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Colorado Energy Master   arrow


The Colorado Energy Master program offers participants an unbiased, comprehensive overview of energy challenges, potential solutions, and individual choices.

The program is intended to empower Coloradans to make wise energy decisions and to provide the background information needed to understand broad energy issues that affect us all. The program offers up to 30 hours of coursework and is open to anyone, including those wishing to become certified Colorado Energy Masters.


The Colorado Energy Master program offers three courses – with three classes per course – designed to provide an unbiased, comprehensive overview of energy challenges, potential solutions, and individual choices. The courses are intended for anyone who wants to delve deeper into how our energy system works and can also provide a platform for furthering a career in energy. Recent college graduates, retirees, teachers, environmental educators, utility staff/energy professionals, realtors, and others have all benefited from the program. No prerequisite knowledge is needed.

What the program offers:

  • A mix of webinars and in-person classes to balance convenience with hands-on learning
  • Explore big picture issues like energy sources, uses, policy, climate change, and transportation fuel alternatives
  • Learn about options for energy efficiency and renewable energy in your own home
  • Gain experience conducting basic home energy assessments and solar assessments
  • Use CSU Extension energy decision tools to understand the financial feasibility of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures
  • Interact with others who share similar interests
  • An opportunity to complete a meaningful energy project in your community
  • Teachers can earn up to 2 graduate credits through CSU’s Division of Continuing Education
  • Realtors can earn 9 continuing education credits through the Colorado Association of Realtors

What the program does not offer:

  • The technical information to help you build your own solar panels, wind turbine, or similar in-depth DIY project
  • A Master’s degree
  • Blower door and IR camera training

Course Info

All weekday classes except for the Project Presentations class (aspiring Energy Masters only) take place via webinar from your own personal computer. Saturday classes begin at your host County Extension office and typically involve a field trip. Test your computer here to make sure it can run Adobe Connect in order to view and participate in the webinars.

The webinars are conducted live in order to allow for real time interaction with instructors and other participants. Classes are taught by a mix of CSU professors, industry experts, and Extension staff. Note that Saturday classes include a field trip to promote experiential learning – please be prepared to make a short drive from your nearest participating Extension office to an off-site location on these days. The cost of each course includes a Saturday lunch.

  • Regular registration – $65/course or $180 for all 3 courses
  • Energy Master/student/teacher registration – $35/course or $90 for all 3 courses




Topics Covered

Energy Challenges

Colorado Energy Overview

  • Overview and logistics of the Energy Master program
  • Overview of global, national, and state energy sources and uses
  • Opportunities and challenges for various energy sources
  • Current oil and gas boom in Colorado and U.S.
  • Western coal industry trends
  • Fossil fuel challenges
  • The scientific basis for climate change
  • The scope of the energy-climate change challenge
  • Climate change Wedge Game

Fossil Energy

Energy and Climate Change

Energy Solutions

Clean and Renewable Electricity

  • Global, national, and state trends for utility-scale renewable electricity technologies
  • Technology basics including cutting edge technology
  • Smart, microgrids
  • Distributed generation
  • Renewable electricity opportunities and challenges
  • Alternate fuel vehicles including biofuels, natural gas, and electric
  • Costs, benefits, and challenges to ramping up alternative fuels
  • State and national energy policy history and trends
  • Renewable energy site visit

Transportation Alternatives

Energy Policy

Your Choices

Home Renewable Energy

  • Feasibility requirements for home renewable energy systems
  • Solar PV, solar thermal, wind
  • Considerations for on- and off-grid installations
  • Calculate system size and financial payback periods for solar PV
  • How energy is used in Colorado homes
  • Whole house approach to energy efficiency
  • Utility bill analysis
  • Use of financial calculators for energy efficiency
  • Conduct basic home energy assessment

Home Energy Efficiency

Home Energy Assessments


Project Presentations

  • Aspiring Colorado Energy Masters discuss their projects
  • Celebration and formal certification
  • For aspiring Colorado Energy Masters only (required)


The following organizations have generously donated time and effort by providing instruction and support for our program:

Energymasters PartnersNREL LogoYampa Valley Sustainability CouncilPlatte River Power Authority
Center for the New Energy Economy LogoUniversity of Wyoming Logo
Clear Result LogoClean Cities Logo
Colorado Energy OfficeRocky Mountain Institute


Here are just some of the things recent students had to say about their participation in the program.

“The Colorado Energy Master Program is truly a worthwhile endeavor if you want to be part of our collective energy future. The program covers all of the hot button energy issues.”

– 2014 Colorado Energy Master Program Participant

“This is a wonderful program, with excellent leaders, speakers, and great opportunities for intelligent, progressive discussions, ideas, and collaboration among community members. I’m thrilled to be able to say this was something I was able to participate in right here in my own county, yet it is a part of Colorado State University.”

– 2014 Colorado Energy Master Program Participant

“My participation in Colorado State University’s Energy Master program has been richly rewarding. Working among a university staff committed to both educating and to learning made the Energy Master program a dynamic and fulfilling experience. Following my completion of the program, I accepted a position as a Field Energy Consultant with SolarCity, the nation’s largest renewable energy utility company. I am looking forward to my continuing association with CSU and the Energy Master staff.”

– Keith Igoe

Littleton, Colorado

“CSU’s Energy Master Program provides an excellent foundation for learning about energy, energy efficiency, and alternative energies. Cary did a great job in developing/coordinating/conducting the program. He scheduled top notch speakers, including CSU professors, experts in the field, as well as himself, to conduct the webinars, and coordinated the Saturday field trip sessions. Anne Zander, CSU Boulder County Extension Agent, did an excellent job coordinating participants from six different counties and helping run the sessions, especially the Saturday sessions. Thanks to both of them for all their efforts in conducting this excellent program.”

– 2013 Colorado Energy Master Program Student

“The Energy Master Program is an amazing compilation of all aspects of teaching energy at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. I took what I learned in this Energy Bootcamp and literally applied it the next day with students. Don’t be nervous that it will be “just another professional development” where you get a white notebook for your bookshelf! Cary and his crew in the Energy Master program provides tools, virtual resources, and the skill set necessary to be an energy ninja in the classroom!”

– 2013 Colorado Energy Master Program Student

“My wife and I have been living off the grid (electrically) for almost 20 years. Over that time, we have learned a lot about energy conservation and renewable energy. The Energy Master classes raised our knowledge to a whole new level. We learned how to do a level one home energy survey/audit for our friends and neighbors. We have also been asked to make public presentations on renewable energy to several groups, including some school teachers in Grand Junction. I would recommend this training to anyone who wants to know more about this important subject. It is also an opportunity to meet like-minded folks in your community.”

– 2011 Colorado Energy Master Program Student


For existing Colorado Energy Masters and program participants: