Revitalizing Manufacturing in America
Here at American Crane & Equipment Corporation, our company’s culture is rooted in supporting STEM education — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — for local students. We believe that increasing diversity and representation in these fields will not only help revitalize manufacturing’s outdated reputation but also allow the industry to evolve and prosper.
As part of our ongoing efforts to promote STEM education, we participate annually in Manufacturing Day (the first Friday of every October), offering tours of our facility for local students, educating people about the many exciting careers available in the field, and celebrating manufacturing in America. As a U.S.-based manufacturer, we’re proud to be a part of such a dynamic, innovative industry.
Our Executive Vice President of American Crane, Karen Norheim, is especially passionate about sharing her industry knowledge with students. As an alumnus of Penn State and a member of its Professional Advisory Committee Board, Karen often participates in university events, serving as a mentor for students interested in pursuing a career in manufacturing.
MorningStar Solar Home: A Project in Sustainability
Through Karen’s close relationship with Penn State, members of the American Crane team recently toured the school’s lauded MorningStar solar home as part of our efforts to support local organizations that promote innovation and engineering solutions for social good.
The MorningStar solar home was built by more than 800 students for the 2007 Solar Decathlon competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. The solar home won fourth place among 20 universities competing internationally. Since then, the student-driven project has propelled the school to invest more resources in classes on sustainability and solar power.
Considered a “net-zero home,” MorningStar creates just as much, if not more, energy than it consumes. It’s completely powered by renewable energy, employing an adjustable photovoltaic (PV) array, a dedicated DC/LED lighting power system to eliminate conversion losses, and a ground-source heat pump and radiant floor and shower wall system for efficient temperature control.
In addition to these energy-efficient features, the structure of MorningStar is made from locally sourced natural resources, including Pennsylvania black slate, Pennsylvania bluestone, Pennsylvania recycled steel, native hardwoods. Many of them are from dead elm trees found on Penn State’s campus and a wall of glass milk bottles, which are filled with water during the day and stored on shelves in front of the windows to help absorb the sun’s heat. Not only are all of these materials environmentally friendly, they’re also celebratory of Pennsylvania’s local industries, forests, and craftspeople.
After earning fourth place at the Solar Decathlon, the MorningStar solar home received a $560K grant from the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association to finance its relocation from Washington, D.C. to Penn State’s campus to serve as a teaching space. The solar home now resides at The University’s Center for Sustainability, where it serves as a renewable energy research lab for both students and the community.
The American Crane & Equipment Corporation (ACECO) team was truly inspired by our recent visit to the MorningStar solar home. This was a perfect example of the many opportunities for STEM mentorship and education. Projects like these not only benefit the people directly involved, who gain valuable networking skills and career opportunities, but also the community, industry, and economy overall.
To learn more about our community initiatives that support STEM and diversity in the manufacturing space, visit our YouTube channel, where you can find a Manufacturing Day plant tour and videos on choosing a career in manufacturing.