thermal image of a building
Business and Career & Technical Education Division

Dr. David Gatewood, Dean

For more information contact:
Michelle Neal

Division Coordinator
mneal@gwc.cccd.edu
714-895-8185

ENERGY EFFICIENCY & RENEWABLE ENERGY

The Environmental Studies program provides the basic skills and certifiable expertise that individuals desire and need for an environmental career. Students gain proficiency in the knowledge of environmental principles, field and laboratory methods, computer application use, effective oral and written communication skills, applied mathematics and environmental regulatory compliance. Internships are a required part of the program and provide valuable “real world” experiences. Many students are working in environmentally related jobs or are anticipating working in the field as soon as they graduate and work schedules are opened.

This program is one of the few of its kind in the country. The program is led by an experienced instructor certified by Building Performance Institute and master teacher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as well as having a C-46 contractor’s license.

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Associate In Arts Degree In Energy Efficiency And Renewable Energy

Required courses | Semester at a Glance


Associate In Arts Degree In Energy Efficiency And Renewable Energy

The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) program at Golden West College is designed to provide formal training for individuals who seek entry into the Energy Efficiency Assessment Service field. Students will learn to conduct energy audits, and to establish energy efficiency benchmarks for physical infrastructures to help utilize resources more efficiently and reduce cooling and energy consumption in buildings and processes. Students will also learn to provide analyses and recommendations to help efficiently upgrade and expand the power, cooling, and space to support new equipment or design a new facility.

Program Level Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate basic safety rules and safe attitudes in all activities.
  • Analyze residences and businesses utility bills to focus on reducing energy usage.
  • Use energy efficiency diagnostic tools such as door blowers and duct blasters to determine air infiltration into buildings.
  • Calculate energy usage in terms of electrical, mechanical and heat energy units.
  • Demonstrate ability to recommend alternative energy methods to reduce utility costs and provide green energy substitutes for fossil fuel energy forms.
  • It is strongly recommended that students contact a GWC counselor to develop an official Student Educational Plan.
Required courses

Drafting G105 – Basic Engineering Drafting I, Computer Aided Drafting – 3 units
Environmental Studies G100 – Introduction to Environmental Studies – 3 units
Environmental Studies G133 – Energy Audit I – 4 units
Environmental Studies G170 – Renewable Energy Sources and Applications – 3 units
Environmental Studies G190 – Environmental Studies Practicum – 1.5 units
Engineering Technology G100 – Electrical Fundamentals: AC-DC Circuits – 4 units
Management G155 – Customer Service – 3 units

Total units: 21.5

Recommended possible electives:
Environmental Studies G160 – Solar Energy I – Thermal Technologies and Applications – 4 units
Environmental Studies G162 – Solar Energy II – Photovoltaic Technologies and Applications – 4 units
Biology G120 – Health and Disease – 3 units
Chemistry G110 – Introduction to Chemistry – 5 units
Communication Studies G108 – Introduction to Communication – 3 units
Ecology G100 – Human Ecology – 3 units
World Languages G180 or G185 – Elementary Language – 5 units


Semester at a Glance – Associate In Arts Degree In Energy Efficiency And Renewable Energy

Semester 1
Envs G100 – Introduction to Environmental Studies- 3 units
Envs G133 – Energy Audit I – 4 units
Envs G170 – Renewable Energy Sources and Apps – 3 units
Drafting G105 – Basic Engineering Drafting I – CAD – 3 units

Semester 2
Mgmt G155 – Customer Service – 3 units
ET G100 – Electrical Fundamentals: AC-DC Circuits – 4 units
Envs G190 – Practicum- 1.5 units
General Education – TBD

Semester 3
General Education – TBD

Semester 4
General Education – TBD

Major Total: 21.5 units
GWC GE Pattern, CSU General Education Breadth or IGETC Pattern: 21-39 units
DEGREE TOTAL UNITS (maximum): 60 units

