At Work on Renewable Energy

Katlyn Lawver 2013 spends her summers installing renewable energy systems including solar PV and thermal, geothermal, radiant floor and wind energy systems. She even built a solar powered golf cart with her father, Allen, at his company in Schaefferstown, Pa. “The golf cart was originally a very old one that was sitting in our barn that we had used years ago,” says Lawver. “It’s a three-wheeled cart with one row of seats that comfortable seat two people. Unfortunately, it required new batteries and the wheels and brakes had to be fixed. The batteries were replaced with high-capacity DC batteries that were hooked up to a solar panel built into the roof. It can still be charged if it needs to be, but even on a cloudy day it charges itself and will hold a charge for at least a day of use.”

Katlyn Lawver

Katleyn Lawver

Lawver hopes to pursue a career in ecosystem management or a branch of ecology. With Earth Day approaching, she will be working for Sustain UC’s environmental fair. “I would like to introduce the school and the community to some aspects of environmental conservation that they may not have been aware of and to portray it in a fun, interactive way with none of the pressures you might find in a classroom,” says Lawver, an Environmental Studies major. “I’ve found that if you are interested in a topic it is much easier to learn about it interactively. I also want to show possible prospective students the strength of the school’s environmental department and the potential that it has.”

The average consumer has a lot to learn about renewable energy, says Lawver. “It has come very far since most people first starting hearing about it. Renewable energy has the potential to power an entire house with a small system and is not as finicky as most people believe. It can also offer a strong alternative to current energy sources. I have seen many households reduce or even eliminate the carbon footprint of their homes using renewable energy and those living there have the same comforts if not more than a family using conventional energy.” At Ursinus, her courses have helped her explore career possibilities. “My experience at Ursinus has pushed me to challenge my common beliefs and to look at environmental issues from every point of view in order to find a possible solution. This is helpful because I believe many people working in the environmental field today are unable to throw their concrete beliefs to the side in order to look at something differently to see if maybe there was something they missed.” — KC
Photo by Joshua Krigman 2011