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Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency

Degree & certificate programs and non-credit classes in green building at GCC

The changing of the guard: Farewell to Peter Talmage

Posted on Tuesday July 23rd 2013

Peter’s door is always open, for students of course, but for faculty and staff as well. All of us regularly poke our heads into his dimly lit office (classical music in the background) with questions about the greenhouse, a new PV system, the best sequence for insulating the house, even mold in the basement. And we are always greeted with a warm smile, a creaking chair as Peter leans back to contemplate the question, and rock solid advice. Which is more reassuring, the engineering insight or the twinkling eyes? Hard to say.

Peter taught his first course in solar energy at GCC in 2008. It’s been a busy 6 years since. Peter has developed and taught a wide range of courses about the fundamentals of building science, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. SCI 126 Residential Energy Efficiency and Energy Auditing is a core course required for the certificate and associate degree. With a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts, a professional engineering stamp, BPI and IREC certification, a wide array of publications and business ownership experience, there are few questions Peter cannot tackle. In addition to developing and teaching courses, he has also mentored students through internships and mentored the college through energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Many students have toured Peter’s zero-net-energy home, a real-world example of how energy retrofits can make old houses comfortable, healthy and sustainable.

Peter has made an enormous impact on a his students, many astonished at the quantity of calculations in the homework and after working through them,  amazed at how much they learned by the end of the semester. Thankfully, he will remain available to help us complete building projects and give his two cents on where the program should focus. We wish him great enjoyment with the energy-efficient house he is building in Maine, even though we don’t want him to go. We will all remember him as a master teacher and a friend who changed our way of looking at the world.


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