Assession 76-32

Evergreen State College Archives

Academic Affairs : Academic Deans : Faculty : Romero, J. and Cole, R.




Faculty: Jacob B. Romero (Coordinator)

Robert S. Cole



Planning for the Energy Systems group contract began in the spring of 1979. The idea was to create a group contract that would cut across both alternative and conventional energy systems, yet provide the students with a solid technical skill in alternative energy systems. In the spring of 1979 only one faculty had been assigned to the energy program, and the challenge was to achieve the breadth and depth in scope necessary to achieve these goals.

Subsequent events changed the picture altogether. During the summer of 1979 the college hired Robert Cole from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, who was interested in spending his sabbatical at Evergreen. The hiring of Rob Cole, who had a background in energy systems and solar architecture, opened up new possibilities for the contract, and so re-planning to exploit the new situation was done late in the summer of 1979. In addition to many specific changes, the following major changes also were made in the structure of the program We decided to conduct the contract in a semi-coordinated mode and included in the planning many elements of a coordinated study: seminar, tie-up lectures, and "core" themes. Since Rob Cole had had experience in solar architecture, and we also had the part-time services of Jon Collier (College Architect), we decided to use architecture as a unifying theme. Another way of unifying the program (at least the lectures) was tried during fall quarter. This was the use of a thematic general lecture at the start of each week in an attempt to tie-up the material for the week. For reasons that will be explained below, this lecture approach was only partially successful.

Program Descriptions

The catalog supplement description of the program and the program descriptions provided to the Registrar are given below:

Catalog Supplement Copy: Energy Systems: Conventional and Alternative

Fall, Winter, Spring/Group Contract.

Coordinator: Jake Romero.

Enrollment: 40-44.

Prerequisites: Basic study in the physical or natural sciences, or one area of

the social sciences. Prior approval necessary.

Special Expenses: Some field trips are anticipated in the Puget Sound area.

Part-Time Options: Yes, with consent of the coordinator.

The energy problem is a complex one. To obtain a balanced understanding of it, one is inextricably led to consider its economic, socio-political, and techno­logical aspects. The goal of this year-long program is to provide the student with the breadth needed to evaluate the holistic nature of the problem and to develop a depth of understanding in one of its principle aspects.

Fall Quarter will focus on understanding energy -- what it is -- and how it is stored, produced, converted, distributed, and utilized by modern society. These topics will also be investigated from an historical, economic and political perspective. The program's emphasis during the Winter Quarter will be to acquire the depth of understanding needed to analyze an aspect of energy in detail preparatory to carrying out a research project.

Program History Energy Systems page 2

These projects will begin in Spring Quarter. Students may elect to continue research on existing long-term projects begun in two previous quarters. Others will find suitable projects in the areas of energy storage, biomass conversion, economic analysis, alternative energy policy formulation, or in determining the feasibility of a particular solar, wind or geothermal system. These projects will enable the student to develop research ability on a real-world problem. The projects will have a "hands-on" emphasis and a concerted attempt will be made to produce serious and useful results.

Learning activities throughout the first two quarters will include a series of lectures by the program faculty on scientific, technical, and economic topics; a reading seminar dealing with a few but important questions involving the social, economic, and life-style aspects of the study; and workshops organized by students and faculty for developing and sharing technical skills. Outside resource persons will give lectures or lead workshops on specialized subjects.

Subjects Emphasized: Applied science, environmental studies, social science research, economics, and ecology.

Program is preparatory for careers and/or further study in applied physics, research planning and management, and other energy related fields.

Additional Course Allowed: Yes, with consent of the coordinator.

Program History

Energy Systems

page 3


Program Description

Fall 1979

Activities and Scope: The fall quarter program presented material to master the engineering skills necessary to analyze energy systems, to obtain a global perspective of the energy problem, and to familiarize the participant with the problems faced by women in science. The weekly schedule included a general lecture to introduce the material presented that week, two weekly lectures each in thermodynamics, transport processes, and either advanced mathematics (for students who had had calculus) or calculus. Each student participated in a weekly seminar covering energy futures (first half of the quarter) and women in science (second half of the quarter). In addition students attended modules on Architectural Design and Electronics and participated in short workshops on computer programming and solar collector design.

Seminar Books: 1) The Poverty of Power (Commoner); 2) Energy Futures (Stobaugh and Yergin); 3) The Double Helix (Watson); 4) Rosalind Franklin and DNA (Sayre) 5) Hypatria’s Sisters (Schacher); 6) Three articles: "The Anomaly of a Woman in Physics" (Keller), "How Can a Little Girl Like You Teach a Great Big Class of Men?" (Weisstein), and "Getting Women Into Science" (Fitzgibbons).

Class Texts: 1) Engineering Thermodynamics (Burghardt); 2) Transport Phenomena Notes; 3) Advanced Engineering Math_ (Wylie);  4) _Calculus and Its Applications (Goldstein, et al.); 5) Working Drawing Handbook (McHugh); 6) The Little House (Armstrong).

Outside Lectures: The Hard Road to Becoming a Woman Scientist (Dr. Ruth Shearer).