Energy Auditor Certificate Of Achievement

Required courses | Semester at a Glance

Solar Energy Certificate Of Achievement

Required courses | Semester at a Glance

Solar Energy Technology Certificate Of Specialization

Required courses | Semester at a Glance


Energy Auditor Certificate Of Achievement

The Energy Auditor Certificate of Achievement at Golden West College is designed to provide formal training for individuals who seek entry into the Energy Efficiency Assessment Service field. Students will learn to conduct energy audits, and to establish energy efficiency benchmarks for physical infrastructures to help utilize resources more efficiently and reduce cooling and energy consumption in buildings and processes. Students will also learn to provide analyses and recommendations to help efficiently upgrade and expand the power, cooling, and space to support new equipment or design a new facility.

Program Level Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate basic safety rules and safe attitudes in all activities.
  • Analyze residences and businesses utility bills to focus on reducing energy usage.
  • Use energy efficiency diagnostic tools such as door blowers and duct blasters to determine air infiltration into buildings.
  • Calculate energy usage in terms of electrical, mechanical and heat energy units.
  • Demonstrate ability to recommend alternative energy methods to reduce utility costs and provide green energy substitutes for fossil fuel energy forms.
Required courses

Drafting G105 – Basic Engineering Drafting I, Computer Aided Drafting – 3 units
Environmental Studies G100 – Introduction to Environmental Studies – 3 units
Environmental Studies G133 – Energy Audit I – 4 units
Environmental Studies G170 – Renewable Energy Sources and Applications – 3 units
Environmental Studies G190 – Environmental Studies Practicum – 1.5 units
Engineering Technology G100 – Electrical Fundamentals: AC-DC Circuits – 4 units
Management G155 – Customer Service – 3 units

Total units: 21.5


Semester at a Glance – Energy Auditor Certificate Of Achievement

Semester 1
ENVS G100 – Introduction To Environmental Studies – 3 units
ENVS G133 – Energy Audit I – 4 units
MGMT G155 – Customer Service – 3 units

Semester 2
ENVS G170 – Renewable Energy Sources and Applications – 3 units
ET G100 – Electrical Fundamentals: AC-DC Circuits – 4 units
DRAF G105 – Basic Engineering Drafting I, Computer Aided Drafting – 3 units

Semester 3
ENVS G190 – Environmental Studies Practicum – 1.5 – 3.5 units

Total Units: 21.5


Solar Energy Certificate Of Achievement

The Solar Energy certificate at Golden West College is designed to provide formal training for individuals who seek entry into the rapidly growing fields of photovoltaic and thermal solar energy fields. Students will learn to design, install, and maintain photovoltaic and solar heating equipment and understand the relevant building codes. Students will also learn to perform site analysis for the installation of such equipment. Sizable projects are undertaken in each class providing the students with an opportunity to add the projects to their portfolios and knowledge to their skill sets.

Program Level Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Understand concepts associated with Photovoltaic & Solar Thermal Technology.
  • Know Photovoltais Principles as related to electricity.
  • Complete a solar site analysis for installer.
  • Understand electric and solar thermal load analysis.
  • Develop an understanding of Grid verses Off-Grid systems.
  • Know photovoltaic and solar thermal system components and their applications.
  • Learn different system installation applications relating to modules.
  • Know how to maintain and/or troubleshoot an existing system.
  • Develop a clear understanding of electrical, solar thermal, site, equipment and hazards during installation processes.
Required courses

Environmental Studies G170 – Renewable Energy Sources and Applications – 3 units
Environmental Studies G160 – Solar Energy I – Thermal Technologies and Applications – 4 units
Environmental Studies G162 – Solar Energy II – Photovoltaic Technologies and Applications – 4 units
Engineering Technology G100 – Electrical Fundamentals: AC-DC Circuits – 4 units
Construction A161 – Solar Water and Pool Heating Installation – 4 units **
Construction A157 – Solar Photovoltaic Installation – 4 units **
BCT C306 – Electrical Code – 3 units ***
BCT C308 – Plumbing Code – 3 units ***
Environmental Studies G190 – Environmental Studies Practicum – 1.5 units

