Niagara College faculty member Jeffrey Manser.

“I love the puzzle of investigating a building, figuring out where energy is being used, and then getting to strategize about the best way to reduce energy use, and integrate renewable energy into that building,” says Jeffrey, a professor of the Renewable Energies Technician Program.

“Not only do the students get to apply what they’re learning in the class, they also gain valuable soft skills as they learn to work as a team and to co-ordinate with an industry partner, who comes from outside the college environment.”

Indeed, his students have benefitted from his passion for energy management, as Jeffrey also serves as research lead, guiding his class through real-life energy audits as part of the applied, course-based research program at the Research & Innovation division.

“Not only do the students get to apply what they’re learning in the class, they also gain valuable soft skills as they learn to work as a team and to co-ordinate with an industry partner, who comes from outside the college environment.”

Jeffrey’s more recent project found his research team at the Niagara District Airport, conducting two energy audits for the industry partner: the main terminal and a warehouse/maintenance facility.

“It was interesting because while the warehouse building was old, the main terminal was fairly new, without as much opportunity to save energy, so the students investigated the feasibility of installing a solar array on the roof of the terminal.”

Jeffrey Manser profile

And sometimes, the expertise of the College’s resources is needed in more remote locales. This past semester, Jeffrey’s teams of student researchers made the drive north to Muskoka’s Bigwin Island to conduct an energy audit at a number of older buildings and new cabins being built. The industry partner, a developer for the Bigwin Island Golf Course, is using this baseline of energy usage to determine the best way to go off the grid and power the entire 520-acre private island with renewable energy.

“The audit projects allow the students to apply critical thinking and focus on details so much more than any worksheets or assignments I’ve been able to create.”

An energy audit generally involves a review of a building’s utility bills and a comparison to a benchmark; a site visit, including interviewing the occupants about energy use; and a post audit where the energy being used by various systems is quantified. “This information is then used to look for opportunities to reduce energy use in the building,” explains Jeffrey. “And any energy savings opportunities are then analyzed to ensure they are financially viable recommendations for the client.”

In the end, the professor says the best way to learn is by performing these real-world projects. “The audit projects allow the students to apply critical thinking and focus on details so much more than any worksheets or assignments I’ve been able to create.”

While he’s worked on projects with R&I for a few years now, his time is also spent delivering other courses under the Renewable Energies Program umbrella, such as HVAC, geothermal, and AutoCAD, to name a few. It’s a field that caught his interest when he worked in the energy management industry and had the opportunity to be involved with projects that were aimed at reducing an organization’s energy use, and as a result, their carbon footprint.

Prior to Niagara College, Jeffrey worked as a Sr. Project Manager of Energy Initiatives with the City of Hamilton and previous to that, as a Project Engineer with the company Ameresco. “I loved the idea of being able to do the same – or more – using less resources than we currently do,” he says. “From my time in industry I realize there is a great partnership between reducing existing energy use, and integrating renewable energy into a facility.”

And some times it’s a process that can take some time and some work – a philosophy of “doing your best and trying to do what’s right” that he tries to impart in his classroom. “When I was younger I thought success was a result of some special talent, but as I age, I realize those around me who are most successful have achieved their results through long periods of hard work.”

When he’s not investing his time teaching renewable energy, Jeffrey says he and his wife are kept busy by his two young children, with lots of family bike rides – reducing his carbon footprint. – R&I

Jeffrey Manser was last modified: October 24th, 2018 by cms007ad