Students to travel to Germany to learn about renewable energy and ‘green’ buildings

November 12, 2013
Dr. Samir El-Omari

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. —Dr. Samir El-Omari, general engineering professor at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, will be taking a group of students to Germany this summer to explore green technology in Europe. El-Omari did his undergraduate studies in Germany, and maintains many contacts with professors there.

According to El-Omari, Germany is one of the most advanced countries in green building design and renewable energy. Students will visit solar and wind farms, attend lectures and work on projects with other German students and their professors. They will also be visiting a green building job site to see the building process.

So, What makes a green building? A green building is a high performance building that tries to use the least amount of conventional energy as possible. Conventional energy comes from fossil fuel, coal and natural gas. The buildings use more green technology such as solar, wind and reduce energy and water consumption.

There are many different ways builders are trying to go greener. They build different types of windows to let more natural light in instead of artificial light. Builders also try to use the outside air to heat and cool the building instead of the traditional boiler and air conditioning units. Automatic lighting will turn the lights off when the room is empty and dims the light depending on the natural light coming in. There are even some buildings that have waterfalls inside to help control the humidity levels.

According to El-Omari, this trip will be essential for future engineers wishing to get into the renewable energy field. “This will help students gain the understanding they need to prove to future investors that green is the more efficient and cheaper way,” said El-Omari.

When talking about green building construction, the cost to build is usually 2-8 percent higher than traditional building costs. However, investors will save in the long run from lower energy costs. El-Omari hopes that this trip will help students understand that green energy is important for future generations and that they have to work hard to produce green buildings.

The trip will last two weeks and students will visit different cities in Germany including Munich, Stuttgart, Koln, Frankfurt and Darmstadt. El-Omari hopes to make this an annual visit to include different majors and countries. El-Omari is also thinking of including other countries on the list.

El-Omari is also thinking of including developing countries. “Developing countries have a different perspective about green technology,” said El-Omari. “That means they will have different expertise to offer to students.”

El-Omari hopes that students will get a good international experience and appreciate the chance to work with students from Germany. Anyone interested in going may contact El-Omari to discuss the trip. 

Contact: Samir El-Omari, general engineering, (608) 342-6170,

Written by: Megan Schmidt, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications,(608) 342-1194,


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