Total units: 30.5

** These courses are offered through the Construction program at Orange Coast College
*** These courses are offered through the Building Codes Technology program at Coast College


Semester at a Glance – Solar Energy Certificate Of Achievement

Semester 1
ENVS G170 – Renewable Energy Sources and Applications – 3 units
ENVS G160 Solar Energy I – Thermal Technologies and Applications – 4 units
ENVS G162 Solar Energy II – Photovoltaic Technologies And Applications – 4 units
ET G100 – Electrical Fundamentals: AC-DC Circuits – 4 units

Semester 2
Construction A161 – Solar Water and Pool Heating Installation ** – 4 units
Construction A157 – Solar Photovoltaic Installation ** – 4 units
BCT C306 – Electrical Code *** – 3 units
BCT C308 – Plumbing Code *** – 3 units

Semester 3
ENVS G190 – Environmental Studies Practicum – 1.5 units

Total Units: 30.5

** These courses are offered through the Construction Program at Orange Coast College.
*** These courses are offered through the Building Codes Technology Program at Coastline Community College.


Solar Energy Technology Certificate Of Specialization

Program Level Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Explore career opportunities and paths within the associated industries.
  • Understand the safety, environmental, and social impacts of solar energy use.
  • Compare solar energy systems, their applications and performances, and their predicted energy savings and economics.
  • Apply theoretical knowledge in a realistic environmental studies work setting.
Required courses

Environmental Studies G160 – Solar Energy I – Thermal Technologies and Applications – 4 units
Environmental Studies G162 – Solar Energy II – Photovoltaic Technologies and Applications – 4 units
Environmental Studies G190 – Environmental Studies Practicum – 1.5 units

Total units: 10


Semester at a Glance – Solar Energy Technology Certificate Of Specialization

Semester 1
ENVS G160 – Solar Energy I – Thermal Technologies and Applications – 4 units
ENVS G162 – Solar Energy II – Photovoltaic Technologies and Applications – 4 units
ENVS G190 – Environmental Studies Practicum – 2 units

Total Units: 10

To view all courses (opens new window)

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES G100 – 3 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Introduction to Environmental Studies
An interdisciplinary course designed to give the student a general overview of the environmental studies field. A basic understanding of issues related to the environmental compartments of air, soil and water; historical events, economic, political, and cultural concepts, regulations, and technology will be presented. An overview of career opportunities and paths within the environmental industry will be presented. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU; UC.

