Instructor: Harlan Bengtson
Credit Hours: 4.00

Approval Number:

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Course Description

It will also be of interest to any engineers wanting to learn more about the renewable energy field.  The principles of passive solar heating, such as basic types of systems, their description, and the components making up any passive system are presented in this course.  Sources of data for heating requirements and available solar radiation throughout the U.S are identified and discussed along with a method for estimating the rate of heat loss from a home.  The use of these three inputs in a method for estimating performance of a passive heating system of specified size at a specified location is presented.  The data retrieval and calculations are illustrated with numerous examples.


Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Obtain and interpret data for solar radiation rate on vertical and horizontal surfaces of buildings for any of the 239 locations in the NREL database..
  • Obtain and interpret data for heating degree days at any of the 239 locations in the NREL database.
  • Calculate an estimated rate of heat loss (Btu/oF-day/ft2) from a building if one year’s monthly power bills for the building are available.
  • Calculate an estimated monthly percentage of a building’s heating requirement that will be provided by a given size passive solar heating system at a given location in the U.S. it specified rate of heat loss from the building in Btu/oF-day/ft2.

Instructor Bio

Dr. Bengtson is a graduate of Iowa State University with B.S. and M.S. degrees and of the University of Colorado with a PhD. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Missouri. He has spent 30 years in engineering education in teaching and administrative positions, including six years as Dean of Engineering at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. His areas of expertise are environmental engineering, hydrology and hydraulics, engineering science and renewable energy systems. He did consulting work while holding the academic positions. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Bengtson worked for Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing as a Product Development Engineer and for E. I. duPont deNemours as a Process Development Engineer. Dr. Bengtson has authored numerous publications, presentations and technical reports. He is currently active in providing continuing education opportunities for Professional Engineers and is the founder of and, sites with the objective of providing inexpensive, easy to use Excel spreadsheets for a variety of engineering calculations.

Other Approvals

National Professional Engineer board: not required