Logo: The Northwest Water and Energy Education Institute at Lane Community College
Logo: The Northwest Water and Energy Education Institute at Lane Community College

Education & Training for Energy & Water Professionals

Education & Training for Energy & Water Professionals

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Press & Media

Catching Up with Lane College’s Roger Ebbage:
Teaching Tomorrow’s Building Energy Managers!

Submitted by Willi Paul on Sat, 12/26/2009 - 11:37
Origionally published on http://www.planetshifter.com/node/1451

Q: Why is your Lane College Energy Management Program a national model for energy education? How many competing programs are out there?

ROGER: One reason for our place in the energy education industry is that we have been the only program in the country for many years. It was not until recently that we have helped other programs with getting into the game. And then of course since we focus on quality instruction, we have a reputation of providing a solid course or program. We are also involved with the industry nationally so we stay tuned into what’s happening from a national perspective.


Managing a building or campus energy program is more than assessment and reduction strategies. What are your green building best practices and principles?

Really, its assessment and reduction strategies. If you don’t know where you stand how will know where you need to go. If you don’t encourage reduction through low cost – no cost strategies you will struggle to implement projects be cause of first costs. Energy reduction can lead to a revenue stream that will finance capital projects. Very simply, get end users involved in reduction strategies and you have a successful program

Please discuss the current market trends in energy-efficiency.

Although we haven’t seen al lot of funding going toward commercial building efficiency, we are seeing some dollars hitting the low income residential market and really, commercial energy efficiency is coming up in a lot of conversations which is different from 2 years ago where one needed to convince building owners to do efficiency.

How is the green speak from the Obama machine fairing in Oregon these days?

Money to fund proposals is coming in and we are getting our fair share – I’m sure.

How do you audit or assess a building for energy use?

First you need to know where the building stands and that’s done by calculating the Energy Utilization Index in BTUs / square foot of conditioned space. Based on that figure one can benchmark the building with others to see where the building stands compared to high performance buildings.

Next is a scoping walk-through to determine what technology needs further assessment. The final step then is conducting the assessment and reporting the findings with recommendations for improvement. Sounds simple but involves a lot of time, technology and creative knowledge to be done right.

Tell us how you found and won the NSF grant for Lane College?

The NSF grant is designed to provide the Lane program to other college energy management cohorts through distance learning. We will put all of our core courses on line starting fall 2010 which when coupled with general ed courses taken at the down-link campus, students can earn our degree
Can solar energy save the planet? How?

Save the planet??? Hmmm – I would say not. What I would suggest is that a hybrid mix of renewables can go a long way toward saving the planet. Connect renewables with responsible leadership, good policy making, and an informed populace and we are home free.

Why did you join the Interstate Renewable Energy Council? What is going on there?

I work with some of the most dedicated and talented renewable energy professionals in the world through IREC. For instance, the organization has the experience of past interest in renewable energy to the degree that they knew if we didn’t get installers of renewable systems to install using practices that come from a skill set identified by successful practitioners we would have the same poor installations that almost destroyed the industry in the early 80. I like being with forward thinking organizations. IREC is one of those.

How critical are grey water systems to a sustainable future?

I like Grey water systems but if we don’t keep our codes people current grey water systems won’t be as common as they need to be. Water by the way is THE most important resource to conserve.

Are you working with businesses and residents to sell back energy to the grid?


“I had the pleasure of attending Roger Ebbage’s “Energy Conservation” class as part of my Building Operator Certification course. Typically, it’s difficult for me to stay seated for hours, listening to a lecture. But Roger’s class gave us an important overview of our role as “building operators” in energy consumption and how to identify potential areas in our facilities so we can improve operations and achieve system efficiency which can have a huge impact on the bottom line. His passion in energy and water conservation is evident in the multitude of reading materials that he shared. It was infectious enough that class participation was active and animated. We need more people like him to spread this critical message.”

Malou Carreon, Facilities Consultant for Start-ups, Burlingame, CA



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