The following courses are offered at CU-Boulder and relate to renewable and/or sustainable energy. Most of these courses are offered every year, though a some may only be offered periodically. Submit updates to this list to
AREN 3010 Mechanical Systems for Buildings
Lecture course on the analysis and design of buildings and their systems to satisfy the requirements for a comfortable and healthy indoor environment. Examines psychrometrics, thermal comfort, building heating and cooling loads, fluid flow basics, and HVAC components and systems. Prereqs., AREN 2050 and 2120.
AREN 3130 Building Energy Laboratory
Laboratory course offering both hands-on experience with building and renewable energy systems and exposing students to the fundamentals of measurements, instrumentation, data acquisition, and statistical data analysis. Measurements and experiments will allow evaluation of building construction material, electrical equipment, lighting systems, heating and cooling systems, and solar energy devices, among others. Prereq., AREN 3010.
ASEN 4519/5519 Green Aircraft Technology
ATOC 4500/7500 Wind Power Meteorology
BADM 6930 The Business of Renewable Energy
Assesses the opportunities and problems of commercializing new renewable energy technologies. Focuses on energy markets, opportunity identification, life cycle analysis, policy economics, project financing, and economic analysis as they relate to bringing renewable energy technologies to market. Same as RSEI 5002.
CHEM 4271/5271 Chemistry of Solar Energy
Chemical principles of conversion of solar energy into electricity and fuels in molecular and semiconductor-based systems. Overview of solid-state electronic structure of materials and interfaces, light-matter interactions, principles of harvesting photoexcited currents and useful chemical species. Description of processes utilized in established and emerging solar energy technologies.
CHEM 5061 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry 2
Lectures in physical inorganic chemistry with an emphasis on topics for understanding modern solar energy conversion to electricity and fuels. Includes a description of bonding and properties of coordination compounds in terms of the ligand field and molecular orbital theories. The primary research literature will be used to motivate exploration of relevant themes including spectroscopy, electron transfer, energy transfer, bioenergetic conversion, and small-molecule activation. Prereqs., CHEM 4011 and graduate standing.
CHEN 4838 Energy Fundamentals: Global and Future Perspectives
This course is the study of the earth's energy past, present and future from a fundamental, scientific point of view. The primary learning objective is to gain a scientifically based understanding of energy sources and demands that will allow the student to grasp our energy future from a realistic perspective. Energy sources will include nuclear, biomass, solar, hydro, and wind. Demands will include transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, lighting, heating, and air conditioning. The environmental impacts of our energy future will be considered. Having completed this course, students will be able to engage in policy discussions, planning, and decision-making on energy matters with a sound, factual foundation. Prerequisite: thermodynamics.
CVEN 5020 Building Energy Audits
Analyzes and measures performance of HVAC systems, envelopes, lighting and hot water systems, and modifications to reduce energy use. Emphasizes existing buildings. Prereq., AREN 3010 or equivalent.
CVEN 5050 Advanced Solar Design.
Predicts performance and analyzes economics of high temperature, photovoltaic, and other innovative solar systems. Also includes performance prediction methods for solar processes. Prereqs., AREN 2120, coursework in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer.
CVEN 5080 Computer Simulation of Building Energy Systems
Introduces major simulation programs for analysis of building energy loads and system performance. Focuses on one hourly simulation program to develop capability for analysis of multizone structure. Prereq., AREN 4110 or CVEN 5110.
CVEN 5830 Building Energy Systems
The course mainly covers three parts of materials: (1) building thermal systems, which will present the application of heat transfer and flow mechanism in building (including heat transfer principles, heat transfer through envelope and fenestration, heat transfer via ventilation and infiltration, solar heat transfer, building load calculation, thermal comfort, and indoor air quality); (2) building electrical systems (including general fundamentals and applications); (3) building lighting systems (including basic lighting terminologies, analysis method, and system configurations). The course also offers an overview of integrated building systems and design that create a comfortable, safe, healthy, productive, and efficient building environment.
