Summer 2017 12 circumvent that inevitability.” Cruickshank also serves as one of several key researchers working with the Urbandale Centre for Home Energy Research, a 1,600 square-foot, two- storey solar-powered house located at the north end of Carleton’s campus. Headed by Professor Ian Beausoliel- Morrision, the facility acts as a test bed for innovative concepts that challenge the traditional way houses are designed and built, focusing largely on seasonal thermal storage, or how to store energy collected by the house’s solar panels during the summer for use during the darker winter months. “We’re working towards establishing sustainable communities,” Cruickshank explains. “Whether by the renewal of building codes or the use of energy efficient materials and insulation, we’re seeing a conscious shift towards net-zero ready buildings and prefabricated retrofit solutions, which will ultimately reduce greenhouse emissions in the residential sector.” Cruickshank offers her advice on a number of simple ways people can make their homes more sustainable, such as upgrading or installing insulation in attics and basements or replacing old drafty windows with those that are more energy efficient. “Approximately half of the energy used in the average home is attributed to heating and cooling,” she says. “Older homes and buildings are the biggest contributor to Canada’s energy spending, as they are less insulated and prone to air leakage. The majority of structures built before 1990 actually average 30-60% higher utility costs compared to newer homes.” While Cruickshank also recommends replacing incandescent lights with fluorescent or LED bulbs and switching to efficient appliances, she admits one of the best things people can do is watch their energy consumption. “See what you actually use by investing in an energy monitor,” she suggests. “Set thermostats to regulate a temperature that is cost effective when the timing is appropriate, such as at night and when no one is home.” In addition to her research duties, Cruickshank is also helping to inspire young girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through Carleton’s youth outreach programs. “I’ve had the chance to give talks through the Carleton Women in Science and Engineering group, speaking with high school students about different careers that exist for women within engineering,” she says. “It’s important for them to hear about more than just the soft sciences because there are so many amazing opportunities where those sciences can be applied in areas such as electrical or mechanical engineering. There are many paths to choose from and female engineers are flourishing in all disciplines.” Another outreach program that Cruickshank has been involved with is Virtual Ventures, a youth summer camp at Carleton that features programming just for girls and includes hands-on activities such as coding and game design. “It’s really important for female students to be exposed to engineering, or at least the concept of it, at a young age,” she says. “It helps them build an appreciation of what it can offer, but also demonstrates how it can improve peoples’ lives.” Given that both Cruickshank and Basu have dedicated their careers to a field which is often seen as predominantly male-oriented, each of them certainly sees the value of increasing the female perspective within engineering. “Just as multi-disciplinary projects benefit from multiple viewpoints, the personal experiences of different individuals can result in diverse ideas and influence how we approach engineering challenges,” says Basu. “Including more female engineers in the discussion allows for a wider range of perspectives, which can contribute to new concepts and alternative solutions.” Dr. Cynthia Cruickshank, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, performs renewable energy research in Carleton’s Solar Energy Systems Laboratory. Summer 2017