Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency

  • Overview
  • Faculty
Provides students with the knowledge and skills needed for entry-level employment opportunities in the renewable energy/energy efficiency field; provides students already employed in the trades with knowledge and skills relevant to specific renewable energy/energy efficiency technologies, as well as broader understanding of the scientific, economic and political context of the industry; provides students with a general education background combined with a comprehensive introduction to renewable energy/energy efficiency and technical and general electives with course work geared toward transfer requirements for a four-year Baccalaureate program.

This option combines courses in Environmental Studies and Sustainable Energy with hands-on, skills-based courses in renewable energy technologies. You’ll learn about the importance of renewable energy systems in creating a sustainable civilization and select courses that teach you how to design, install, maintain, and sell these systems, including photovoltaic, solar thermal, and wind energy infrastructure. You may also study the growing field of green retrofitting and energy auditing.

Curriculum documents

This is just one way you might complete the Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency program in 4 semesters over 2 years of full-time study, or 8 semesters over 4 years of part-time study. (Sample course sequences assume that all pre-requisites have been satisfied and the student is prepared for college-level work.) For a detailed list of required courses, optional electives and program information, download the Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency program description from our official academic catalog.

Course descriptions are also available in the catalog. Find courses

Sample 2 Year Sequence of Courses
Fall 1Spring 1Fall 2Spring 2
SCI 112
SCI 121
ENG Comp. I
MAT 107
SCI 126
SCI 136
SCI 221
HIS 106
BUS 111
ENG Comp. II
SCI 120
SCI 228
POL 101
EVS 101
ENG 200 level course
ECO 113
SCI 127
BIO 120
PCS 101
PHI 206
Sample 4 Year Sequence of Courses
Fall 1Spring 1Fall 2Spring 2
SCI 112
ENG Comp. I
SCI 126
SCI 136
MAT 107
SCI 121
ENG Comp. II
SCI 221
HIS 106
POL 101
Fall 3Spring 3Fall 4Spring 4
SCI 120
SCI 228
ECO 113
SCI 127
PCS 101
BIO 120
PHI 206
EVS 101
BUS 111
ENG 200 level course

Student learning outcomes

Students completing a course of study in this program will be able to:

What’s next

Take appropriate industry exams based on your course work. Find employment in the renewable energy/energy efficiency field, e.g. green building, energy auditing and/or solar. Continue academic studies in a four-year Baccalaureate program.

Consider this program if

  • You want a broad as well as deep understanding of renewable energy systems or energy efficiency.
  • You who want to work in the field, designing and building renewable energy systems or improving energy efficiency in physical infrastructure.
  • You want to pursue higher academic study in renewable energy.

By taking classes in a Liberal Arts option, students complete courses that help develop 100 and 200 course level knowledge and skills in a particular field. If you don’t satisfy the requirements of a specific Liberal Arts option, you may still be able to fulfill the requirements of another option, or fulfill the requirements of the Liberal Arts General degree. Students are advised to work closely with their GCC advisor to select the specific courses that will help meet their career or transfer goals. Note: Students who complete a Liberal Arts option will graduate with the degree “Associate in Arts in Liberal Arts.” Your area of concentration is reflected only in your transcript, not your diploma.

adams

Brian Adams

Environmental Science/Natural Resources

B.S., Cornell University
M.S., Antioch University

S410 (413) 775-1454 adamsb@gcc.mass.edu

Brian Adams teaches Introduction to Environmental Science, Natural History and Freshwater Ecology.  He is also the Program Coordinator for the Environmental Studies/Natural Resources option.  He has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Human Ecology from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and a Master’s in Environmental Biology from Antioch in Keene, New Hampshire. Brian is the author of Love in the Time of Climate Change and is currently working on additional novels.

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Lynn Benander

(413) 775-1472 benanderl@gcc.mass.edu

I teach Community Energy Solutions.  It’s a course I really enjoy because we take an interdisciplinary approach – looking at how we use energy in our world from a scientific, social, environmental, and economic perspective – and using everything you already know about how you use energy in your own life and work.  I manage a sustainable energy cooperative and work with lots of employers in the region, so I’m good at helping people figure out where they might fit in as workers in this growing local economy.  I have a Masters in Education and strive to create an environment where people can learn valuable skills and make meaning in their lives.

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Thomas Benjamin

Thomas Benjamin is a registered Landscape Architect and LEED Accredited Professional (AP) practicing design and sustainability consulting in Massachusetts. He works concurrently as a Landscape Architect for the Regenerative Design Group and as a Sustainability Consultant for the Energy Services Division of Environmental Compliance Services (ECS). He has more than 20 years experience in environmental design work often focused on ecological restoration and green design, including energy and food systems. His restoration experience includes assessment, design, and construction of upland, wetland, riparian and coastal sites/properties using low tech bioengineering solutions. In addition, Prof. Benjamin’s site planning work emphasizes low maintenance native plantings for public facilities, commercial, institutional, residential developments and private residences. His work has often encompassed creation and enhancement of natural stormwater filtration systems in both developed and natural contexts. He also has natural resource planning and land use regulatory experience. His skills support projects from conceptual planning through design, construction and monitoring phases. Prof. Benjamin has lectured at Harvard, MIT and many professional conferences. He continues to teach sustainable landscape design at the University of Massachusetts and Greenfield Community College. His courses tie the built environment to natural systems to advance less resource intensive landscape design approaches. Topics include energy efficient landscapes, composting and solid waste reduction, and integration of productive, permaculture based food systems. In addition to being an avid ecological gardener, he enjoys weeding the woods.

