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Developing a Next-Generation Community College Curriculum for Energy-Efficient High-Performance Building Operations . Peter Crabtree, Peralta Community College District Nick Kyriakopedi, Laney College

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Developing a Next-Generation Community College Curriculum for Energy-Efficient High-Performance Building Operations

Peter Crabtree, Peralta Community College District

Nick Kyriakopedi, Laney College

Evan Mills, Philip Haves, Roland J. Otto, Mary Ann Piette, Peng Xu, Rick Diamond, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Joe Deringer, The Deringer Group

Chuck Frost, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


Outline l.jpg
Outline for Energy-Efficient High-Performance Building Operations

  • Need for new skills

  • New curriculum

  • Approach to education

  • Computer-based education tool

  • Articulation with high schools and 4-year colleges

  • Testing and dissemination


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Need for new skills for Energy-Efficient High-Performance Building Operations

  • Growing awareness of operational problems

  • Operators and service technicians in front line

  • Community colleges the main source of education

  • Need to update ‘traditional’ curricula:

    • controls

    • troubleshooting

    • commissioning

  • Partnership:

    • Perralta Community College District

    • LBNL

    • The Deringer Group

  • NSF-funded project


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Focus group - I for Energy-Efficient High-Performance Building Operations


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Focus group - II for Energy-Efficient High-Performance Building Operations


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New curriculum - I for Energy-Efficient High-Performance Building Operations

Technical Skills:

  • Basic building science: physics and math and theory of how buildings work

  • Information technology and networking

  • Diagnosing and trouble-shooting problems

  • Control system programming

  • Sustainable design - green buildings

  • Performance measurement and analysis

  • Safety and risk management


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New curriculum - II for Energy-Efficient High-Performance Building Operations

Business Skills:

  • Working with people, reporting, etc.

  • Economic and financial analysis (including assessment of non-economic benefits)

  • Communicating analyses and recommendations to decision makers

  • Critical thinking

  • Problem solving


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Educational approach - I for Energy-Efficient High-Performance Building Operations

Problem-based learning:

  • premise: learning more effective in context

  • employers provide ‘real world’ problems – complexity and ambiguity are pluses

  • students work in teams to solve problems:

    • define actual problem

    • identify information and other resources required

    • almost no lectures


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Educational approach for Energy-Efficient High-Performance Building Operations

Concept-based learning:

  • Assignments due before class

  • Use text books etc for majority of learning

  • Use class to fill in the gaps

  • Use personal response system to pose simple problems that test concepts – lecture, discuss or move on depending on response

    Combine problem-based learning, concept-based learning and computer-based educational tools


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Computer-based education tool - I for Energy-Efficient High-Performance Building Operations

Simulation-based tool, based on SPARK:

  • Understand the operating principles of HVAC system components

  • Diagnose basic equipment problems at the component level

  • Use goal-oriented, problem-solving methods at a systems level to find solutions to more complex equipment problems

  • Focus on problem-solving methodologies in finding system


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Software-only tool for Energy-Efficient High-Performance Building Operations


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‘Hardware-in-the-loop’ tool - I for Energy-Efficient High-Performance Building Operations


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‘Hardware-in-the-loop’ tool - II for Energy-Efficient High-Performance Building Operations


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Articulation with high schools and 4-year colleges for Energy-Efficient High-Performance Building Operations

High school:

  • Parallel project to develop a high school applied physics course

  • Inform and engage prospective college students

  • Most physical phenomena occur in buildings

    4-year colleges:

  • Encourage bright students to move on

  • Universities welcome motivated students

  • Provide disadvantaged students with opportunities


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Testing and dissemination for Energy-Efficient High-Performance Building Operations

  • Curriculum materials and computer-based tools to be tested:

    • Laney College

    • Other community colleges in CA

  • Summer training programs for instructors

  • Materials and tools to be freely available and widely distributed

  • Tools will be open source to encourage further development and customization