Course Equivalences:

TOTAL                                                                                16 quarter hours

Faculty: Robert S. Cole, Ph.D. (Physics); Jacob B. Romero, Ph.D. (Engineering)

Program History

Energy Systems

page 4                                                                                                                        


Program Description

Winter 1950

Activities and Scope: The winter quarter program emphasized the application of engineering analysis to solar home design, the design of solar heated homes, and the integration of solar technology with architecture. The weekly schedule included two weekly lectures on solar design, two weekly lectures in calculus or advanced mathematical analysis (for students who had had calculus), and a weekly meeting in architectural solar design. Each student participated in a weekly seminar covering energy paths. In addition students attended a module in electronics, four short workshops on grant writing, plumbing, solar economics, and greenhouse design and also initiated work on a research project.

Seminar Rooks: l) Energy Futures (Stobaugh and Yergin); 2) The Poverty of Power (Commoner); 3) Soft Energy Paths (A.B. Lovins); 4) Lovins and His Critics (H. Nash, ed.); 5) Small Is Beautiful (E.F. Schumacher).

Class Texts: 1) Solar Heating and Cooling of Residential Buildings (Solar Energy Appl. Laboratory, Colo. State Univ.); 2) Design and Installation Manual for Thermal Energy Storage (Argonne National Laboratory); 3) Calculus and Its Applications (Goldstein, et al.); 4) Advanced Engineering Math (Wylie); 5) Solar Heating (Sunset Magazine); 6) The First Passive Solar Home Awards (HUD); 7) Digital Electronics (Malvino, et al.).

Outside Lectures: Multinational Corporations (Paul Stefanik, Mobil Oil); The Psychology of Architectural Design (Jim Gulden); Sociology of Building (Rainer Hasenstab).

Course Equivalencies:

TOTAL                                                                   16 quarter hours

Faculty: Robert S. Cole, Ph.D. (Physics); Jacob B. Romero, Ph.D. (Engineering)

Program History

Energy Systems

page 5


Program Description

Spring 1980

Activities and Scope: The spring quarter program presented materials to obtain an understanding of nuclear energy systems, to understand transient heat transfer, to apply theory and analytical skills to practical problems, and to obtain an understanding of different alternative energy systems. The weekly schedule included two weekly lectures on differential equations and linear algebra, a weekly lecture on nuclear energy technology, a weekly lecture on heat transfer, a student mini-lecture series on various alternative energy systems, and a weekly lecture on architectural solar design. In addition each student participated in a project (either as an individual or in a group) designed to apply learned skills to a practical problem. As a finale to this yearlong program students and faculty attended The Solar Jubilee AS/ISES 1980 Annual Meeting held in Phoenix, Arizona, June 2-6.

Textbooks: 1) Elementary Differential Equations with Linear Algebra (Phinney and Ostberg); 2) A Guidebook to Nuclear Reactors (Nero); 3) No Nukes, Everyone's Guide to Nuclear Power (Anna Gyorgy and Friends); 4) Assigned reading applied to particular alternative energy systems or projects.

Outside Lectures: Wind Energy (Ed Kenell of Clean Energy Products, Seattle, WA).

Course Equivalencies:

          TOTAL                                                            16 quarter hours

Faculty: Robert S. Cole, Ph.D. (Physics); Jacob B. Romero (Engineering)

Program History Energy Systems page 6


During the academic fair and through individual meetings students were questioned about their background, interests, and expectations. Specific results for each student are included in the appendix. This information was used in planning and in scheduling student activities (e.g., workshops, mini-lectures).

For future reference, it might be of interest to summarize these results in general terms as this might be indicative of the interest of future clientele. Roughly 30% were interested in solar energy, 18% in architecture, 18% in energy policy, 18% in math and sciences, and 16% in other alternatives. Thus a curriculum which is solar/architecture oriented is consistent with about 50% of the students’ interests. Since it is relatively easy to introduce some policy into such a curriculum (e.g., through seminar and projects), to include math and science, and to add on other energy alternatives, it appears that such a curriculum could encompass nearly all of the student interests.

As it turned out, some dichotomy still existed between the students. One group (about 75% of the students) wanted more intense concentration on technical aspects of energy, while another wanted a more general approach, including more of such matters as policy, economics, etc. Although we felt the program was consistent with the needs of the large majority of the students, we do not feel we completely satisfied the need of the minority. Most of the students that dropped from the program throughout the year were from this group.


The successes of the program were many. First and foremost was the breadth and depth of coverage that was achieved both in technical and non-technical aspects. Through the seminars, colloquia, meetings, etc. a universal understanding of the energy situation was obtained. The technical coverage was very adequate and of sufficient depth to assure technical understanding of both alternative and conventional systems.

A special bonus was the emphasis placed on solar architecture. Both Rob Cole's background and Jon Collier's modules were very useful in assuring a continuous immersion in this field throughout the year. The decision made in planning to use architecture as a "core" to coordinate the other technical courses was a good one. Students who, for example, were designing their own house, could relate and appreciate very well calculations in engineering that would be needed for solar architectural design. We added other components to architecture that made it more universal and interesting. This included a couple of joint lectures and meetings with Rainer Hasenstab's group on The Sociology of Building and Architectural Patterns and a lecture by Jim Gulden on Psychology of Design.

