Joe West, UGA Tifton Campus Assistant Dean: Make our farms and our homes more efficient so we've got a future Farmstead Bill that is going to be starting shortly and with me is Mr. Tony Graham who is the project leader on that who has a tremendous about of experience in the green industry and the green energy efficiency area.
Kyle Dean, Host: Tony, good morning to you. Good to have you with us today. Give us a little bit of your background, what you’ve been working in the last few years and how you came to be with UGA Tifton.
Tony Graham, UGA Tifton Campus: Okay, thank you for having me here. Actually, I have been in the construction industry for almost 35 years now. For the last 20 years, I've been the educator and teaching people how to build houses. I was the director of Residential and Technology Program at Yavapai College of Prescott, Arizona for about 15 years. Craig Kvien of NESPAL was the one that discovered me and basically twisted my arm to come out here (laughter) to work with UGA.
Kyle Dean, Host: I'm glad that they have because you've been doing a lot of good work here. You guys have been building a house over on Park Avenue in partnership with Moultrie Tech. [Graham: Correct.] Can you mention that real quick and what you’re kind of going to be doing with UGA, much the same.
Tony Graham, UGA Tifton Campus: Yes, very similar, just a smaller version of it. This is a house that is designed to use less energy. Actually, it'll be a Net-Zero energy house where we'll actually be providing all the energy to operate this house. It will be very durable. It will be very comfortable. We'll also be dealing with water efficiency on that house as well.
Kyle Dean, Host: You talked about how this helps students. Students are involved in that Moultrie Tech Program. I’m sure they’ll be involved in this as well. How does that help the students prepare for the jobs in the industry?
Tony Graham, UGA Tifton Campus: If you are in the construction industry right now and you are thinking about staying in this industry, you know some changes are going on and people are looking at building houses that are more energy efficient or that are more durable or maybe have better indoor air quality. Now, they are going to be looking for people that have some skills or training in that area. So that’s where we are helping to prepare students for those job opportunities.
Kyle Dean, Host: It's a great opportunity to work with UGA. Joe, this is going to be a great place, a house right on site and you guys are going to have the opportunity to do a lot of things with that.
Joe West, UGA Tifton Campus Assistant Dean: Yes. It's going to be right across from our NESPAL facility. Not only is it going to give students, more advanced students, experience with the green industry but also we'll be bringing science classes from high schools and middle schools. It'll fit into school curriculums and we'll be talking about energy and how we generate energy and how we make homes more efficient. So, we fully intend to make it part of our K-12 Program as well.
Kyle Dean, Host: We are talking about these students that are learning these trades and we talked off the air about what they want to go into and there are a lot of different areas when it comes to having construction and putting together a house that they can be involved in. Some want to go to the top. They want to be like yourself and have a general contract in corporation or whatever, but some just want to learn the trade and go to work.
Tony Graham, UGA Tifton Campus: Yes, correct. That's probably the main objective for most students when they first get into it but there really are additional opportunities. For example, houses that get designed and built in the future are going to need people to do the energy modeling on there to know how much energy a building is going to use before they even build it so they can make changes before they even start the construction. There are graduates in the past that have gone on to become building officials, building inspectors, energy raters for example, designers, architects, so really they can branch off to many different directions once they sort of learn what it takes to design and build a house that truly is energy efficient and green.
Kyle Dean, Host: This future farmstead house is going to be great. It's going to bring a lot of awareness to the community.
Tony Graham, UGA Tifton Campus: Oh absolutely. We are talking about community at large. We are talking about the agriculture community, the construction industry. We are talking about students, educators, designers, architects, general population, public administrators, policy makers, business communities. They can all learn from this, how they can improve the performance either of their existing buildings or if they are considering building new buildings, what are some of the considerations they want to make.
Kyle Dean, Host: Tony, even in the last 30 years or so, we've seen a lot of trends and a lot of things that used to be done in every house back in say the 70's, now it's completely different in this day and time. And, you have been in it long enough to know that. You've got such experience.
Tony Graham, UGA Tifton Campus: People really do need to stay up with sort of the new technology. We know that with the growing population there is going to be more demand for energy, water and so people have to learn how to design and build buildings that use less energy and use less water.
Kyle Dean, Host: You mentioned a statistic, I guess you could say it, it's going to kind of revolutionize things in that people are going to be looking to go in and upgrade their existing homes because the markets teetering on the line right now. Are we going to get out of this economic decline? Are we going to pull it back out? A lot of people are going in there now and saying I'm going to make a commitment to this house and I am going to upgrade the existing lights or whatever the case may be.
Tony Graham, UGA Tifton Campus: That's really where I honestly see the best opportunity for people that are in the construction industry right now. If they were to come back and take a few of our courses, for example that we offer at MTC we'll be doing some workshops over at UGA, they can learn how to improve the performance of existing homes. People can now look for people that have had some training on what does that mean, bringing someone that can actually make some of these upgrades? Typically it's like ceiling duct work, putting more insulation in or looking at your appliances and making them more energy efficient – certainly changing out some the light bulbs and those kinds of strategies that make a house. Therefore, you can save 10-40% of your energy cost by having someone come in and do some of these energy efficient retrofits.
Kyle Dean, Host: Joe, I know you guys are ready to get started on this. I know Tony is as well. Construction is set to begin sometime this month.
Joe West: UGA Tifton Campus Assistant Dean: Yes. We are very excited. It's a beautiful site. We've got a big pond across from our NESPAL facility. It's going to be right on the edge of that pond. We're actually using coils in the bottom of that pond to recover heat or cooling in the summer; actually using geothermal from that standpoint to actually help cool or heat this house.
Kyle Dean, Host: Is there a project completion date? I know you guys are always thinking finish date but I know the start date how about a finish date on it Tony?
Tony Graham: UGA Tifton Campus: Well we're hoping to have it done by the end of the year say November, December – that's our target.
Kyle Dean, Host: That would be a great time for kids, coming back next year around this time, to go ahead and start pulling them in there and see what kind of awareness you can bring to the community.
Joe West: UGA Tifton Campus Assistant Dean: Yes. There are going to be opportunities to have some in-progress visits, to see what we are doing as we construct it because a lot of times you don't see what some of the energy efficiencies are whether it's insulation in the walls and how a unique way they are doing that. So as it goes, up there will be some real opportunities not just for school kids but for people in industry around to watch it go up and to learn from it.
Kyle Dean, Host: Took the words right out of my mouth. It doesn't just have to be for a 7-year old to see how you can improve your home and be more energy efficient. Joe, I appreciate you coming and I appreciate you bringing Tony. Tony thanks for your time. Appreciate the work that you are doing. And, we look forward to seeing that house in progress and upon completion.
Tony Graham, UGA Tifton Campus: Thank you for having us.
Joe West, UGA Tifton Campus Assistant Dean: Thank you, Kyle.
Kyle Dean, Host: Alright be back right after this on WTIF.