roger ebbage at skyline collegeRoger Ebbage, Director of Energy and Water Programs at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, made a site visit to Skyline College on September 18 and 19, 2014 for discussions about best practices and partnership opportunities. Ebbage met with faculty and administrators from the Center for Workforce Development (CWD), the Energy Systems Technology Management (ESTM) program, Skyline College and district facilities staff, and representatives from the state Chancellor’s office for alternative energy and construction industries. Using the college campus as a “learning laboratory” was a major theme of the meetings. The program Ebbage helped found and develop in 1992, the Northwest Water and Energy Education Institute (NWEEI), is a nationally-recognized leader in the practice. The programs offer two-year degree programs that train technicians and auditors on financial analysis and conservation strategies for reducing energy and water use in large-scale commercial buildings. Using the campus facilities is cost-effective and makes practical sense, according to Ebbage.

In recent years, Lane Community College leveraged the energy and water degree programs to create campus-wide sustainability programming for putting theory into practice in campus facilities. Dedicated staff oversee curriculum development, recycling programs, and energy use reduction programs across campus facilities and instructional departments in a collaborative, cross-campus format. A new building in downtown Eugene showcases sustainability with facilities that were designed specifically for training the energy and water technicians. Ebbage and his faculty colleagues continue to take students to observe old campus facilities—boilers, chillers, air handlers, and building shells. They offer real-world scenarios for students to trouble-shoot and measure, he said.

roger ebbage at skyline collegeThe ESTM department at Skyline College currently focuses on energy and water management for residential construction, but California regulators and utilities are investing primarily in workforce education and training for larger-scale buildings, making Lane Community College’s programs attractive models. Proposition 39 and long-range planning by California’s regulators and PG&E projects have earmarked investment in training for reducing energy consumption in large-scale buildings. Faculty also discussed integrating curriculum in the Environmental Science and Technology (ENVS) department and the Geology (GEOL) departments into a cross-campus sustainability programs focused on water and energy conservation.

The CWD and SMT Division collaborate on sustainability campus programming. Skyline College hosts a Fellow from the Climate Corps Bay Area Program (CCBA) each year. Planning and project implementation is done across campus in a committee format, the Sustainability Ambassador Network (SAN), comprised of faculty, students, and staff.

Ebbage’s visit was made possible through a collaboration between the Science, Math, and Technology Division and the Center for Workforce Development.

For additional information about Roger Ebbage’s visit, please contact Aaron Wilcher,,  (650) 738-4498

For information about sustainability and participating in SAN at Skyline College, visit the website or contact Carina Anttila Suarez, Biology faculty 650-738-4217 or Christopher Koh, CCBA Fellow, Sustainability Coordinator   650-738-7044

For information about the ESTM department, visit the department’s site or contact Bruce Greenstein, faculty coordinator  650-738-4487

Article by Aaron Wilcher