Besides turning out a number of students who are knowledgeable in a variety of aspects of energy systems, particularly solar energy and solar architecture,

Program History Energy Systems page 7

the program had a number of other positive impacts on the students and the community at large. The program conducted a day-long community workshop on solar energy collector design and construction. The workshop paid attendance was 12 people. The program had a display booth at the Elma Alternative Energy Fair where a variety of program undertakings were displayed. The program sold 60 copies of a pamphlet "Flat Plate Collectors and Solar Greenhouses."

Students and faculty participated in a feasibility and design study of a methane digester for Evergreen Dairy in Littlerock, Washington. Students and faculty participated in a design study of a 7000 square foot passively solar heated building for the Lewis County Pre-Vocational Center. Students and faculty designed and constructed a solar greenhouse addition for another member of the Evergreen faculty. The program also had a display booth at a weeklong alternative energy fair at Western Washington State College. Various student members and faculty presented slide shows and talks to numerous service clubs in the Thurston County area. Students in Energy Systems made radio presentations and wrote newspaper articles on energy issues, and interns from Energy Systems prepared and presented testimony to the Washington State Utilities Commission regarding proposed electrical rate increases. All this activity was in addition to several individual student projects of high quality. The Energy Systems program interacted rather strongly with the local community.

The program took field trips to the Trojan Nuclear Plant in Rainier, Oregon, to Doug Woods's parabolic dish solar collector on Fox Island, and a two-week long field trip to Phoenix, Arizona to the annual meeting of the American Section of the International Solar Energy Society (this was the 25th year Solar Jubilee meeting).

Despite the overall satisfaction that the program was predominantly successful, there are several ways in which the program could have been improved. First of all, the program could have been integrated more (there never seems to be enough of this). The use of architecture as a "core" was very successful in coordinating some aspects but was, in our opinion, not enough. The tie­-up lecture series used during the fall quarter was not entirely successful as a means of integrating the week's material. Part of the problem was that the week's material was just too varied to be tied up by one lecture. The idea was liked by the students and is probably a good one but requires more thought and planning than we gave to it.

The seminar reading was very intense and we should have allowed more time for each reading. For example, trying to cover all the facts presented in a chapter of The Harvard Study in one 1~-hour meeting a week does not totally do justice to the subject. This is admittedly a tough problem to solve because we were so cramped for time that the only way to do more seminaring would have been at the expense of something else. In short, this is the old problem of trying to do too many things in too short a time.

The electronics modules taught during the fall and winter quarters did not go well at all. Students did not relate well to Vic Buff and did not adjust to his way of teaching. Many sought a way out of the module. We also think

Program History Energy Systems page 8

we overdid electronics in this contract. Looking back we are of the opinion now that the necessary electronics could have been accomplished by a short workshop (about 6 weeks should be enough). This should be at a very basic level and emphasize hands-on work related to energy applications.

The seminar series on ''women in science” conducted during the last half of the fall quarter caused a large amount of anxiety early on among the male students. I heard complaints that the subject was not relevant to energy. By the end of the quarter almost everyone agreed that it was not such a bad idea after all, but we are still questioning whether this was an appropriate place to spend as much time as we did on this subject.

There were several student complaints about the way the general colloquia were conducted during the fall quarter. It lacked a clearly defined decision ­making process. We gradually rectified this by evolving it into a lecture series the winter quarter and a student mini-lecture series the spring quarter, but not before some frustrations occurred, especially during the fall quarter. We could have defined a better process earlier than we did.


Finding a suitable text for transport phenomena continues to be a problem. There just is no text available at the level required at the college. The text by Bird, et al., Transport Phenomena is just too overwhelming and expensive. I had to rely on my notes for this subject, but many students still would have liked a text. It would be very beneficial if I developed a transport study series through the SPLU Laboratory some summer. It seems that as long as we are in the energy business we will need it, and the sooner this is done the better.

The thermodynamics text by Burghardt, Engineering Thermodynamics with Applications is at about the right level for this contract, but students complained about too many typographical errors in it. We should probably look for a better one at about the same level.

The solar texts were adequate, but perhaps a little too detailed. Books such as Solar Thermal Engineering (Lund) and Principles of Solar Engineering (Kreith and Kreider) may be more suitable and should be considered.

The variety of texts and articles used in seminar were more than adequate. There is so much information available on this subject that almost any desired thread can be followed by proper selection and manipulation of the reading.

As usual, the field trip to the Trojan Nuclear Power Plant was not very useful. The people there are too security conscious, and there was not much to see. A trip to the Hanford area would be, we believe, much more useful. They have much more variety and are more open.

Program History Energy Systems page 9

The field trip to the 25th Annual Meeting of The American Solar Energy Society in Phoenix was a resounding success. It came at the end of the spring quarter and was a nice way to end the year. Not only did the students enjoy it very much, but by listening to papers on a broad spectrum of subjects and talking to experts, they were able to assess how much they had really learned this year. Attending a solar meeting is a good precedent begun two years ago, which if at all possible should be continued.