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Costa Rica Energy


Punta Leona, Costa Rica

Program Description

Project-based course examining energy conservation, monitoring, and applications and providing team-oriented project experience. Addresses energy issues associated with economic and social development. Project participation, tours and interactions with resort employees, managers and owners to identify, apply, and provide recommendations to energy-related problems. Students will work on various projects at resorts in Costa Rica. Each student will pick a project before arriving in Costa Rica and work to complete it during the three week class. Students will work with advisors and project mentors that include JMU professors, owners and managers of a resort in Costa Rica.

Location Description

The program will be at Punta Leona Hotel and Club Beach Resort. It is a coastal resort located in the Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica. It is about an hour drive for the capital San Jose. The resort’s accommodations for national and international guests include 108 standard rooms and 27 fully equipped apartments. Punta Leona Hotel and Club Beach Resort employs approximately 335 people and its management is committed to being a leader in ecotourism. Its beach- Playa Blanca- has been awarded the “Cleanest Beach in Costa Rica”


Karim Altaii | | ISAT
Heather Watson | | Engineering


Accommodations will be provided through hotels, with all meals covered in the program fee.

Additional Items to Consider

Possible projects: Please note that some of these topics can become your senior thesis project: 1. Energy savings: this can start with energy audit of the facilities and recommend possible actions. This can include educating and informing the resort community about the process (what we are doing, why, how, and what to expect) 2. PV power plant for charging golf carts 3. PV power plant for emergency backup (internet, communication and vital lighting) 4. PV power plant for street lighting 5. Solar thermal collectors for hot water 6. Grey water usage treatment and irrigation 7. Developing educational material for resort workers and guests 8. Other projects that you are interested in.

This course is targeted towards ISAT and Engineering students, and recommended for sophomores and juniors.

Application Process

For this program, students are required to submit the following material(s):

  • JMU Short-Term Application Form

  • A supplemental essay addressing the following question:
    " What are your interests in this experience and how will it benefit you?

  • Attend an interview with the program director prior to the application deadline: Karim Altaii  | |  ISAT    -and-   Heather Watson  |  |  Engineering

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.5.

For more detailed instructions and to download the application, please click on the following link to the Applications and Forms section for JMU Short-Term Programs.

Official transcript required for first-semester transfer students and non-JMU students.

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


ISAT 416: International Energy Study (3 credits)

ENGR 480: Advanced Projects in Engineering (3 credits)