CVEN 5830 Sustainable Building Design
Buildings can be designed to produce less greenhouse gases while being more comfortable, healthy and economical through the proper application of sustainable design principles. This course will review sustainable building technologies and provide insight into evolving design principles.
CVEN 5830 Distributed Energy Systems
CVEN 5919 Sustainable Community Development 1
Designed for senior-level and graduate engineering, environmental, and health sciences students who plan to work in developing communities or who are interested in global health issues. Provides a background and framework for sustainable community development based on a participatory model. A public health perspective is emphasized, covering an overview of development and global health concepts and issues. Restricted to senior or graduate students.
CVEN 5929 Sustainable Community Development 2
Covers the principles, practices and strategies of appropriate technology as part of an integrated and systems approach to community-based development. Course content areas include technical issues in development, environmental health and communicable disease, appropriate and sustainable technologies with hands-on workshops, and global cooperation in development. Prereq., CVEN 5919. Restricted to seniors and graduate students.
ECEN 1500 Sustainable Energy
Explores how energy is created and used in today's society. Through collaborative discussion and hands-on data collection, students will analyze the engineering challenges, fundamental limits, and potential solutions to meeting our energy needs sustainably. Students will learn to analyze numerical data, estimate orders of magnitude, and apply mathematical methods in their own lives and in the ongoing energy debate. Basic algebra required. Restricted to non-engineering majors. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: quantitative reasoning and mathematical skills.
ECEN 2060 Renewable Energy Systems
Introduction to present and future electrical power systems, including renewable power sources, interface to the utility grid, and efficient utilization of power. The major topics covered are the nation's electrical power system, photovoltaic power systems, wind power systems, hybrid and electric vehicles, energy efficiency in buildings, lighting, HVAC, computer systems.
ECEN 3170 Energy Conversion 1
Introduces block diagrams, conventional/ renewable energy sources, power electronics, magnetic circuits, transformers and power systems, forces/torques of electric machines. Employs a top-down approach to present applications first and then discuss components. Uses Pspice, Mathematica, MATLAB. Prereq., ECEN 3250.
ECEN 4167 Energy Conversion 2
Studies the derivation of the dynamic equations of motion of electromechanical systems, linear and rotary motion machines based on variational principles and basic force laws. Looks at equivalent circuits in abc and dqo coordinates for AC and DC machines. Discusses conditions under which an electromagnetic torque can be produced. Applies theory to the most important modes of steady-state and transient operation of electrical energy converters. Prereq., ECEN 3170.
ECEN 4517/5517 Power Electronics and Photovoltaic Systems Laboratory
Focuses on analysis, modeling, design, and testing of electrical energy processing systems in a practical laboratory setting. Studies power electronics converters for efficient utilization of available energy sources, including solar panels and utility. The experimental projects involve design, fabrication, and testing of a solar power system. Prereq., ECEN 4797. Restricted to seniors.
ECEN 4555/5555 Principles of Energy Systems and Devices
Understanding device technology for renewable energy requires knowledge of aspects of thermodynamics, electronic and radiant devices, materials and nanostructures. This course provides a foundation in statistical thermodynamics, and uses it to analyze the operation and efficiency limits of devices for photovoltaics, energy storage (batteries & ultra-capacitors), chemical conversion (fuel cells & engines), solid-state lighting, heat pumps, cooling, and even the harvesting zero-point energy from the vacuum.
ECEN 5007 Energy Systems
Take an in-depth look at the electrical grid, including conventional generation, transmission and distribution, and new renewable generation technologies. Issues including grid stability, the increase in variable generation on the grid, and how the electrical grid will change in the future will be addressed.
ECON 4555 Transport Economics
This is a course in transportation economics and policy for advanced undergraduates. Students will learn how to use economic theory and empirical tools to analyze transportation markets and policies. The course combines topics from environmental economics and industrial organization including: aggregate demand for transportation; disaggregate demand and mode choice; externalities and the costs of driving; and policy instruments such as fuel taxes, the corporate average fuel economy program (CAFE), low carbon fuel standards and congestion pricing. Instruction will emphasize the current literature and examples from recent policies
ENVD 3115 Introduction to Building Materials and Systems.
