By: Jenna Hobin
It’s 2019 and your eyes are scanning freshly inked newspaper titles—‘Renewable Energy Rising Trends’, ‘Sustainable Energy Building Opens’, ‘UN Calls to Reduce Carbon Footprint’. You tap into Twitter and your fingertips halt at a familiar hashtag, #sustainableenergy.
But what do these terms mean for the average Canadian? How can we as a community empower students to become leading researchers in the field of sustainable engineering?
The Canada East chapter of the Association of Energy Engineers continues to be a driving force in addressing these questions, while supporting students in Carleton’s Bachelor of Sustainable and Renewable Energy Engineering program.
Established in 2019 by the chapter, the AEE Canada East Founders Scholarship will provide two annual awards to outstanding students enrolled in one of two streams of the program—Smart Technologies for Power Generation and Distribution & Efficient Energy Generation and Conversion.
AEE Canada East was motivated to give back to the community through the Founders Scholarship, as it will support the next generation of engineers who share their mission to improve energy management and sustainability through efficiency and renewable generation. With members from a range of sectors including engineering, transportation, architecture and policymaking, the chapter tackles these issues through a multidisciplinary framework of idea sharing, thought leadership and advocacy.
“As an alumnus myself from the Faculty of Engineering and Design’s Mechanical Engineering program, I naturally chose Carleton to start with. This is our first (scholarship), but it won’t be our last,” said Andrew Penner, President of the Canada East chapter of the Association of Energy Engineers and Senior Energy Manager at BGIS.
“Our chapter spans from the Kingston area all the way to the Atlantic provinces, and our vision is to plant these types of scholarships at multiple universities to foster the development of students in the sustainable engineering disciplines,” he says.
The first recipients of the AEE Canada East Founders Scholarship will be selected in 2020, and Penner hopes that it will help to alleviate financial burdens for students, while encouraging them to expand their knowledge in this growing sector.
When asked what sustainable engineering means for everyday Canadians, Penner explains, “If you look at the core definition of sustainability, it is ensuring that there are enough resources to continue doing what we are doing into the future. We are running out of space, energy, raw materials and resources.”
“Engineering is where the science of sustainability, resiliency and doing better can turn into something that will actually transform the way of life for Canadians through products, services and strategies,” Penner adds. “Engineering is the point where everything comes together.”