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Professor Karina Garbesi is the director of the Environmental Studies Program at Cal State East Bay. Garbesi hold’s a Master’s (1988) and PhD (1993) in Energy and Resources from UC Berkeley. She has worked for over 25 years in the field of energy and sustainability.
From 2010 – 2014 Garbesi was on leave from Cal State East Bay working as a Program Manager at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) where she managed millions of dollars of energy research annually. At LBNL she lead research in four major program areas: (1) technical and economic analyses in support of federal energy conservation standards rulemakings for lighting products, (2) the potential for appliance and equipment energy savings in the U.S. economy for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), (3) appliance price learning in the U.S. economy, (4) and the potential for energy savings that could result from using on-site solar electricity in its direct current form in U.S. homes and businesses. In addition, she developed and managed the DOE-supported Max Tech and Beyond Design Competition for Ultra-Low-Energy Use Appliances and Equipment, a nation-wide competition of faculty-led student design teams at U.S. Universities. Prior to taking a position at Cal State East Bay, from 1994 – 1999, Garbesi lead the Energy Option at San Jose State University, where she developed and taught many course on renewable energy, solar energy, energy policy, and the environmental and social impacts of energy use.
With an interdisciplinary background in physics, environmental engineering, energy, economics, and policy, and a passion for social justice, Garbesi takes a broad and applied approach to environmental problem solving. During her career Garbesi has consulted extensively on public interest energy issues, she has produced technical reports for local and federal governments, and she has performed as an expert witness at public hearings. She loves to involve students in her work through research-oriented course work, projects, and masters theses. Examples of such work include research that resulted in the installation of utility scale wind turbines in Eritrea, Africa, more equitable and sustainable micro-hydro projects in India, significant expansion of solar power in San Francisco, improved environmental justice in SE San Francisco through intervention in power plant citing and transmission line expansion cases. Garbesi also involves students actively in sustainability work on campus. Under her guidance her student have conducted two campus greenhouse gas emissions assessment, and the 2004 installation of 1 MW of solar power on CSUEB's Hayward campus.
Garbesi was a founding Board Member and is the Current Vice President of We Care Solar, a highly successful Bay Area non-profit that is providing solar electricity, lighting and medical equipment, to women’s health clinics in the poorest countries of the world. As an active member of the We Care Solar Board of Directors she has acted both as a guide in the development of the organization and as a volunteer installing solar energy systems in Nigeria and Tanzania.
Energy, Environment, Society, and Social Justice. Environmental and social impacts of energy technology choices. Sustainable cities. Quantitative and interdisciplinary research methods in energy and resource analysis.