In January 2018, the Center for Development of a Sustainable Region (CDSR), one of the research consortiums known as Centers for Collaborative Research (CCRs) funded by the USAID SHERA program, visited SMKN 2 Pangkal Pinang (SMKN), a public vocational school in Bangka, an island located off the east coast of Sumatra. Based at Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Yogyakarta, CDSR is a multidisciplinary collaboration which aims to research and implement hybrid and efficient energy systems in Indonesia. CDSR is comprised on several research teams that will led research activities on various topics. The research team focused on integrated smart and green building (Insgreeb), who research activities will focus on surveying and collecting data to build profiles for green building in several regions of the country, including northeast Sumatra and west Java, led the trip to Bangka. Specifically, the purpose of the visit was to initiate collaboration with the local vocational school, in which CDSR will offer training, college readiness and career counseling to students within fields relevant to Insgreed, and measure the thermal conditions of the school’s building, including temperature and humidity.
CDSR chose this vocational school for its building research because of its design, in which the classrooms, workshops, and other facilities are integrated into one location. This building is a unique case study because it utilizes mostly natural lighting and does not use air conditioning, instead taking advantage of the island’s wind system to support air circulation.
During the visit to SMKN, CDSR first meet with the school’s Head of Public Communications and Industry, Zulkifli, S.Pd, teachers and other staff, as well as toured the school to determine which rooms to sample for thermal conditions, including temperature and humidity, lighting and velocity. Once analyzed, CDSR will share this information with the school, which it plans to use for future improvements to the building’s infrastructure to foster improved learning processes for students and teachers.
During the visit, the Insgreeb team lead workshops on green and smart building and college readiness, which was attended by over 100 vocational students, as well as teachers and the Dean of the Engineering Faculty at the local university, University of Bangka Belitung. During the session on green and smart building, CDSR’s representative emphasized that there is a growing need for individuals with vocational training to fill the jobs in this emerging sector. "This can be your job opportunity and work in the future", he explained. Indeed, the application of technologies such as Energy Monitoring Systems, an energy efficiency technique being developed by CDSR, which will require a workforce with degrees in Computer Networking and Electrical Engineering Instrumentation, both offered at SMK. In addition, students studying Building Engineering, another degree offered at SMK, will be well prepared to implement passive design building, a method of design that reduces the need for auxiliary heating or cooling in building by taking advantage of the local climate to maintain a comfortable temperature range in a space.
The session on college readiness, led by Randy Frans Fela, S.T, a researcher at UGM and alumni from SMK who majored in Automotive Mechanical Engineering, emphasized the need for professionals with advanced degrees and implored those students interested to think beyond vocational school. He also noted scholarships available to hard-working students without the financial means to attend a four-year university. Specifically, UGM has supported over 15,000 students in scholarships totally almost Rp. 1 billion. “Make sure one of the awardees is you!", he exclaimed.