Program research project: Solar Power Capacity Assessment for The Evergreen State College - updated 16 Sept.2014


In Spring 2014, small teams of students designed and carried out investigations into Evergreen's potential for generating our own solar power on campus. One team visited campus building rooftops, and other teams used professional quality equipment to measure solar irradiation and calculate power capacities, on existing rooftops and on potential walkways and canopies. Teams used satellite data and software to calculate building and walkways areas and their solar PV potential. Two teams explored the feasibility of differenct techniques for collecting solar power - from PV panels, and from solar thermal energy. One team learned how to safely clean Evergreen's small PV array, calculated the improvement this made, and discovered important practical information for immediate and future action. Thanks to the Clean Energy Committee for funding our work!

Proposal 1 to Clean Energy Committee PowerPoint Report Narrative Report to CEC Proposal 2 to BEF
Rooftop Assessments Rootop Presentation    
Solar Pathfinder Report Pathfinder Presentation Pathfinder photo slideshow Solar pathfinder data
Satellite Rootop area PV report Rooftop PV Presentation PVwatts data OlySolar by Nick Acorn
Solar Thermal Water Heating for CRC Solar Thermal Presentation    
Solar Walkway Potential - Report Solar Walkway Presentation   Red Square PV potential
PV panel Report Research PV Panels - talk    
Cleaning the 9 kW LIB PV Array Lib array: photo slideshow Cleaning manual and Installation specs Lib PV research data analysis

Welcome to the 2014 homepage of Energy Systems & Climate Change. This interdisciplinary program will study how energy is harvested and transformed, used or abused by humans. We will explore interactions between natural systems and human systems to understand global changes currently affecting the Earth System. What is the evidence, what are the consequences, and what can be done about global warming? How can we find our personal roles in addressing challenges facing Earth and its inhabitants?

We will study solutions ranging from renewable energy to sustainable farming and (insert your idea here). Our approach is based in natural science, with an emphasis on critical thinking. This challenging and rewarding two-quarter program will include lectures and workshops by faculty and guest lecturers; seminars on books and articles; inquiry-based writing and peer feedback; qualitative and quantitative reasoning and problem solving; and hands-on research projects in spring, to engage our inquiry and learning together.

Spring SCIENCE-based ES&CC will include quantitative work, including research projects. Every student will write short inquiry-based essays, and will respond to peers' writing, in addition to face-to-face seminars. Students will build on quantitative problem solving, starting together in the classroom. Small teams of your choice will meet weekly to discuss readings and prepare for class together. Students will do research projects, make presentations in class and at regional meetings, and write research reports. Research projects typically range from greenhouse gas reduction projects to sustainable energy, agriculture, building, or urban planning. Upper division credit is available for students who complete all work on time with high quality for 16 credits.
Class Standing: SO-SR.
SPRING prerequisites: Mastery of algebra is essential for success in this program; we will not teach algebra, but will build on it. Each student should have some college-level science to build on (there is no physics prerequisite). Good reading skills and decent writing skills. Willingness to work in teams. Willingness and ability and to use computers for online assignments and information.
SPRING Fee: $150 for field trips to energy sites and a regional research conference

The first day of class is Monday 31 March. 2014. Meet at 2:00 pm in Sem2 E3105. Waitlisted students must attend the first class to get in. Registered students who miss (or are very late to) the first day (or who don't attend later in the week) may be dropped from the program.



Check Moodle daily for details & updates

DUE - do


2:00-5:00 Workshops in Sem2 E3105

Meet pre-seminar teams, Post PIQs


1:00-5:30 Lecture/workshop in Sem2 E3105
3:00 Seminar in
Sem2 E2105

HW due


Read, think, write, do HW, visit Writing Center...

Online Seminar: Inquiries / Post Brief Reports


1:00-5:30 Lecture/workshop in CAL
after 3:00 maybe Sem2 E2107

Respond to Brief Reports


Read, think, discuss, work on HW, visit QUASR

Online Seminar: Responses


Read, think, etc...

Online Seminar: Reflections / Post Log


R & R

Online Seminar: Essays


SPRING texts, plus articles (to be provided free in class) and online publications. We will study the science of climate change, its impacts, what we can do about it, and how to communicate about it - with family and friends who may be curious or uncertain, with deniers or delayers, with policymakers. What is our role in climate change, and in changing climate change? Each of us may answer these questions differently.

Energy, Environment, & Climate, 2nd Ed. by Rich Wolfson (2011, Norton, ISBN 978-0-393-91274-6). This is our primary text, both theoretical and applied. Strong in quantitation and critical thinking; mostly pre-calculus.

