Hiram College is a private liberal arts college located in Hiram, Ohio. It was founded in 1850 as the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute by Amos Sutton Hayden and other members of the Disciples of Christ Church. The college is nonsectarian and coeducational. It is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Hiram's most famous alumnus is James A. Garfield, who also served as a college instructor and principal, and was subsequently elected the 20th President of the United States. Wikipedia.
News Article | May 9, 2017
LearnHowToBecome.org, a leading resource provider for higher education and career information, has released its list of the best colleges and universities in Ohio for 2017. 50 four-year schools were ranked, with Ursuline College, Xavier University, Ohio Northern University, Case Western Reserve University and John Carroll University coming in as the top five. Of the 29 two-year schools that also made the cut, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Belmont College, Sinclair College, Owens Community College and Columbus State Community College were in the top five. A complete list of schools is included below. “Earning a certificate or degree can be a major stepping stone for career development,” said Wes Ricketts, senior vice president of LearnHowToBecome.org. “These schools offer more than just educational opportunities, they represent Ohio’s best combination of education and employment resources that translate to strong post-college earnings for students.” To be included on the “Best Colleges in Ohio” list, institutions must be regionally accredited, not-for-profit schools. Each college is also ranked on metrics like the variety of degree programs offered, the number of employment and academic resources offered, financial aid availability, graduation rates and annual alumni earnings 10 years after entering college. Complete details on each college, their individual scores and the data and methodology used to determine the LearnHowToBecome.org “Best Colleges in Ohio” list, visit: http://www.learnhowtobecome.org/college/ohio/ Ohio’s Best Four-Year Colleges for 2017 include: Ashland University Baldwin Wallace University Bluffton University Bowling Green State University-Main Campus Capital University Case Western Reserve University Cedarville University Cleveland Institute of Art Cleveland State University Defiance College Denison University Franciscan University of Steubenville Franklin University Heidelberg University Hiram College John Carroll University Kent State University at Kent Kenyon College Lake Erie College Lourdes University Malone University Marietta College Miami University-Oxford Mount Saint Joseph University Mount Vernon Nazarene University Muskingum University Notre Dame College Oberlin College Ohio Dominican University Ohio Northern University Ohio State University-Main Campus Ohio State University-Mansfield Campus Ohio University-Main Campus Ohio Wesleyan University Otterbein University The College of Wooster The University of Findlay Union Institute & University University of Akron Main Campus University of Cincinnati-Main Campus University of Dayton University of Mount Union University of Toledo Ursuline College Walsh University Wilberforce University Wittenberg University Wright State University-Main Campus Xavier University Youngstown State University Ohio’s Best Two-Year Colleges for 2017 include: Belmont College Bowling Green State University-Firelands Central Ohio Technical College Choffin Career and Technical Center Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Clark State Community College Columbiana County Career and Technical Center Columbus State Community College Cuyahoga Community College Eastern Gateway Community College Edison State Community College Hocking College Lakeland Community College Lorain County Community College Marion Technical College North Central State College Northwest State Community College Ohio Institute of Allied Health Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute Owens Community College Remington College-Cleveland Campus Rhodes State College Sinclair College Southern State Community College Stark State College Terra State Community College University of Akron Wayne College Washington State Community College Zane State College About Us: LearnHowtoBecome.org was founded in 2013 to provide data and expert driven information about employment opportunities and the education needed to land the perfect career. Our materials cover a wide range of professions, industries and degree programs, and are designed for people who want to choose, change or advance their careers. We also provide helpful resources and guides that address social issues, financial aid and other special interest in higher education. Information from LearnHowtoBecome.org has proudly been featured by more than 700 educational institutions.
