Dr. Jan Kleissl

Courses Taught: MAE 119 - Introduction to Renewable Energy MAE 125 - Building Energy Efficiency


Jan Kleissl is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and is also Director of UCSD’s Center for Energy Research. In addition to his multifaceted research efforts, he teaches a variety of undergraduate courses, including MAE 119 and MAE 125.
How did these courses come about? Did you receive funding from UCSD’s Understanding and Protecting the Planet research theme?

“Well, MAE 119 is a core requirement for the Environmental Engineers, so that’s offered every year, as it has been for a long time.” “For MAE 125, yes, it was perfect timing because I wanted to make this course happen for a while, and [the UPP funding] gave me the push to help me do it. It is an elective, so it probably won’t be offered every year for now. It has been offered once so far, and I’ve applied to teach it again next year but we’ll see if it gets approved.”

What are the main learning objectives of the courses? What do you hope students will gain from taking the class?

“Both courses are about building solutions from an engineering perspective. For MAE 119, being able to analyze and model solar and wind power plants, and how they interface with the grid. MAE 125 focuses on the consumption side: how to make buildings more efficient. If I were to pick one learning outcome for that one, it would be to understand building operations, with a focus on lighting and heating/cooling.”

Who are these classes intended for? Is it mostly for engineering students?

“Actually, MAE 125 has no prerequisites, so it is open to all majors. Both courses are pretty light on the math and physics; it’s actually surprising how little math you need in these fields (laughs).”

The effort to bring more climate-related topics to UCSD’s engineering curriculum coincides beneficially with the recent offering of Degree Specializations within the Mechanical Engineering Program – one of which is Renewable Energy & Environmental Flows. This is just one of many ways the undergraduate curriculum offerings at UCSD are constantly changing and updating to remain relevant and forward-thinking.

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