Introducing energy efficiency as a subject into the curriculum of ASEAN’s higher learning institutions was the focus of a discussion this week, as 40 energy efficiency experts and education specialists gathered in Phnom Penh.

The “U.S.-ASEAN Energy Efficiency Education Workshop,” held back-to-back with the meeting of the ASEAN Senior Officials on Energy of ASEAN last week, was designed to share with participants the best practices and latest developments in energy efficiency education in the United States.

“By 2020 ASEAN will have a population of over 650 million people, and the pressure on its energy supply will be enormous,” said Dr. Phyllis Yoshida from Office of Policy and International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy, who opened the workshop. “It is crucial to begin addressing tomorrow’s regional energy issues today, and the way to do that is through education.”

“We are aware that the issue and problems of energy security and global warming are of worldwide concern. Many approaches are being tried to lessen the impact but what still remains as the most viable option and cost effective way is energy efficiency and conservation.” said Mr. Toch Sovanna, Director of Energy Techniques, Department of Energy, Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy of Cambodia in his Opening Remarks.

The workshop was a follow-up action of the proposal from U.S. Department of Energy during the Second ASEAN Senior Officials on Energy and the United States Consultation (SOME-US) last year in Brunei Darussalam, where the U.S. proposed a 3-year US-ASEAN Energy Cooperation Work Plan. The Work Plan covers four broad areas: energy efficiency, renewable energy, civil nuclear energy and natural gas.

Led by Dr. Michelle Fox from U.S. Department of Energy and Roger Ebbage from Lane Community College, the interactive workshop focused on a wide range of energy efficiency implementation programs at higher learning institutions, including those concerning buildings, vehicles, and industrial processes. Participants were given exposure to some of the tools used for conducting commercial building energy efficiency audits, and also exchange of current best practices in the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and workforce development for a clean energy economy.

The U.S.-ASEAN Energy Efficiency Education Workshop was jointly organized by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Government-funded ASEAN-U.S. Technical Assistance and Training Facility, the ASEAN Energy Centre, and the Ministry of Industry, Mines & Energy of Cambodia.