News Article | February 17, 2017
The Community for Accredited Online Schools, a leading resource provider for higher education information, has ranked the best two- and four-year colleges with online programs in the state of Ohio for 2017. Among four-year schools a total of 41 made the list, with University of Akron, University of Toledo, University of Cincinnati, Ohio University and Ashland University coming in as the top five schools. The state’s top 18 two-year schools were also honored, with Sinclair College, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Belmont College, Edison State Community College and Columbus State Community College taking the top five spots. Schools were ranked based on over a dozen different data points. “Student enrollment in schools within the University System of Ohio has grown 8 percent over the past decade,” said Doug Jones, CEO and founder of AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org. “As more students pursue post-secondary degrees, the schools on our list are providing more flexible, high-quality learning opportunities outside the traditional classroom.” To be included on the Best Online Schools list, colleges must meet specific base requirements, including being institutionally accredited and public or private not-for-profit institutions. Each college is scored based on additional criteria that includes its employment and counseling resources, student/teacher ratios, graduation rates and financial aid availability. For more details on where each school falls in the rankings and the data and methodology used to determine the lists, visit: Ohio’s Best Online Four-Year Schools for 2017 include the following: Ashland University Baldwin Wallace University Bowling Green State University-Main Campus Case Western Reserve University Cedarville University Cleveland State University Defiance College Franciscan University of Steubenville Franklin University God’s Bible School and College Hiram College Kent State University at Kent Kent State University at Salem Kettering College Malone University Miami University-Oxford Mount Carmel College of Nursing Mount Saint Joseph University Mount Vernon Nazarene University Muskingum University Notre Dame College Ohio Christian University Ohio University-Main Campus Otterbein University Shawnee State University The University of Findlay Tiffin University Union Institute & University University of Akron Main Campus University of Cincinnati-Main Campus University of Dayton University of Mount Union University of Northwestern Ohio University of Rio Grande University of Toledo Urbana University Ursuline College Walsh University Wright State University-Lake Campus Wright State University-Main Campus Youngstown State University Ohio’s Best Online Two-Year Schools for 2017 include the following: Belmont College Bowling Green State University-Firelands Central Ohio Technical College Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Clark State Community College Columbus State Community College Cuyahoga Community College Edison State Community College Hocking College Lakeland Community College Lorain County Community College Marion Technical College North Central State College Northwest State Community College Rhodes State College Sinclair College Stark State College University of Akron Wayne College ### About Us: AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org was founded in 2011 to provide students and parents with quality data and information about pursuing an affordable, quality education that has been certified by an accrediting agency. Our community resource materials and tools span topics such as college accreditation, financial aid, opportunities available to veterans, people with disabilities, as well as online learning resources. We feature higher education institutions that have developed online learning programs that include highly trained faculty, new technology and resources, and online support services to help students achieve educational success.
News Article | August 26, 2016
What if it was easy to find out how much energy a home uses and how much that energy costs? It could unlock a whole new market that doesn’t exist today worth hundreds of billions. According to an Elevate Energy study, Chicago homes that disclosed energy costs sold almost ⅓ faster (43 vs. 63 days) and had higher deal closing rates (63% vs. 53%). Barry Haaser and Jeremy Roberts at the Green Button Alliance noted studies in Illinois and Washington DC that said simply disclosing energy costs raised average sale prices by $4000, regardless of energy use. Transparency is the likely reason for this – there is less uncertainty and friction in the transaction. Putting a metric on energy use that is easily comparable between homes could begin to value efficient homes more in addition to this effect. The question becomes what metric(s) is best for doing this? Rather than a laundry list, we need to focus on one or two that could fit in a 50×75 pixel box on MLS. If Zillow/Trulia added it to their listings, that could be the essential first step. I propose Energy Use Intensity, or EUI as kBTU/square foot/year. The rest of this article will show my reasoning. Focusing down to one or two metrics forces us to think of them in multiple levels. The metric we should be looking for is top level, similar to combined city and highway mileage for a new car. That helps narrow the field of what vehicles to consider, once we narrow down, then we dig deeper into more metrics like what city and highway mileage are, horsepower, safety features, etc. In the home buying process, this metric will be used at the stage right after prequalifying. For example a buyer qualifies for a $200,000 loan. What that really means is their income allows them to spend $950/mo at 4% for 30 years. Enter an energy metric. The real cost to own this example home includes taxes ($200/mo), insurance ($100/mo), and