Surveys building methods, materials, and assemblies from the designer’s perspective.
ENVD 4035 Solar and Sustainable Design
Introduces aspects of solar technology relevant to the environmental design professions. Includes readings and lectures on the nature of energy limitations, energy needs, and the potential role of solar energy in meeting these needs. Prereq., PHYS 2010 or equivalent. Open to nonmajors on a space available basis.
ENVS 3070 Energy and the Environment
Contemporary issues in energy consumption and its environmental impact, including fossil fuel use and depletion; nuclear energy and waste disposal; solar, wind, hydroelectric, and other renewable sources; home heating; energy storage; fuel cells; and alternative transportation vehicles. Included are some basic physical concepts and principles that often constrain choices. No background in physics is required. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: natural science. Same as PHYS 3070.
ENVS 3520 Environmental Issues in Geosciences
This course explores where our energy comes from and the potential for future sources. As fossil fuels dominate our energy production, we will also investigate the hype and realities of climate change and greenhouse gases. We will consider these topics through the lenses of basic science, policy, politics, economics and ethics. Same as GEOL 3520.
ENVS 3621 Energy Policy and Society
Examines how society makes decisions about energy, and how these decisions affect the environment and the economy. Uses tools from policy analysis, economics, and other disciplines to build an in-depth understanding of energy’s role in U.S. contemporary society.
ENVS 5100 Environmental and Energy Economics
Students will learn to apply economic principles to analyze environmental policies in energy markets. Course goals are to understand: how markets work; the consequences of environmental externalities and other market failures; and how the characteristics of markets impact effective policy. The emphasis will be on examples from electricity generation, renewable energy, manufacturing, transportation and other energy-intensive industries. A variety of policy instruments will be studied including: technology and emission standards; renewable portfolio standards and renewable fuel standards; low carbon fuel standards; emissions taxes and cap and trade systems.
ENVS 5820 Renewable Energy Policy
Renewable conversion technologies have shown remarkable cost and performance improvements in recent years. Although renewables (excluding large hydro) currently supply less than four percent of U.S. energy needs, they could provide much more. However, plentiful resources and working technologies are necessary but not sufficient to ensure widespread use. This course will use a mix of lectures, guest speakers, discussions, mock debates, and student presentations to tease apart the complex process through which renewable technologies move from niche markets to widespread use. The focus is on renewable technologies for on-grid electricity generation. Same as RSEI 5001.
GEOL 3500 Earth Resources and the Environment
Examines Earth’s most important natural resources and their impact on society and the environment. Addresses the geology, occurrence, production, and use of petroleum, coal, mineral, and water resources. Future world energy supply and demand, conservation, and the transition from fossil fuels to non-polluting renewable resources are discussed. Prereq., GEOL 1010 or 1060. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: natural science.
GEOL 3520 Environmental Issues in Geosciences
This course explores where our energy comes from and the potential for future sources. As fossil fuels dominate our energy production, we will also investigate the hype and realities of climate change and greenhouse gases. We will consider these topics through the lenses of basic science, policy, politics, economics and ethics. Same as ENVS 3520
GEOL 3540 Introduction to Hydrocarbon Geology
Addresses the origin and distribution of conventional and unconventional petroleum and coal resources, source rocks, types of traps and seals, reservoir rock properties, exploration and development methods, reservoir characterization and modeling, and reserves calculations.
LAWS 6712 Climate Change Law and Policy
Examines the science of climate change and the broader role of science in public policymaking. Reviews the changing legal landscape to abate greenhouse gas emissions, and key issues in policy design. Reviews the Supreme Court’s April 2, 2007, decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, overturning EPA’s refusal to regulate greenhouse gas pollution from motor vehicle tailpipes, and the aftermath in the courts, Executive Branch and Congress.
LAWS 6722 Energy Law and Regulation
Provides an introduction to energy law and regulation in the United States. Covers basic principles of rate regulation and public utilities, the division of jurisdiction between federal and state governments, and the key federal statutes and regulatory regimes governing natural gas, electricity, and nuclear power. Focuses on the basic federal frame- works for natural gas and electricity regulation, with an emphasis on under- standing the messy and uneven transition to wholesale competition in these sectors and, in the electricity context, the experience with state restructuring and retail competition.
