What is Sustainable Electrical Engineering?
Sustainable electrical engineering is a subset of the electrical engineering field. The focus of sustainable electrical engineers is wide, ranging and applicable to many different industries.
Typically, the engineer focuses on creating and improving innovative or renewable energy sources for electricity. This can come in the form of new solar power techniques and design, or ways to return renewable power back to the energy grid.
Alternatively, sustainable electrical engineers can focus their efforts on electric or hybrid vehicles, more efficient lighting sources, or even how to improve the energy efficiency of appliances, motors, or engines. Sustainable electrical engineers work hand in hand with fellow engineering disciplines to design more efficient and more sustainable systems for heating and cooling.
What Type of College Coursework is Required?
At its core, sustainable electrical engineering is still a type of electrical engineering, so a course plan that follows an electrical engineering degree is required. Depending on which area the engineer is interested in, different courses can be selected to augment the electrical engineering degree and potentially earn a Certificate in Sustainability.
Some courses may include energy generation, energy resource management, any courses focusing on environmental concerns, or coursework detailing different control systems.
How Do Electrical Engineers Impact Sustainable Design?
Sustainable electrical engineers have large roles to play when it comes to the design of a building. In fact, of the 69 total points for LEED certification, an electrical engineer can impact 28 areas. Here are just a few of the points where an electrical engineer can impact the LEED certificate credits for a building:
● On-site renewable energy - This credit is intended to award buildings that have onsite renewable energy sources so that a building can rely less on commercially generated electricity, thus reducing environmental impact. This credit can be up to three points and can be awarded to buildings that utilize photovoltaic solar energy, wind turbines, or hydro-electricity sources. All of these alternative energy sources can be designed and implemented by an electrical engineer.
● Controllability of systems: lighting - To earn up to one point, the building must be at least 90% manually controlled for lighting. Not only does this help the building become more energy efficient, but it helps to promote a comfortable and productive setting for the occupants. The electrical engineer should install controllable task and ambient light to suit the needs and purpose of the building design.
● Innovation in design - This blanket certification can grant up to four additional points toward LEED certification. This allows members of the design and construction team to go above and beyond what is minimally required by the LEED certification process. The electrical engineer is able to design and identify electricity focused areas where he or she has somehow impacted the greater environmental impact of the building.
At Gausman & Moore, we care about sustainable design and encourage our engineers to pursue sustainable efforts within their areas of expertise. Our electrical engineers are continually working hand in hand with our building owners and construction crews to ensure our buildings are reaching their full sustainable potential. To learn more about projects we have completed, take a look at our portfolio.
If you’re interested in hiring the electrical engineering professionals at Gausman & Moore for your next building project, contact our team today! We have offices in Roseville, MN; Duluth, MN; and Santa Clarita, CA.