Adjunct Professor Peter Love of York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies talked to professors from around the world about how to teach energy efficiency policy at the university level and its importance.
Love, president of Love Energy Consultants Inc., led a workshop at the Education for Sustainability Conference in Karlsruhe, Germany to discuss the distinct benefits of energy efficiency and how York is putting that into action. It is important to first understand what he calls the three E’s, he says.
“The first E is employment: Energy efficiency is labour-intensive with most of that labour being local. The next E is economy: Energy efficiency saves money for homeowners, businesses, universities and governments. And third, but not least, is environment: Using less energy is always better for the environment than making it.” That is the basis of any energy policy teaching.
Throughout the three-day conference, the International Education for Sustainability Network, an initiative of the European Organisation for Sustainable Development, hosted approximately 45 experts from around the world to further its vision to build a global educational community of practice committed to a sustainable Earth. Love was the only Canadian presenter and the only one talking about courses that teach energy efficiency policy. “A number of the other professors attending from different parts of the world expressed interest in developing a similar course,” said Love, former Ontario chief energy conservation officer and the president of the newly formed Energy Services Association of Canada.
He is also a major player in the Faculty of Environmental Studies’ Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI), which aims to create and foster teaching, research and partnerships that are necessary to develop green energy economies in Canada and worldwide. He is currently teaching the Fundamentals of Energy Efficiency: Theory, Policy and Practice in a Canadian Context course and will teach the Business and Sustainability: Issues and Strategies course next semester.
Love talked about the structure and teaching methodology of his current course, which includes guest speakers from various areas of government and environmental non-governmental organizations, and modules on topics such as transportation and the economics of energy efficiency. The students, he said, are also instructed to complete a cabinet submission comprised of an executive summary, including the decision sought, the desired outcome and a rationale, as well as key risks and considerations. To successfully fulfill this course component, students must also compile an anticipated stakeholder response and reaction, and key background information, as well as supporting evidence and material related to a jurisdictional scan and alternative options considered.
He told the groups about the major themes that emerged from a workshop on teaching energy efficiency policy that took place in July at York. These included a need for courses that would educate engineers about policy, social considerations and communication, as well as the need for curriculum development funding. The workshop, which was the first of its kind in Canada, involved delegates from various organizations and postsecondary institutions in Canada and the United States.
At the conference, Love also stressed York’s many key contributions and accomplishments with regard to sustainability, including its extensive offering of courses related to sustainability and the Minister’s Award for Environmental Excellence that it received from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change last year. He also discussed the President’s Sustainability Council at York with its focus on administration and organization structure, campus operations and development, and social justice. He also informed the audience about a four-year project involving an energy audit and utility analysis of a York University building which resulted in $5 million in savings annually over its duration.
His presentation provided sharp insights on the significance of energy efficiency education and how York is making an impact by practising and encouraging sustainability, and provoked thoughtful consideration on how attendees could actuate the ideas they heard.
To learn more, visit the Sustainable Energy Initiative website.
By Kate Tschirhart, communications coordinator, Faculty of Environmental Studies