University Outreach and Engagement Award Honors Bestowed

March 30, 2020

Ohio State's University Outreach and Engagement Awards honor faculty, staff, students and community partners for outstanding achievement in producing engaged scholarship and community impact. This year 11 awards were given in four categories: Community Engaged Scholar, Community Engaged Program, Community Partner, and Community Engaged Champion.

Eric Romich, associate professor and field specialist in energy development, OSU Extension - Community Development, worked with a team that was awarded a Community Engaged Program Award for their OSU Green Home Technology Center initiative. The Community Engaged Program Award recognizes outstanding achievement by faculty, staff and/or student led programs/initiatives focused on community-university partnerships and impact.

OSU Green Home Technology Center - details about this Ohio State-community-industry partnership:

Americans spend $230 billion annually on home energy, which amounts to 22 percent of total annual energy consumption in the U.S. In 2017, the average household energy expenditure was $1,822, which could represent 10-20 percent of household income of low-income families. Also, some homes encounter indoor air quality (IAQ) and moisture problems, causing concerns on occupants' comfort and health. Energy efficient, healthy, green homes are recognized as an effective solution to this challenge, while reducing the financial burden of homeowners with lower home energy costs. Green home technologies that reduce energy consumption and improve indoor environmental quality are much needed for improved health and reduced financial burdens on low-income households.

However, at present, the adoption of green home design and technology faces significant barriers including the lack of education and training on green home principles, materials, and technologies among homeowners and building industry professionals. This Ohio State-community-industry partnership aims to establish a Green Home Technology Center (GHTC) and to develop, demonstrate, and disseminate effective green home technologies for a transformational change in residential energy consumption and environment impact.

Through this partnership, the team assessed community needs using a survey instrument on Ohio homeowners' perceptions, knowledge, attitudes, needs, and barriers related to adoption of green home technologies including renewable energy. They have successfully surveyed 519 homeowners and the survey results have been published in a technical report and a scientific journal article for wider dissemination. To derive solutions for the identified issues, by closely working with community partners, they have jointly developed and offered green home technology demonstration workshops for homeowners, builders, and professionals to raise their awareness, knowledge and skill levels on cutting- edge technologies. Furthermore, the team has developed and offered experiential learning curricula for Ohio State and New Albany High School students, the future professionals, to inspire their career interests in green buildings or related STEM areas. To expand the impact of this partnership, they established an online GHTC clearinghouse (, which provides dynamic education on green home technologies, virtual tours of emerging green homes in Ohio, and links to useful resources. They also publicized Ohio State research findings, education materials, and outreach educational programs at the online platform. The website also serves as a bridge to reach out additional industry and community partners.

Primary Contacts: Lingying ZhaoQian ChenAndrew CruseEric Romich

Community Partners

New Albany High Schools; New Albany-Plain Local School District; The USGBC Central Ohio; Efficiency Smart - American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP); Buckeye Power, Inc. (BPI); Ohio Energy Office; Habitat for Humanity MidOhio; Green Energy Ohio; Columbus Green Building Forum; Lutron Electronic, Inc.

Ohio State Partners

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences; College of Engineering; Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering; OSU Extension; Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Knowlton School; Sustainability Institute (formerly Office of Energy and Environment)