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CEAS Graduate Working To Promote Sustainable Structures

December 17, 2017
Man installs solar panels on roof
A graduate of Energy Systems Engineering at UW, Chris Cronick now installs solar panels in Alaska. (Chris Cronick photo)

Maybe it’s because he grew up in Alaska or attended college in Wyoming, but Chris Cronick has always had an appreciation for natural beauty and the environment. The quest to protect and preserve those places is part of the reason he enrolled in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Wyoming.

“As an avid outdoorsman, I have an inherent respect for our environment and the protection thereof,” he says. “As a result, I believe in responsible energy use and am passionate about applying what I have learned, and learning more, in regards to renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation.”

A UW education allowed Cronick was able to build a career in energy consulting and sustainable design on both the residential and commercial level. Originally from Anchorage, he was familiar with the university because his mother and grandmother are proud alumnae. He was able to take advantage of the Children of UW Alumni financial award, which made attending the school even more cost-effective.

“The improvements to campus and money coming into the school made the decision easy,” he says. “I believe UW offers unique opportunities that you don't get at larger universities.”

One of the opportunities to which Cronick refers include the formation of the Energy Systems Engineering program, which was launched in 2009. One of the most unique programs in the nation, the specialized curriculum appealed to him as soon as he heard of it.

“I was originally enrolled in the architectural engineering program but changed to the ESE program as soon as it was offered,” Cronick says. “It emphasized renewable energy, my true career interest, and offered a pathway to advance my knowledge and education beyond many people in the industry.”

Cronick was an active member of the engineering undergraduate community. He was on the Joint Engineering Council, the president and co-founder of the Energy Systems Club, a nominated council member for the UW Engineering Fund for Enrichment and a nominee for the JEC's outstanding senior of the year. After graduating in 2011, he was able to find employment immediately.

He worked as an environmental engineer for the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Division of Air Quality for the state of Alaska and gained a broad range of knowledge relating to technical writing, analyzing various energy conversion processes and ensuring air quality regulations were being met on a state and federal level. Later on, he joined Sustainably Built in Boulder, Colo., as a certified Home Energy Rating System and Energy Star rater. He interacted with architects, general contractors, and various sub-contractors to ensure residences meet minimum compliance requirements while driving the client to the next level for energy-efficient design.

He now works as a crew lead for Arctic Solar Ventures doing solar installations in Alaska. He also owns a business, Frontier Energy Advising, and performs energy modeling and mechanical design for residential homes. His goal is to lead clients towards a net-zero energy structure while enhancing comfort and safety within the home.  

“The ESE program helped me to decipher how to break down a problem and come at it from various angles,” Cronick says. “It provided the backbone and resources necessary for solving issues related to energy use, and conservation in areas utilizing knowledge of engineering, law, the environment and economics.”

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