The following seminar texts are available as e-books, and may also be available in the Greener Store:

Why We Disagree About Climate Change, by Michael Hulme. A very thoughtful text, clearly discussing subtleties of belief, science, and communication.

The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, by Michael E. Mann, 2012, Columbia UP.

Articles on The Hockey Stick Illusion, TBD (to be provided on Moodle)

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), 2013

The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert, 2014



Spring: Weekly workload: 3 class meetings on campus, 2 team meetings, Online Seminar every other week.
* lectures / workshops
* quantitative problem solving
* in-class seminar
Individual work and teamwork outside of class:
* Short writing: Inquiries, Essays, Feedback, Research,...
* Longer writing: Research Report
* Teamwork: PIQs, Online Seminar

Likely Spring credit equivalencies: (for transcript - somewhat flexible, ask faculty)
4 cr: Physics of Energy Systems
4 cr: Physics of Climate Change
4 cr: Research project in (your special interest here)
4 cr: Seminar

UPDATED Spring Syllabus

updated 4 May 2014







Introduction, Research, EEC Ch.1-2

Finkel & Allen, Kolbert1

EEC Ch.2

HW 1-2


EEC Ch.2-3: Energy

EEC Ch.2-3, Kolbert 2

EEC Ch.2-3, workshop

HW 2-3, Essays 2A


EEC Ch.4: Heat

EEC Ch.4, Hockey Stick 1

EEC Ch.4, workshop

HW 4, Essays 3B


EEC Ch.9: Solar

EEC Ch.9, Hockey Stick 2

EEC Ch.9, workshop

HW 9, Essays 4X


Research Proposals, Midquarter conferences, peer evals, APS-NW meeting at UW-Seattle 1-3 May


EEC Ch.12-13:  Climate Science & Forcing

EEC Ch.12-13, IPCC 1

EEC Ch. 12-13, workshop

HW12-13, Essays 6A


EEC Ch.14-16: Warming, Modeling, Mitigation

EEC Ch.14-16, IPCC 2

EEC Ch. 14-16, workshop

HW14-16, Essays 7B


EEC Ch.10-11: Renewables + Electricity

EEC Ch.12-13, Hulme 1

Renewable energy field trip?

HW10-11, Essays 8X


EEC Ch. 11, 5, 6:  Elec., H2, Fossil Fuels

EEC Ch.14-16, Hulme 2

EEC Ch.14-16, Presentation wkshp

HW 5,6,11, peer evals


Research Presentations

Research Presentations

Potluck and Final exam

finish portfolio and evaluations


evaluation conferences

Faculty Contact: E.J. Zita


Office hours: after class, in our classroom

Please check Answers to FAQs before emailing. Thank you.

FAQs: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Can I get upper division credit? A: Yes, in Spring quarter, if you turn in all your work on time with high quality, attend diligently, participate effectively and reliably, and use advanced mathematics and analysis appropriately in your unique research project. But please read about Evergreen's BS BS.

Q: Will you cover my special interest? A: Maybe, and you can study your special interest in more depth, in the context of your Brief Reports in Winter, and your Research Project in Spring, relevant to our program.

Q: Can I drop the Seminar and just take the program for 12 credits? A: No, our seminar is closely integrated with our science learning. If you have already read one of the texts, good for you. You will have the opportunity to integrate new learning, more deeply.

Q: Why can't I see Moodle details from the link here? A: Registered students will have full access to our Moodle site in week 1. Moodle is not available to other folks, or much earlier.

Q: There's a waitlist. How can I get in? A: First, make sure you have the prerequisites for this program. Then, ask your faculty (or their secretary) from last quarter to email your excellent evaluation to Zita. Come to the Academic Fair (this is more useful than sending faculty lots of email) if you'd like to talk about it. Get your texts for the first week, and bring them to class on day one.

Q: I heard the program was canceled in winter due to Zita's surgery - what's up with that? A: ES&CC is on, as a 16 credit SEMINAR-based program in Winter.

Q: Can I take the winter seminar for less than 16 credits? A: Maybe, if Dr. Zita knows you well and you have arranged this with her.



Winter SEMINAR-based ES&CC may include research planning for students interested in more advanced studies in Spring. No mathematical or technical design texts are required in Winter ES&CC. Every student will write several short inquiry-based essays, and will respond to peers' writing, in addition to face-to-face seminars. Small teams of your choice will meet at least twice weekly to discuss readings and prepare for class together. Students will make presentations in class on currrent topics of interest, and teams will facilitate discussions. No math or science prerequisite for this quarter.

