University of Idaho Internship Builds Student Skills, Helps Local Business Owners

Monday, March 21 2011

MOSCOW, Idaho – Six University of Idaho interns are building valuable, real-world skills for the emerging green economy by providing energy efficiency evaluations for small businesses in Northern Idaho.

The university’s Sustainability Center and the Environmental Science Program are partnering with the Idaho Small Business Development Center and Avista Utilities to deliver the internship program.

Paid student interns work in teams of two to evaluate current energy uses and recommend potential savings. These no-cost evaluations consider lighting, building envelope, HVAC systems and behavioral choices in an effort to save money for local business owners and reduce carbon emissions from energy use.

“This is a great opportunity for students to manage a project from start to finish,” said Joe Nickels, intern coordinator for the program. “They play an active role in each step, from gathering and analyzing data to building rapport with business owners and writing the final reports. These are essential skills for their future, regardless of the career field they end up in.”

In fact, the Small Business Administration grant that funds the program requires students from a variety of disciplines. In fall 2010, 10 interns from five disciplines completed 26 evaluations in Moscow, Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston.

Businesses can register for the program online at or by contacting Emily Shimada at or (208) 885-0125.

As increasing environmental awareness drives interest in sustainable practices, the University of Idaho continues to seek carbon reduction initiatives to meet the current and future needs of society and to contribute to the quality of life and the natural resources in Idaho, the nation and the world. The University of Idaho emitted 38,981 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in 2007, which equals 3.59 tons per student. The university has set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2030 and has begun the work to reduce carbon emissions across operations. For more information about the university’s sustainability efforts, contact the University of Idaho Sustainability Center at or visit
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About the University of Idaho

Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s land-grant institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year. The University of Idaho is classified by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation as high research activity. The student population of 12,000 includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars, who select from more than 130 degree options in the colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Art and Architecture; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Law; Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Natural Resources; and Science. The university also is charged with the statewide mission for medical education through the WWAMI program. The university combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities and focuses on helping students to succeed and become leaders. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. For more information, visit