Karina Garbesi

Full Professor

Department of Geography & Environmental Studies

(510) 885-3172
RO 201
Office Hours:
on leave during 2010
Photo of Karina Garbesi

I am a Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies and have held prior positions as Assistance Professor of Environmental Studies at San Jose State University and Affiliated Faculty of Energy and Resources at UC Berkeley. During 2010 I am on leave from my usual duties as Director of Cal State East Bay's Environmental Studies Program to work full time for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. That work includes two projects in which I am involving a number of CSU and UC students. The first is identifying opportunities to use federal standards to rapidly increase the energy efficiency of appliances and equipment across the US economy. The second is exploring the potential benefits of using building-sited renewable energy (RE) in its direct DC form, rather that first converting it to AC, as is currently the case in net-metered RE systems. 

With an interdisciplinary background in physics, environmental engineering, energy, economics, and policy, and a passion for social justice, I take a broad approach to environmental problem solving. My focus is on issues at the nexus of energy, environment, and society: especially climate change, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable cities. I serve on the Steering Committee of the East Bay Green Corridor -- a regional green workforce development collaboration between regional cities, universities, colleges, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and on the Board of Directors of We Care Solar.

My passion is to engage students actively in sustainability assessment and problem solving, through research-oriented course work, projects, and masters theses. Examples include projects whose outcomes have 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), and the 2004 installation of 1 MW of solar power on CSUEB's Hayward campus. In recent years I have involved students very actively in East Bay greenhouse gas assessments and climate action CSU-systemwide.

Professional Focus

Energy, Environment, Society, and Social Justice. Climate mitigation. Environmentai and social impacts of energy technology choices. Sustainable cities. Quantitative and interdisciplinary research methods in energy and resource analysis.

Current Research: (1) Maximizing carbon emissions savings through federal energy efficiency standards.  (2) The potential of energy savings of using unrectified DC power from renewable energy systems in homes. (3) Lighting systems efficiency standards.


  • PhD, Energy and Resources, UC Berkeley, 1993
  • MS, Energy and Resource, UC Berkeley, 1988
  • AB, Physics, UC Berkeley, 1986 (High Honors)


Not teaching this quarter.

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