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Category:Engr308 Technology and the Environment

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Revision as of 16:35, 6 October 2009 by Lonny (Talk | Contributions) (Potential Projects)

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Engineering 308 (Engr 308), Technology and the Environment, is a course taught at Humboldt State University, currently by instructor Lonny Grafman. See course content and past projects below.

General Idea

Projects that allow students to use excel to create dynamic judgments or comparisons of specific technology based upon explicit quantified data. Critical analysis is based on multiple metrics, such as water, money, energy, carbon, etc. Future projects could include comparing paper cup use versus ceramic cups, hybrid versus SUV use, CFL versus incandescent, various building materials, etc.
Clients are selected by the instructor based upon the clearness of their question and its impact on decisions at the intersection of technology and the environment. Clients are given preference in the following order (most to least): Local business, non-profit organization, government organization, local group, school organization, citizens.
Clients understand that the more they work with the students the better their project will be, and make a minimum commitment of four meetings with their team. Some teams choose to work for themselves.
Students work in teams of four or five.
Project documentation
Teams construct a working spreadsheet of their analysis and write:
  • Instructions on how to use their worksheet
  • Justification of values
  • Conclusions based upon their analysis
Other coursework
Coursework revolves around dimensional analysis, working with Excel, quantifying information, making back of the envelop calculations based upon known values, and critical thinking about how technology and humans intersect the environment. Basic knowledge in sciences such as thermodynamics and chemistry will be leveraged to produce practical and prudent answers.

Potential Projects

Project(s) with CCAT

  • Electrical energy system monitoring, history and analysis

Projects with the Redwood Coast Energy Authority

  • Next generation crystalline versus amorphous solar panels
  • Heat pump versus solar thermal heating
  • LED vs Induction street lights (compared against HPS)
  • Keep old windows versus installing new energy efficient windows

Project(s) with GreenWay Partners

  • Daylighting versus energy efficient electric lighting

Project(s) with other local businesses

  • Comparison of building materials

Other or no clients

  • Hummer versus Prius
  • Paper plates versus washing plates
  • Keep 1988 Dodge and drive into ground versus Prius
  • Buy a book from or drive to Big Box Bookstore
  • Solar systems sold (replacing kerosene) versus 5 flights to Ghana
  • Paper versus Plastic
  • Toilet paper versus cleaning by hand
  • Glass bottles versus Plastic bottles
  • Incandescent bulbs versus CFL in a heated environment


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