LAWS 7122 Mining and Energy Law
Addresses major issues affecting the development of mineral resources through mining activity. Includes the regulation of the impacts of mining on the environment on both public and private land. Covers the Mining Law of 1872, the Federal Coal Leasing Amendments, and state regulation of the impacts of mining on the environment.
LAWS 6732 Renewable Energy Project Finance and Development
LAWS 7232 Energy Justice
MBAX 6130 Environmental Entrepreneurship
MBAX 6550 Management of Technology and Innovation
Examines a variety of issues common to management of technology, such as technology strategies, methods of technology transfer, selecting technology standards, managing the research and development process, and encouraging and rewarding innovation.
MBAX 6825 Topics in Sustainable Business
Provides a comprehensive overview of the core concepts, strategies and practices of sustainable business, emphasizing innovative business practices and entrepreneurial opportunities created by the sustainability “movement”. The topic of sustainability will be approached from the unique perspectives of seven core disciplines of business administration: economics.
MCEN 4228/5228 Sustainable Energy
MCEN 4228/5228 Energy Conversion and Storage
For large-scale solar or wind based electrical generation to be sustainable, the development of new energy conversion and storage systems will be critical to meeting continuous energy demands and effectively leveling the cyclic nature of these energy sources. This course is designed to be a comprehensive introduction to the basic principles of electrochemistry and their application to energy conversion and storage systems.
PHYS 3070 Energy and the Environment
Contemporary issues in energy consumption and its environmental impact, including fossil fuel use and depletion; nuclear energy and waste disposal; solar, wind, hydroelectric, and other renewable sources; home heating; energy storage; fuel cells; and alternative transportation vehicles. Included are some basic physical concepts and principles that often constrain choices. No background in physics is required. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: natural science. Same as ENVS 3070.
RSEI 4150 Energy Policy Project
Varies by semester. Contact department for details.
RSEI 5000 Energy Science and Technology
This course examines the basics of energy science and technology with a focus on the fundamentals of both conventional and renewable/sustainable energy. The first half of the course concentrates on conventional energy sources such as oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear and hydroelectric. The second half concentrates on renewable/ sustainable energy technologies including wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, ocean and conservation. A thorough comparison between conventional and renewable energy sources is a key to understanding the possibilities and limitations of new energy sources. We investigate the technological promise and progress of each technology, as well as its limitations and challenges. At the conclusion of the course, students will have a solid understanding of energy sources and the foundation to pursue additional energy study.
RSEI 5001 Renewable Energy Policy
Renewable conversion technologies have shown remarkable cost and performance improvements in recent years. Although renewables (excluding large hydro) currently supply less than four percent of U.S. energy needs, they could provide much more. However, plentiful resources and working technologies are necessary but not sufficient to ensure widespread use. This course will use a mix of lectures, guest speakers, discussions, mock debates, and student presentations to tease apart the complex process through which renewable technologies move from niche markets to widespread use. The focus is on renewable technologies for on-grid electricity generation. Same as ENVS 5820.
RSEI 5002 The Business of Renewable Energy
Assesses the opportunities and problems of commercializing new renewable energy technologies. Focuses on energy markets, opportunity identification, life cycle analysis, policy economics, project financing, and economic analysis as they relate to bringing renewable energy technologies to market. Same as BADM 6930.
RSEI 5100 Energy Seminar
Varies by semester. Contact department for details.
RSEI 5200 Renewable and Sustainable Energy Topics
Varies by semester. Contact department for details.
TLEN 5830 Energy Communication Networks
Communication networks are being integrated into the electric energy grid to create "smart grids." The role of smart grids in creating an efficient, extensible, and resilient energy network is the subject of this class. It describes the existing networking technologies and standards such as SCADA and IEC61850 and the upcoming technologies that are being developed. Key issues such as cyber-security, regulatory requirements, and the industry economic framework are discussed. The issues and technologies in this class apply to related industries such as other utilities and petroleum.