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Experience to Build On

Green homes represent a growing trend in the residential construction industry. “Builders are increasingly recognizing the importance of building energy-efficient and sustainable homes,” says Rich Miller, instructor in ONU’s technological studies department.

Two ONU construction management majors recently explored this growing trend in depth for an independent research project. Ryan Cambron, a senior from Lebanon, Ohio, and Nick Hovis, a senior from Ashville, Ohio, spent three semesters working with Miller to uncover how one Cleveland homebuilder transitioned his construction processes to a green model. Their work required historical research in addition to primary research, including extensive interviews and data collection.

Cleveland is the third city in the country to offer tax incentives for construction companies that build Energy Star and LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified buildings. “Our research looked at how this homebuilder adapted to this changing dynamic in the industry,” says Miller. “It impacted many areas of his business, including construction practices, pricing, marketing and employment.”

The Association of Technology Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) rewarded the group’s efforts by inviting them to present their findings at the ATMAE national conference in New Orleans in November. ATMAE accepts only 40 percent of the paper submissions it receives for presentation at the conference, according to Miller. “Opportunities like this are rare,” says Cambron. “I felt honored that my professor invited me to participate in this research, because it allowed me to challenge myself.”

At the conference, Cambron and Hovis not only gained experience presenting to industry experts, but also had the opportunity to network and learn about the latest research in the field. “Giving the presentation was a bit nerve-racking, but also a great learning experience,” says Hovis. “I want to thank the ONU technology department for giving students like us opportunities to further expand our knowledge. Experiences like this are what make ONU, especially the technology department, so different from other universities in the country.”