Department of Energy Unveils ‘Energy 101’ Framework

Jay Owen Resource Efficiency

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Department of Energy Unveils ‘Energy 101’ Framework


Colleges Urged to Create ‘Introduction to Energy’ Courses Open to All Undergraduates


For Immediate Release

For more information contact: Ellen Vaughan at (202) 662-1893 or [email protected]


March 12, 2013–In an effort to help address the array of energy challenges facing the country, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), the University of Maryland, and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) have developed ‘Energy 101‘, a unique, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary model framework born out of DOE’s desire to introduce college students to energy literacy and sustainability and to encourage them to pursue energy careers.


The partners will offer a webinar on April 10, 2013, for faculty, administrators and other interested parties to learn about the ‘Energy 101’ framework and how it uses group projects,DOE’s Energy Literacy Principles (essential energy concepts for all citizens, from K-to-Gray), and educational modules to help students make informed choices about energy production, energy use, and sustainable development. Webinar participants will be able to ask questions at the end of the presentation.



Wednesday, April 10 at 2:00 pm EDT

Please sign-up to the webinar here 


The new Model Framework is designed to challenge college students at two and four-year schools across the country to explore the science and social science behind sound energy decision-making and to teach them to apply those skills to workplace and personal decisions. It will also introduce students at an early point in their college experience to a variety of energy careers. The Framework builds on a national dialog, involving thousands of individuals, which began over two years ago with the development of DOE’s Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for Energy Education.


“The United States faces enormous pressure to develop more energy resources to meet our demands for fuel and electricity. How do we accomplish this while addressing health, security, economic, climate, and other environmental concerns? We think everyone should have a basic understanding of energy, and college students in particular must be empowered through better information,” says Carol Werner, EESI’s Executive Director.


A pilot ‘Energy 101’ course, ‘Designing a Sustainable World’ (BioE 289A I-series course), was launched on January 25, 2013, at the University of Maryland. “The course encourages students to take a ‘Leonardo Da Vinci approach’ to ‘think out of the box’ and apply basic design tools to map out and explore solutions. The students submit their design projects to an e-portfolio which will enable them to continue to build upon their designs well beyond the course, encouraging them to be life-long innovators,” says Dr. Leigh Abts, the co-developer of the course with Dr. Idalis Villanueva. The course has attracted 28 students from various disciplines, ranging from computer science to food science. It is a model for how other universities may align their ‘Energy 101’ version to a curricular framework based on the Energy Literacy Principles, and it will be presented as a case study during the April 10 webinar. In addition to the University of Maryland, Cecil Community College and Harford Community College, both in Maryland, are expected to begin teaching their own pilot ‘Energy 101’ courses based on the same framework in the coming weeks.


The ‘Energy 101’ framework can be modified to suit different local and regional interests and needs. As Jim Turner, APLU’s Senior Counsel for Innovation and Technology and Director of Energy Programs, notes, “The ‘Energy 101’ model framework can be used at every college and university across the country. It’s an adaptable program that can meet the specific needs of diverse higher education institutions and their student populations. By exposing students both to how energy works and why people make the decisions they do, we hope the next generation will be much better energy stewards than we have been.”


As they become final, the ‘Energy 101’ model framework and course modules will be available through the DOE’s National Training and Education Resource (NTER), an open-source, cloud-based online training tool that allows for content creation and sharing. NTER’s online platform provides an opportunity to use advanced information technology and graphic capabilities to create next generation simulations and immersive learning experiences for students to further illuminate energy concepts. An ‘Energy 101’ forum has been set up on NTER to facilitate the sharing of ideas, resources, and materials. Other faculty who want to contribute to the Energy 101 NTER library can submit materials for posting.


For more information, please contact Ellen Vaughan at [email protected] or (202) 662-1893.








The ‘Energy 101’ project is primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and managed by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Oak Ridge Association of Universities. EESI and the University of Maryland are providing outreach, peer review, and content development.


The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities ( is the nation’s oldest higher education association, serving 217 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and education-related organizations. Member campuses enroll more than 3.6 million undergraduate and 1.1 million graduate students, employ more than 670,000 faculty and administrators, and conduct nearly two-thirds of all university-based research, totaling more than $34 billion annually.


The Environmental and Energy Study Institute ( is an independent, non-profit organization advancing innovative policy solutions to set us on a cleaner, more secure and sustainable energy path. EESI educates policymakers, builds coalitions and develops policy in support of energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable biomass, sustainable buildings, and sustainable transportation. EESI was founded by a bipartisan Congressional caucus in 1984, and its strong relationship with Congress helps EESI serve as a trusted source of credible, non-partisan information on energy and environmental issues. EESI receives no Congressional funding and is supported through contributions and grants.


The University of Maryland ( is the state’s flagship university and one of the nation’s preeminent public research universities. Ranked No. 19 among public universities by U.S. News &World Report, it has 32 academic programs in the U.S News Top 10 and 73 in the Top 25. The Institute of Higher Education (Jiao Tong University, Shanghai), which ranks the world’s top universities based on research, puts Maryland at No. 38 in the world and No. 13 among U.S. public universities. The university has produced six Nobel laureates, seven Pulitzer Prize winners, more than 40 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. The university is recognized for its diversity, with underrepresented students comprising one-third of the student population.


Oak Ridge Associated Universities ( ORAU focuses on the advancement of scientific research and education while providing innovative solutions to strengthen and secure America. As a 105-member nonprofit university consortium, Oak Ridge Associated Universities creates and promotes collaborative partnerships among academia, government and industry to strengthen our nation’s scientific research and education enterprise.


Environmental and Energy Study Institute
Carol Werner, Executive Director

EESI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 1984 by a bipartisan Congressional caucus to provide timely information and develop innovative policy solutions that set us on a cleaner, more secure and sustainable energy path. EESI is funded primarily by foundations and other private donors.

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Environmental and Energy Study Institute
Amaury Laporte
Communications Coordinator