WINTER prerequisites: Good reading and writing skills. Willingness to work in teams. Willingness and ability and to use computers for online assignments and information. No math or science prerequisite for Winter quarter.


Check Moodle daily for details and updates

DUE / do


Individuals read, think, prepare.... Teams meet when and where you like. Pre-seminar: discuss readings, questions, ideas.

Meet your team, discuss readings, post PIQs

Prepare Brief Reports


1:00-5:30 Lecture/workshop/seminar in 2211 Lab 2

Bring your texts, reading notes, PIQs, and any assigned work in progress


Individuals read, write Inquiries. Teams meet, post PIQs

Start online seminar (OS): 1.Post your Inquiry

Wed. 8 Jan. 1-3 pm in LH 1 - attend talk by Karen Litfin, author of Ecovillages


1:00 Lecture/workshop in SEM2 B1105, seminar at 3:00

Bring your texts, reading notes, PIQs, and any assigned work in progress


Read, think, discuss, visit Writing Center...

OS 2. Post responses to peers' Inquiries


Post your log of group and individual hours

OS 3. Post your Reflection and write Essay

Winter TEXTBOOKS: for Energy Systems & Climate Change

Bring your own copy to class every time we use these texts. All are available as low-cost e-books except Ecovillages, whose author is speaking in week 1. Look for Ecovillages, and other hardcopies, in the College Bookstore (or at Orca Books downtown).

We will read select chapters from some longer texts, and all of other books. You need your own copy of each text in class each day, when it is on the syllabus. Check the College Bookstore, to compare price and availability, before ordering texts online.  Purchase or order your texts well before class so that you can begin reading ahead. Some texts are available only as e-books; please plan accordingly.




The Global Warming Reader: A century of writing about climate change , edited by Bill McKibben, 2012, Penguin. Starts with an early realization that coal burning was warming northern Europe - a gut thing, ja?

Field Notes from a Catastrophe, by Elizabeth Kolbert, 2006, Bloomsbury. Stories from around the world..

The Very Hungry City: Urban energy efficiency and the economic fate of cities , by Austin Troy, Yale UP, 2012.

The One-Straw Revolution (or Zen & The Art of Farming), by Masanobu Fukuoka, 2009, New York Review Books Classics

Ecovillages: Lessons for Sustainable Community, by Karen T. Litfin, 2013, Polity (978-0745679501)

Rebuilding the Foodshed: How to create local, sustainable, and secure food systems , by Ackerman-Leist, 2013, Chelsea Green. "Farming is about energy flows..."

2084: An oral history of the Great Warming, by James Powell. Stories from around the world, a century later

Dragonfly's Question - A Novella on a Positive & Sustainable Future, by Darcy Hitchcock, 2013, Amazon. Read this one day when your spirits need a boost.

The Third Industrial Revolution: How lateral power is transforming the energy, the economy, and the world , by Jeremy Rifkin, 2011, Palgrave Macmillan. A vision for the future, being implemented in some countries.


Weekly workload for Winter ES&CC: 2 class meetings on campus, 2 team meetings, Online Seminar every other week
* Seminar
* lectures / workshops
* brief presentations by students / teams
Team meetings outside of class:
* Short writing: Inquiries, Essays, Feedback
* Teamwork: PIQs, Online Seminar


updated 9 Jan. 2014


Tuesday reading

Thursday reading




Finkel & Allen, Berry

Ecovillages by Litfin, thru p.110


Litfin Wed 1:00 LH 1


McKibben, Part 1, Science

finish Ecovillages

Essays B, OS.1, PIQs Mon. & Wed.


Hungry City, Part 1

Hungry City, Part 2

Esays A, OS.2, PIQs



Rifkin, Part 1

Kolbert (A:I; B:II, all: Ch.9,10)

Essays B, OS.3, PIQs



Midquarter conferences with teams, other activities TBA. Read Dragonfly; read ahead for next week.


McKibben, Part 2, Politics

McKibben, Part 3, Impact

Esays A, OS.4, PIQs



2084 - through Nanuk

2084 - finish

Essays B, OS.5, PIQs



Rifkin, Part 2

One Straw Revolution

Esays A, OS.6, PIQs



Foodshed, Parts 1+2

Foodshed, Part 3

Makeup essays, OS7, PIQs



Rifkin, Part 3

summary activities, potluck




evaluation conferences