utilities ($200/mo). So what you’re really looking for is about $1450/month including all costs. This ignores maintenance costs for now. What if one of the homes being compared is Net Zero after solar panels and a Home Performance upgrade? Now utilities are only $35/mo for meter fees. That frees up $165/mo out of the $1450. $165/mo at 4% is $22,000 over 15 years or $34,000 over 30. That means a house with those energy bills vs. a comparable home is likely to be worth $20,000-$35,000 more than its comps. Possibly more because a home like that is likely to have fewer maintenance issues since efficient homes usually have lower air leakage rates and lower air leakage typically leads to fewer moisture problems. That’s for the market to decide. Right now the market can’t see energy costs, so it doesn’t value them. If we knew how much operating costs were for 5 comparable homes, and one home had double the operating cost, that would be an easy way to potentially cross one home off the list. That’s what this metric needs to do. The trouble with cost alone is that it’s very squishy. It’s not a useful metric over long periods. Costs go up and down. The same house may cost $200/mo with lower energy costs, but 10 years ago when costs were higher it could have been $300/mo for the same usage. Different fuels experience different pricing ups and downs. Fuel costs aren’t directly comparable either, an oil heat home generally costs a good deal more to heat than a comparable natural gas heated one. In my opinion, the top level metric needs to be usage based, cost is a secondary metric, although a close second. If those are the benefits, there are a number of things this top level metric needs to do well. EUI (site) has all of these except the raw part. I feel it’s worth the sacrifice for that one item, particularly because with only three numbers behind it – electric usage, heating fuel usage, and square footage, it’s easy to figure out if any funny business was going on. Plus it has a unique benefit: In kBTU/square foot/year the scale for EUI generally falls in a range between zero and one hundred. This is very similar to a HERS score, and like a HERS score, zero is net zero. A 0 EUI means either no energy usage or completely offset energy usage. EUI 100 is a bit piggish, but not awful. Explaining what 6.4 million BTUs per year means to a homeowner sounds like work. Explaining 0-100 sounds very simple. Here is a chart of Energy Smart Home Performance’s projects using EUI using the ResiSpeak tool: The highlighted home with a 24.9 EUI is an all electric Deep Energy Retrofit for Hiram College called the TREE House. Is it possible that home might be worth more than the home at 100? (Ironically, that is my house.) Passive Houses aim at 4.75 kBTU/sf/yr for heating and cooling. 475 Supply is named after it. The Department of Energy has the Building Performance Database which uses EUI and has data on thousands of homes across the US. It’s not something new we have to come up with. In fact, here are my projects overlaid on the Building Performance Database homes in Ohio: EUI only needs fuel usage and square footage. Fuel usage usually comes from utility bills, so those are tough to game. We’re down to gaming square footage. I propose we use county record square footages. County records have these attributes: My argument is for two primary energy metrics: Energy Use Intensity (EUI in kBTU/square foot/year) and total annual energy cost. These are only ‘top level’ metrics. The raw data needs to be available so that deeper analysis can be made when narrowing to a few home choices. These metrics can create total transparency around ownership costs of homes and influence home values, opening up a new market for Home Performance upgrades and lowering risks for lenders. Lower risks mean lower interest rates, which mean more projects make economic sense: a virtuous cycle. This virtuous cycle can lead to numerous societal benefits: jobs that can’t be exported, reduced pollution, reduced health consequences from that pollution, and an easier transition off of fossil fuels because more homes will be capable of going all electric. (We have four pre-1920 all electric homes under our belts now – one is getting solar panels this month.) There are many more benefits that could be argued for as well. All because we started publishing a few numbers. Is this rosy? Of course, but it’s probably not that far off. Chant with me: EUI! EUI! It’s not that hard to make it a reality, if Zillow and Trulia add it, or the National Association of Realtors pushes for it, it could happen very quickly. The Green Button program can be used with monthly data, making data access for easier. This isn’t that hard of a lift. If you have any interest in helping, reach out! This 1900 Cleveland home had a substantial energy retrofit. A 53% air leakage reduction, complete insulation package, and new forced air HVAC system including ductwork and fresh air was installed. It doesn’t look any different than it used to, but it’s much healthier and comfortable than it used to be. The EUI last winter was shockingly low: 10.9. That was unoccupied during a mild winter with a low set point, I look forward to seeing what it is this winter. Shouldn’t this home be worth more because of these upgrades? You can read more about the project and it’s “womb-like comfort” here. Building Science Corporation – Kohta Ueno – Review of building energy use metrics. A great overview of energy metrics. Ironically he argues against EUI, but Ueno’s aim is understanding the deeper implications of energy use, not a top level metric for driving market value. Well worth a read. For more insights on pricing home energy efficiency, here’s an article CleanTechnica‘s Kyle Field published on the topic earlier this year: Buying a house is an exciting part of life, the start of a new chapter, and frankly…freakin’ scary! Typically that’s not