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Stina Bäckström and Anton Larsson have finished their engineering studies at LTU.

Theses with energy in focus

Published: 14 February 2014

A newly built nursery with modern technology and a horse riding center with high energy consumption. The conditions were quite different when two theses on the topic of energy usage and energy efficiency were presented.

Anton Larsson, student at the Master Programme in Mechanical Engineering had in his thesis studied the energy consumption at Spira pre-school in Luleå. The pre-school was built in 2012 with energy conservation in mind and Anton for instance compared the actual energy use with data generated in simulations before the property was built.

Lower consumption with modern technology

– Although consumption was found to be higher than expected they have done a really good job of building both aesthetically and energetically. The energy consumption is about half the average among pre-schools, and most of the lighting and pre-heater for cars are automated. They also reduced the need for indoor lighting by having high-altitude windows to bring in as much natural light as possible. Under these, radiators were placed to stop the flow of cool air. Otherwise the building is heated with underfloor heating, which is more pleasant than radiators, says Anton Larsson.

Want to make a difference

His degree in Mechanical Engineering with specialization in sustainable energy is equivalent to the Master Programme in Sustainable Energy Engineering that is now provided at LTU.

– I have an interest in energy and climate and like to be part of changing the the negative development that is taking place. If the MSc in Sustainable Energy Engineering had existed when I started reading, I had chosen that programme, says Anton Larsson.

On behalf of the company Imtech Ventilation Anton also studied how energy consumption was affected by ventilation. For example, he could see that the operating time of the ventilation had a significant impact on energy use.

Energy-demanding stable

Stina Bäckström's thesis was part of a project at Norrbottens energikontor NENET. Like Anton, she focused on energy, as she investigated how the energy consumption at the riding center in Råneå could be reduced.

– At the riding center a lot of energy was being used, mainly for heating. My suggestions for improvement related example to install sensor-controlled lighting, timer-controlled car heaters, improving insulation and replacing the floor in the riding hall with sawdust or cutter shavings. The current floor consisted of sand and gravel, and to avoid too much dust, they had to flush it with water. A dehumidifier was running around the clock because of this, which drew a lot of power, says Stina Bäckström, who finished her Bachelor degree.

Stina also suggested replacing the heating system from electric to geothermal heating.

– It is a proven technology, geothermal heating has low cost, and it is reliable and energy efficient.

Helpful teachers

When asked if they are satisfied with their education at LTU, they both were very positive.

– I am delighted with the education! The courses are interesting and the teachers are involved and care about their students, it is incredibly important. You can always go to your teacher and say that this I do not understand, and they will help you. It is also a very good fellowship between students, and I think the initial "Nolleperioden" is of great importance, says Anton Larsson.