Education Session


Elaine Hebert


This session looks at a range of intriguing educational strategies for a variety of ‘student’ audiences, both academic and non. We will hear about a program for elementary to high school for students to learn and showcase STEM skills and use renewable energy to solve real-world problems; an interdisciplinary college-level program to enhance critical thinking skills as applied to architecture and engineering for solar buildings; college-level courses for considering the embodied energy and carbon footprint of building materials during the design phase; a program for college graduates and professionals of all ages to broaden their academic knowledge to facilitate changing jobs or careers for higher incomes or more satisfying work; proven techniques for workforce training in solar and a call for scaling up training of solar technicians; and a global effort to inform and motivate individuals on how to stop using fossil fuels. Come be inspired!

New order of speakers: Schleith, Wang, Mansy, Rakusin, Weiss, and Essig


Jun 24 2020


12:30 pm - 2:00 pm




  • John Essig
    John Essig
    US Environmental Initiative (USEI) / International Clean Energy Corps (ICEC)

    With over three decades of experience as a research and development engineer, John is currently working to develop cost-favorable zero-net-energy buildings, carbon-neutral transportation systems, and fully sustainable, resilient communities. In his current role as Director of the U.S. Environmental Initiative (USEI), John is also exploring ways to maximize both individual and national energy security through the broad application of distributed renewable energy systems coupled with distributed storage, aggressive demand management, and smart microgrids including grid-interactive buildings and vehicles. Realizing, of course, that the future of Planet Earth depends on much more than technology alone, John also endeavors to engage in policy review and formulation at various levels of government including local, state, national, and intergovernmental, as well as developing new programs to assist global efforts to tackle climate change. John holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, and is also a practicing Certified Passive House Consultant™.

    Presentation Title: The International Clean Energy Corps™ — Creating a Global Taskforce to Tackle Climate Change

    Description: The International Clean Energy Corps™ is working to unite citizens, businesses, academia, policymakers, students and other community stakeholders into a global taskforce focused on eliminating the reckless use of fossil fuels before the Earth reaches a disastrous environmental tipping point. But to achieve this goal, millions of people around the globe will be required to take well-informed actions to rapidly switch from fossil fuels and other harmful energy sources to clean, affordable, renewable energy. Failure to do so poses unnecessary existential risks to everyone. Fortunately, by working together, we can – and will – create a truly sustainable world for all.

  • Johnny Weiss
    Johnny Weiss
    Johnny Weiss - Solar Consulting

    As an educator, a certified industrial trainer, and a solar building professional, Johnny has more than 40 years of experience in the real-world applications of renewable energy. Johnny Co-Founded Solar Energy International (SEI) in 1991. As the long-time Executive Director, he led SEI for over 20 years, helping establish SEI as a leader in solar training and is currently on the BOD. Johnny has consulted and collaborated with NGOs worldwide. With experience teaching, designing and building solar systems, Johnny is now particularly interested in solar electricity-generating projects that are sustainable, international, and socially worthwhile. Currently, he is focused on helping to develop Solar Training Centers in Tanzania and on Native American reservations.

    Presentation Title: Global Solar Training Programs for Technicians

    Description: Today’s Solar Training Challenge is the need to go to scale, NOW! The Climate Emergency requires that the global solar education community must dramatically strengthen and expand solar technician training efforts. We must create more quality Solar Training Centers, utilize alternate educational delivery methods- including online, augmented reality, and virtual reality programs. It is critically important that ASES and solar energy educators worldwide must actively work with global in-country partners to help build solar technician training capacity.

  • Julian Wang
    Julian Wang
    The Pennsylvania State University

    Julian Wang is an Associate Professor in Architectural Engineering and the Director of the ArchiLambda Laboratory at the Pennsylvania State University. He received a Ph.D. in Architecture from Texas A&M University and Dr. Eng. in Building Physics from Tianjin University. Before joining PSU, Wang worked at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, University of Cincinnati, and Tsinghua University. His research focuses on the interdisciplinary applications of building science in sustainable, healthy, and interactive building environments. He is also a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award and the IESNA Richard Kelly Award.

    Presentation Title: Establishing Cross-disciplinary Solar Buildings Education

    Description: This will provide some educational impacts through new pedagogical modules and modes concentrating on building windows and envelopes that constitute important and attractive knowledge points about solar buildings for the next generation of sustainable building professionals. This type of education may also ignite collaborative interest between design and engineering communities, which aligns with the educational mission of Solar 20/20.

  • Khaled Mansy
    Khaled Mansy
    Professor, Oklahoma State University

    Presentation Title: Carbon Footprint in the Design Studio, a Paradigm Shift

    Description: This paper reports on experimental academic work of the authors using evidence-based design tools to teach students how to optimize their design for total energy performance that recognizes the fact that at day zero of building operation, it has already contributed to energy consumption and carbon generation. Being aware of the optimization problem and their responsibility for training the new generation of designers, the authors integrate energy performance as a design goal in teaching a Comprehensive Design Studio that is required for senior students in Architecture and Architectural Engineering. The paper will discuss the concept of life cycle carbon analysis, in association with other tools, as a means to evaluate design alternatives based on overall contribution to carbon footprint due to both operational end embodied energy. Minimizing operating energy, however, may be at odds with minimizing embodied energy. For example, a high glass-to-volume ratio can be ameliorated by exterior aluminum shading devices, but these shading devices may actually have a high embodied energy. Therefore, energy performance and life-cycle carbon reductions must be treated as an optimization problem. A case study in a student’s evaluation of envelope design alternatives will be presented as well.

  • Lyra Rakusin
    Lyra Rakusin
    North Carolina State University

    Lyra has over 20 years of pioneering programs in renewable energy training, workforce development, outreach and collaborative policy development. She founded and teaches, North Carolina State University’s Graduate Certificate in Renewable Energy Assessment and Development, a 100% online program. She is currently back in her hometown of Manila, Philippines after a 2 year stint in Zanzibar, Tanzania, and 18 years in the U.S.

    Presentation Title: Professional to Academic Pathways to Renewable Energy

    Description: With a decade of strong growth in the industry, we see the need to expand education opportunities to professionals who want to move up the value chain and earn higher education academic credits. This presentation will offer a solution for those who want to level up by adding academic credentials and renewable energy project development perspectives.

  • Susan Schleith
    Susan Schleith
    FSEC Energy Research Center, University of Central Florida

    Susan Schleith, a life-long solar enthusiast, leads the K-12 education programs at the FSEC Energy Research Center at the University of Central Florida. Her mission is to increase energy literacy by educating K-16 teachers, students and the public on the results of the research conducted at FSEC. She and her dedicated team initiated the EnergyWhiz program, reaching over 25,000 Florida students. She also managed the Sunsmart Schools Emergency Shelter program that resulted in the installation of over 1 megawatt of combined solar electric power with battery backup on 118 Florida schools that double as emergency shelters.

    Presentation Title: EnergyWhiz: Where Students Shine and Solar Reigns

    Description: Educating students, teachers and parents about solar technology and renewable energy is critical in addressing climate change. Students must be equipped with the knowledge and STEM skills to creatively solve the problems that are already impacting our world. EnergyWhiz is an educational program that is designed for this challenge.

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