The Solar Fiesta is an opportunity to learn about how to build a sustainable lifestyle. It's also an opportunity to hear about UNM's cutting-edge educational and research programs in solar energy, sustainability and energy efficiency. The Solar Fiesta will be held Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 27-28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Albuquerque Academy located at 6400 Wyoming Blvd. NE.

A UNM Panel featuring Dr. Gruia-Catalin Roman, the new dean of the UNM School of Engineering, Andrea Mammoli, associate professor in Mechanical Engineering, Olga Lavrova, assistant professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Stephen Dent, professor in the School of Architecture and Planning, is set for Sunday, Aug. 28 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. at the Simms Center at Albuquerque Academy. Roman will moderate a panel of UNM faculty and will discuss state-of-the-art research and academic programs in photovoltaics, solar thermal technologies, renewable technologies, and sustainable design.

UNM Panel
Roman became dean of the UNM School of Engineering on July 1, 2011. He comes to UNM from Washington University in St. Louis, where he was chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering for 13 years. In his own research, Roman and his collaborators have been investigating the use of the newly emerging sensor network technology in the area of climate controls for building management. He also likes to highlight the fact that energy-related research funding for the Center for Emerging Energy Technologies alone received $2 million last year, involving nine faculty members from UNM and eight outside UNM as well as five postdoctoral fellows, 17 graduate students, and eight undergraduate students. Annual research expenditures for the School of Engineering last year reached $31.73 million, approximately $300,000 per faculty.

Mammoli is helping position UNM as a leading center of innovation in solar energy. Mammoli and an international collaboration are developing ways for buildings to use energy more efficiently and more wisely at Mesa del Sol, researching the interface between buildings, distributed power generation and the power grid.

Lavrova teaches classes in emerging energies and has led the department's solar car project and solar-house design competition. She is also involved with the Mesa del Sol energy research project, modeling multi-agent behavior and battery storage techniques.

Dent has been teaching energy conserving and sustainable design for over 30 years. He has written extensively on the subject and has presented his architectural work and research at national and international conferences. He has also received more than $300,000 in energy related research contracts.

Solar Fiesta
Sponsored by the New Mexico Solar Energy Association, the Solar Fiesta is a two-day educational event featuring exhibits and workshops on how to install solar and wind energy systems, biofuels, transportation alternatives, lighting and shading options, and energy efficiency. An expanded children's area uses a multiplicity of both static displays and interactional games to teach energy concepts. Attendance to the UNM panel and exhibit grounds is free; workshop sessions are $15 for one day and $25 for both days; parking is $5 per car.

For more information visit: Solar Fiesta.

Media Contact: Tamara Williams, (505) 277-5859; e-mail: tamara@unm.edu