Greetings from San Diego! After a tough midterm this week I decided to come home to San Diego for some relaxation time and to go to the San Diego Chargers vs. Dallas Cowboys football game with my family. Let me tell you about the most exciting part of my week, my first grad class CE 515 Sustainable Infrastructure Systems. Tuesday/Thursday nights are the highlight of my week as I learn more about sustainable design and work towards my Master’s in Green Technologies.

I am loving my Master’s program and can’t wait to take more classes next semester. One of my favorite things about the program is how interdisciplinary it is – I’ll be taking classes in the civil, environmental, chemical, and industrial and systems engineering departments, and even a class in the Marshall School of Business! My class this semester on sustainable infrastructure systems is in the Civil Engineering department, but is taught by an electrical engineering professor! The class lectures focus on a different areas of sustainability, social, economic, and environmental, as well as system dynamics, energy flows, population dynamics, the economics of sustainability, and infrastructure strength.

We started the class by stating our own definitions of sustainability, and what we hope to learn from the class. From there, the class has been based on lectures and modeling assignments, as well as a group term project modeling a sustainable infrastructure system. My team chose to study the eco-resort Treebones, located in Big Sur, California just up the coast. The luxury camping resort is a sustainable community which includes several campsites and 16 yurts, which are tent-like circular fabric structures supported by a wood lattice framing system. The resort grows most of their food in the on site organic garden, has a solar power system, uses micro turbines for heating and uses five zero emission electric vehicles to drive on the property. We plan to model the water and water use, organic food production, and guest population of the resort. Check out some pictures of Treebones below:

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Our goal is to show the sustainable impact of Treebones, and share our report with the resort, even highlighting areas where the resort can become more sustainable. Hopefully my group will even be able to visit the resort to do more research for our project. I’ve always wanted to stay in a yurt!

Until next time,