Students in a classroom watching presentation
Monday, October 29, 2018

Ohlone College Students Design Their Energy Lifestyle

Fremont, Calif., October 29, 2018—Students in Ohlone’s Environmental Studies 105 class are learning to create sustainable changes in their personal energy consumption through the new Designing Your Energy Lifestyle module (DYEL).

The DYEL module is a five-session workshop designed to get students to think about their perceptions about energy use and to eventually get them to change their daily habits and behaviors to reduce their carbon footprint.

“We’re trying to teach students how they can be an owner and agency of their own energy consumption and to design it in a way that’s practical and sustainable for them,” says Narinder Bansal, Professor of Environmental Studies, Geography, and Global Studies at Ohlone College.

Bansal and professor Jeff Watanabe, of the Environmental Science program, launched the piloted DYEL program at Ohlone in the spring 2018 semester. The program was originally developed in large part by Stanford University Master’s student Kira Smiley along with researchers and students at Stanford and Oregon State University. The second iteration begins on November 6.

Students in the DYEL program use a free, web-based home energy management database from Home Energy Analytics to perform energy audits. During the course, the students collect data in an energy journal, track their energy usage, and monitor how well they’ve met their energy-use goals.

The program is a collaboration between Ohlone College, researchers at Stanford and Oregon State University, the City of Fremont, and Fremont’s sustainability program funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

“Not only is this an exciting collaboration with Stanford University and the local community, but our students could help shape future energy conservation programs and policies,” says Bansal.

The DYEL program is supervised by Dr. June Flora, senior research scientist at Stanford University and Hilary Boudet, associate professor at Oregon State University. Although the program is part of Ohlone’s Environmental Studies 105 class: Energy: The environment, humans, and sustainability, Bansal says that the DYEL curriculum can potentially be included within other programs as well.