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Students Join Instructor in Upgrading Church’s Heating System

Community-minded members of Pennsylvania College of Technology%E2%80%99s American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers student chapter, from left, are Christopher J. Barlow, Matthew A. Alters, Mark C. Shaffer and Mark P. Hunsicker. (Photo by David P. Socha)Four members from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ student chapter at Pennsylvania College of Technology recently donated their time and hands-on talents to update the heating system at Williamsport’s 113-year-old Annunciation Catholic Church.

Instructor David P. Socha, a member of the St. John the Worker Parish served by the church and the Fall 2009 adviser to the chapter during a faculty colleague’s sabbatical, was aided by Matthew A. Alters, of Bellefonte, president of the ASHRAE chapter; Mark P. Hunsicker, of Lansdale, vice president; Christopher J. Barlow, of Nazareth, secretary; and Mark C. Shaffer, of Hanover, a chapter member.

Socha said the students gave up a Saturday to help him repair ductwork in the attic, install dampers in that ductwork and insulate openings around the basement of the church. The work they completed will help save heating dollars for the 702 W. Fourth St. church, which built in 1887 is far from energy-efficient.

“It was a very enjoyable experience working at Annunciation Church,” Alters said. “It was great that we were able to use the tools that we have learned to help others in the community. I feel that it was very beneficial to us to apply what we have learned in class to real-life applications.”

Because the church is so old, Alters found it particularly rewarding to learn about the older mechanical systems inside.

“For example, I was able to see wooden ductwork that served the church before it was converted over to sheet-metal ductwork,” he said. “When in class, we mostly deal with modern types of systems and are not able to see some of the older systems that are out there.”

The work detail also offered ASHRAE members the beneficial experience of working closely together on a project, and Alters and Shaffer said they look forward to more community service.

“I really enjoyed helping out Mr. Socha’s church because he has a lot of work to do there. He is really doing something good “¦ when it comes to energy savings,” Shaffer added. “The things we learned in class with him were the same types of things we did at the church.”

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