Stanford CEE 176 A

Sponsoring Gil Masters’ Stanford CEE 176 A: Energy Efficient Buildings

“Efficiency first, clean the grid, electrify everything.” - Gil Masters

The Straubel Family Foundation is pleased to announce that it will be supporting Stanford CEE 176 A: Energy Efficient Buildings taught by Emeritus Professor Gil Masters.

Energy efficient design is important to the sustainability of the planet. That’s one of the reasons JB and Boryana are supporting this class.

The other reason is because once upon a time, as a Stanford undergraduate, JB Straubel was one of the students sitting in that class.

Professor Masters was JB’s academic advisor for his bachelors and masters degrees, and also served as the resident fellow of the dorm JB lived in his senior year. Masters got a sense of JB’s ambitions early: At the beginning of the school year, Masters heard from the second floor of the dorm what sounded like the buzzing of a Skil saw. As it turns out, it was JB constructing supports to lift the dorm’s large bed frames 6 feet in the air so that he could reserve the entire floor space for vehicle design and construction. The University was not particularly thrilled with this degree of innovative residential living. Fortunately for his dorm-mates, JB did much of his work in Prof. Masters’ small energy lab, where he later installed an EV charging system.

Summer 2005: JB Straubel and Professor Gil Masters, in the Tesla Roadster prototype. Today this picture lives on the bulletin board of Prof. Masters Energy Lab at Stanford University.

Summer 2005: JB Straubel and Professor Gil Masters, in the Tesla Roadster prototype. Today this picture lives on the bulletin board of Prof. Masters Energy Lab at Stanford University.

In Prof. Master’s class, students will learn fundamental elements of energy efficiency, including insulation, roof and room orientation, high thermal mass materials, passive solar power through windows, ventilation, and distributed renewable energy & storage. Crucially, students will also understand the costs and financing requirements of these features-- requiring them to solve problems not only on paper, but within budget. At the end they will design a home from scratch, incorporating all that they’ve learned, centering efficiency in the design of the structure.

As for the path society ought to take in matters of energy, Prof Masters offers a concise off-the-cuff recipe: “Efficiency first, clean the grid, electrify everything.”

We can’t wait. Professor Masters was such an important influence on young JB and the course his life and career would take that we want to help more students be exposed to Masters’ deep expertise in electricity, energy, and energy efficiency. We also want to thank Jane Woodward for funding Gil and his incredible class for years, and we are thankful for this opportunity to help continue funding it.