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES G133 – 4 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Energy Audit I
This course introduces the student to the concepts of energy efficiency, energy conservation and energy auditing and assessment. Students will learn to inspect, test, and measure energy usage in buildings. In addition, students will learn to recommend energy efficient steps to reduce building energy usage through practical and cost-effective installation of insulation and retrofitting of energy efficient doors, windows, and appliances. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES G140 – 3 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Environmental Education and Interpretation
This course is designed to introduce the guiding principles for interpreting nature and culture. Existing educational materials, options for environmental program education delivery, and the development of interpretative centers will be examined. Students participate in environmental education and interpretation programs through collaboration with local and international agencies and organizations, and with industry. Career paths and opportunities will be presented. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES G141 – 3 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Introduction to Recycling and Resource Management
This course introduces general terminology and principles regarding recycling, resource management and zero waste. The history of waste and resource management in California, including residential, commercial and institutional reuse, recycling, and composting programs, is addressed. An overview of national, state, and local legislation and regulations related to resource management and recycling is presented and explained. The course covers the original 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), plus recovery, remanufacture and repurchase. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES G142 – 3 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Culture and Zero Waste
This course will provide an overview of our “throw-away” culture and the motivations behind the economics of consumerism. Key issues of the course include carbon footprint, plastics in our environment, consumer laws and mindsets. It will identify key government agencies and policies and how to collaborate and obtain funding for outreach. Environmental educational skills, programs, and methods will be reviewed. Case studies of successful youth campaigns will be explored and the basics of establishing strong youth educational programs will be examined. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES G143 – 3 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Resource Management and Zero Waste for Communities
This course will identify how resource management and zero waste policies and programs are developed within a community, what type of planning and facilities are needed, and how to finance the systems. Students will also review sample zero waste community plans and will discuss different approaches communities have taken in developing zero waste plans. Students will also learn business recycling tools for local government, best practices for RFPs (Request for Proposals) and contracts, understanding enforcement options, design of resource recovery parks, performance reporting and financial records, Extended Producer Responsibility and Local Producer Responsibility policies and programs, bans, rules and incentives, and developing local markets and uses. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES G144 – 3 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Resource Management and Zero Waste in Business
This course will provide hands-on applications and tools for students to design, implement and oversee waste reduction and resource management programs as they relate to business and industry. This course will study the zero waste business principles, detailing how businesses can implement those principles to achieve zero waste. Examination of case studies demonstrates how different companies have addressed and resolved issues in pursuing zero waste. This course will also provide students with an understanding of how to plan and implement commercial food and organic programs. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES G160 – 4 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Solar Energy I-Thermal Technologies and Applications
(Same as: Engineering Technology G160)
This course introduces the theoretical concepts and practical applications of solar thermal energy. Solar radiation, measurement, and data processing will be discussed. Components, systems and system performance including design, predicted energy savings, and economics will be examined. The focus will be on low-temperature applications for solar hot water and space heating. Career paths and opportunities within associated industries will be presented. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade.Transferable to CSU.

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES G162 – 4 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Solar Energy II—Photovoltaic Technologies and Applications
(Same as: Engineering Technology G162)
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems, including cell design and manufacturing technologies. A range of PV applications will be presented including grid connections, rural electrification, transportation designs, stand-alone systems, consumer products, and the supply of electrical power to satellites in space. Career paths and opportunities within associated industries will be presented. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES G170 – 3 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Renewable Energy Sources and Applications
(Same as: Engineering Technology G170)
This course provides a comprehensive overview of the principal types of renewable energy including solar, thermal, photovoltaic, bio, hydro, tidal, wave, wind, geothermal, hydrogen, and fuel cell. The underlying physical and technological principles of renewable energy resources, their environmental impact, current applications and future prospects will be examined. Career paths and opportunities within associated industries will be presented. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES G180 – 0.5-3 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Ecotourism Destinations
The course will introduce students to the concepts, principles, planning and management of ecotourism destination activities, which promote cultural and environmental awareness while providing beneficial economic opportunities to the local community. Destination activity guidelines will be presented including the practical skills, and techniques necessary for assisting communities in the development of an ecotourist itinerary, educational program and marketing plan. Field activities will be a major component of the program. This course will be offered as a variable unit value according to the complexity of the focused destinations. Lecture & lab. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES G190 – 1.5-3.5 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Environmental Studies Practicum
Designed to provide environmental studies learners with a practicum cooperatively planned by a private, public or non-profit agency and the environmental studies faculty. Focus is on providing students with an opportunity to apply environmental studies theory in a realistic work setting. The course includes classroom/online discussion of issues directly related to the practicum. Student’s practicum can take place locally, nationally or internationallly. Lecture & lab. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.

  • Energy Auditor
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Solar Panel Installer

Most of the courses in this program  transfer to the California State University (CSU) system and Private colleges and universities. Please see your GWC Counselor early in your studies to choose the transfer option that is right for you.

Thomas Hersh
Professor, Engineering Technology/Environmental Studies
B.S., M.A., California State University at Long Beach.

thersh@gwc.cccd.edu