because of any spooky creatures but because of the massive mortgage that people usually take on to afford one, the number of things that can go wrong, and unforeseen financial burdens that these ‘money pits’ can become. Many of the financial pitfalls can be identified early on in the buying process as part of a quality home inspection, but there’s one big dirty secret that many homes have that is a bit harder to wrap your head around when buying a new place – energy. I’m not talking about the qi (or ch’i) of the house or anything like that, but literally about the energy used by the house on an annual basis in all forms – electricity, natural gas, propane, heating oil, solar, wind, solar thermal, geothermal, etc Let’s back up a bit. Pretend you’re buying a new car. Do you check the window sticker to see what options it comes with? How about the fuel efficiency? Estimated cost to operate for a year? Me too! …and it’s the same for a house. We want to know which energy options it comes with. Does it use natural gas for heating? Have a high tech heat pump in the basement that is dirt cheap to own and operate? Fuel efficiency similarly translates into energy intensity. You thought I was going to say energy efficiency there, right? The actual metric for putting data behind this is the amount of energy used per square foot of the house. Roll that up over the size of the house and the months of the year and you get the mega-metric – the total cost of energy to operate for a year. Before cars kept track of fuel efficiency, knowing what miles-per-gallon your car got was irrelevant to the market – you don’t care what your car gets and the market doesn’t value it…and it’s the same thing with a home. You can invest $15k in solar panels, $10k in energy efficiency improvements, and $3k in a new heat pump, but you’re not going to see much of that money rolling back into the valuation of the house because people don’t speak that language yet. We need to retrain our brains, and the market, to accurately value not just the cost of the house but the cost to run the house month to month. For example, let’s dig in to the numbers on two houses: Obviously the second house is worth more, and is a better value for the same purchase price. But just how MUCH more does an energy bill that’s $400 lower (every month!) make the house worth? Backing up a bit, how do we even quantify the monthly cost of energy for a house? Putting a price tag on the cost of energy is the first step in getting a handle on the value of residential renewables – such as solar – into the valuation of the house. That allows homeowners to see the month-to-month cost and quickly extrapolate the cost of energy over the life of the house (the long term cost of energy). This could be accomplished by reapplying the concept of the Energy Star label on appliances: Beyond just the base concept of putting a dollar value on, and an increased visibility of, the cost of energy, less efficient homes are actually more risky to banks. Think about it. In the example above, house A carries an energy bill of $450/month vs house B with just a $50/month bill. That’s an extra $400 of monthly debt on house A that will never go away for the homeowner. That effectively takes the monthly payment for the house from $1000 to $1450 whereas House B is only going to cost $1050/month – a huge difference. One of my favorite sayings that I’ve heard about solar is that it takes a monthly liability (the monthly bill) and turns it into an asset (increased value of the house). Homes with higher energy bills are riskier investments for banks, as the monthly energy cost is not taken into account when the home is financed. It’s essentially a highly variable chunk of debt (particularly in this era of increasing efficiency and solar) that the bank not only doesn’t know about, but doesn’t seem to care about. In markets where the energy bill is a large percentage of the mortgage, this can play a large factor in whether a homeowner can actually afford the full cost of the home or not. Further, the variations in energy price can, and likely often do today, single-handedly sink the homeowner’s monthly budget and kick the loan into default. Finally, these energy costs can be rolled up over the life of the loan as part of the purchasing process. House B might only cost $18k in energy costs over 30 years whereas house A would tip the scales at $162k!! Granted, not many people are interested in stepping back and looking at the total cost of energy over 30 years, but lifetime costs often paint a picture compelling enough to trigger small changes. If we looked at energy costs this way more often, solar and energy efficiency would be much more likely to have increased value when the house hits the market. Markets value what is measured. We need to measure energy use and turn consumption into an easy to understand comparable metric – like MPG is for fuel efficiency. Doing that will trigger banks and financial institutions to dig a bit deeper into the value of energy efficiency and residential power generation as a part of the lending process and overall risk assessment. If Energy Use Intensity is being looked at by financial institutions, services like Zillow will start reporting EUI, which completes the cycle back to the consumers. Homeowners would have more incentive to invest in technologies that are better over the long run and often for the planet, such as making that $5k investment in more insulation, spending $300 on LED light bulbs, or $15k on solar. Homeowners can have the confidence that they are making an investment in the house and in a reduction in monthly operating costs over the life of the home, or at least of the product being installed. For LEDs, that’s just 22.6 years…what a ripoff 🙂 Drive an electric car? Complete one of our short surveys for our next electric car report. Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.