Renewable Energy and Sustainability Degrees Offered
Interest in renewable energy is growing worldwide and so are jobs in this field, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s green economy occupations database. Penn State, which is ranked first among universities engaged in alternative energy research by Elsevier Publishing, is bringing together faculty from multiple academic units to help train renewable energy leaders and will launch an online master’s degree in renewable energy and sustainability systems starting this fall.
“The new Intercollege Master of Professional Studies in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems (iMPS-RESS) is designed to prepare professionals to lead the world’s transformation from an unsustainable, fossil energy economy to a renewable, sustainable basis of operation,” said Ali Demirci, professor of agricultural and biological engineering and iMPS-RESS academic program chair.
Academic units involved in this program include the colleges of Agricultural Sciences (lead academic unit), Earth and Mineral Sciences (lead administrative unit), Engineering and the Liberal Arts; and the departments of agricultural and biological engineering, aerospace engineering, architectural engineering, chemical engineering, ecosystem science and management, energy and mineral engineering, marketing and plant science. Penn State’s World Campus will deliver the degree online.
Daniel Ciolkosz, academic program coordinator for iMPS-RESS, said, “This program is focused on giving students the technical expertise and advanced project management skills they will need to effectively create or manage successful renewable and sustainable energy systems. Options in bioenergy, sustainability management and policy, solar energy and wind energy will allow students to tailor the degree to their career goals.”
The program will provide students with foundational knowledge in renewable energy and sustainability systems. It includes one course on energy markets, policy and regulation. Students also will complete a management and design project. Program options will provide specialized, technical knowledge.
“We are very excited about this new degree,” said Ann Taylor, director of the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and administrative program manager for iMPS-RESS. “We are creating a virtual program office to provide a single point of contact for students and developing a unified learning design for courses to give students a consistent experience.”
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.