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Christine Copeland

Renewable Energy Program Assistant

A.A., American College in Paris
B.F.A., Cornell University
M.Ed., Antioch New England Graduate School

S207 (413) 775-1472 copelandc@gcc.mass.edu

Christine Copeland is the program assistant for the Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency Certificate and Liberal Arts Option. She has a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Cornell University and a Masters in Elementary Education from Antioch New England. Her major responsibilities involve assisting Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency students and faculty in whatever their needs may be, including responding to student inquiries, providing instructors institutional support, helping with registration and scheduling, advising, getting together book orders, and a thousand other things that make the program run. Outside of work she may be found knitting, rug hooking and chauffeuring her two sons from one activity to another.

William Gran

(413) 775-1120 granw@gcc.mass.edu

Earth is warming, human activities are the cause, and only we can act to reduce the potentially catastrophic impacts.  I am teaching Introduction to Global Warming because I think students need to understand the basics of climate science and the challenges we face transforming to a sustainable, zero-carbon civilization.  I have a BS in Mechanical Engineering, an MS in Urban and Regional Planning, and a lifetime career in planning and community development.

johnson (1)

Ted Johnson

Engineering/Science

B.S., Northeastern University
M.Ed., Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

S419D (413) 775-1429 johnsont@gcc.mass.edu

Ted Johnson teaches Physics, Astronomy, and Meteorology as well as coordinates the Engineering program. He has a BS in Electrical Engineering, an MS in Science Education, 12 years of engineering experience, and several decades of teaching experience. He brings experience in solar building design, amateur radio work, computer applications, artificial intelligence and vision work, and engineering experience in meteorological weather balloons, piezoelectric transducer design and fabrication, resinate deposition based ceramic microcircuits, commercial radio transmitters and repeaters, antenna design, as well as business experience as an industrial process consultant and troubleshooter. He has taught courses in electronic circuit design, both analog and digital, most programming languages, robotics – motion and vision, several levels of physics – classical and modern, electrical wiring, astronomy, meteorology, and industrial electronic control systems. His work experience includes Raytheon, Sprague Electric, US Sonics Corp, General Electric, Mount Anthony Vocational Center, Vermont Department of Labor and Industry, Berkshire Community College, Westfield State College, Community College of Vermont and Greenfield Community College.

jones

Teresa Jones

Plant Biology/Renewable Energy

B.A., Yale University
M.A., University of Massachusetts

S419B (413) 775-1462 jones@gcc.mass.edu

Teresa Jones graduated from Yale University in New Haven, CT, with a double degree in Environmental Studies and History. She received her master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in Plant Biology. She has worked as a science reporter and co-authored a book on asthma. She began teaching at the high school level before coming to GCC in 1999. She currently teaches Botany and Sustainable Energy courses, and was awarded a 2013 Green Giant Award by the Western Mass Green Building Group for her work in the green energy and building field.

Mike-headshot-150x150

Mike Kocsmiersky

Renewable Energy

B.S., University of Rochester

S419B (413) 775-1462 kocsmierskym@gcc.mass.edu

Mike Kocsmiersky teaches a wide variety of Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency classes including Fundamentals of Electricity, Photovoltaics, Solar Thermal Systems and Residential Energy Efficiency and Energy Auditing. He has a Bachelors of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rochester. As the owner of Spirit Solar, the father of four children, the keeper of chickens, dogs, cats and fish, his precious few free moments are spent reading stories to his kids, tinkering with mechanical projects and playing board games.

Tony-headshot1-150x150

Anthony Reiber

Greenhouse Technician

B.S., Southern Illinois University
M.S., University of Massachusetts

S411 (413) 775-1366 reibera@gcc.mass.edu

Anthony Reiber is the Greenhouse/Lab Technician managing the greenhouse facility at GCC as well as the soil science instructor.  He received an M.S.in Wetland Conservation from the University of Massachusetts and a B.S. in Plant and Soil Science from Southern Illinois University.  His experience in greenhouse and nursery production with the New England Wildflower Society and New England Wetland Plants concentrated on producing native plant species specifically for habitat restoration and natural landscaping. In addition he started his own growing operation to provide plant material for the largest wetland restoration project in New England.

schroeder

Alex Risley Schroeder

N416 (413) 775-1120 risleyschroedera@gcc.mass.edu

The “green” or “sustainable” economy that we’re building together has the potential to engage all of us. I teach the Green Careers Exploration course to think and learn with folks interested in figuring out the ways their work can help build this economy out. As a statewide and regional policy and training consultant on green job creation and preparation, and the former Green Careers Coach at the Franklin Hampshire Career Center, I bring a range of green career perspectives and job seeking strategies to the class. I have a Masters in Education from UMass Amherst. My current work looks simultaneously at preparing adult learners for work in the sustainable economy and growing these jobs.

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Jeremy Toal

(413) 775-1120 toalj@gcc.mass.edu

Jeremy Toal is a Registered Architect, a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED-AP BD+C), and a Senior Design Manager at Steffian Bradley Architects in Enfield,CT. Jeremy has been practicing sustainable design for over 18 years, specializing in highly energy-efficient construction methods, passive solar design, natural renewable materials, and renewable energy alternatives, with the goal of creating inspiring buildings which have a positive impact on their surroundings