Loren W. Neubauer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Loren Wenzel Neubauer (1904-1991) was a civil engineer active in the field of farm structures and wood structures, and a pioneer in the field of solar energy.



Neubauer was born in 1904 in St. James, Minnesota to parents John Neubauer (b1880) and Inez Emma Ramsey Neubauer (b1883).[1] Neubauer lived in and attended primary, secondary schools in St. Paul, Minnesota, and attended the University of Minnesota, where he was awarded a BS in Civil Engineering with distinction in 1926,[2] a MS in Hydraulic Engineering in 1932.[3] He went on to teach engineering at UC Davis, and while there, completed his studies to receive a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1948.[4]

Early career[edit]

Neubauer worked briefly as an inspector in the U.S. Engineer's office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While a graduate student he taught mathematics and mechanics, served as a draftsman in geography, and instructor in agricultural engineering.[5][6] In 1936 when he went to work as an engineer for the Works Progress Administration, he had to ask permission from the Regents even though he was an unpaid instructor at the time.[7] When he returned to the university his salary increased.[8] He had also worked as an assistant highway engineer for the Aitkin Company and a surveyor for the U.S. Engineer's office in St. Paul.[9]

Solar energy[edit]

Neubauer's interest in solar energy had begun as a child. Watching the sun and shadows moving on a sundial and observing the clever use of the sun in orientation and design of hog pens on his grandfather’s farm to help keep pigs cool in summer and warm in winter made sense to him.[10] He also saw how simple windows could be powerful solar collectors when they melted his favorite rubber boots. But his solar research really took off at UC Davis with the influence and interest of other faculty members, particularly his colleague in agricultural engineering Dr. Fredrick A. Brooks (1895-1967) and architect Richard D. Cramer (1919-2000). Brooks had been involved in solar and microclimate research for many years and had produced an excellent report on solar water heating in California in 1936.[11] He was also interested in solar heating for homes.[12] Brooks' microclimate approach combined with Neubauer’s research skills and experience and interest led to a series of studies on the use of the sun for heating and solar control and microclimate resources for cooling. (See Publications.)

Neubauer’s expertise and enthusiasm helped stimulate and support a series of key studies in the 1970s including a local climate adapted building code in "A Strategy for Energy Conservation" (1974),[13] plans for a daylit naturally heated, cooled and ventilated state office building that would have used only 12% of the energy of a conventional office building design (1976),[14] "The Davis Energy Conservation Report" (1977),[13] and a final paper on the potential to reduce energy use dramatically simply by placing windows wisely.[15] As noted in discussions about his award as the Passive Solar Pioneer in 1981[16] from the American Solar Energy Society, Neubauer provided the voice of authority that helped convince the city council, builders, and citizens that a climatically adapted building code made sense.[10] The team who wrote the Davis Energy Conservation Report, Neubauer, Cramer, Hammond and Hunt, were also given an award by First Lady Rosalynn Carter in 1981. Neubauer's solar research and contributions also were applied to plant research. He helped develop, refine and improve a sun tracking greenhouse for experiments.[17] This phytotron increased solar gain and improved solar control for experimental purposes.

Neubauer also applied his energy, expertise and research to improve profits and the quality of life on the farm. His concern for farm family comfort and health was in part a reflection of his experience on his grandfather’s farm as a child.[10] Early in his career at the University of Minnesota he prepared reports on farm home and shop design and other extension materials.[18][19] Applying passive solar design to farm houses[20][21][22][23][24] and animal shelters[25] benefited farm families and farm animals across the country and around the world. Early in his career at the University of California he developed a series of plan sets for a range of farm building types and worked on the economics of labor.[26] He also applied his understanding of buildings and microclimate to potato storage.[27][28] His farm experience was collected and refined in a book with Harry Walker, Farm Building Design.[29] This was well regarded and used as a textbook.[30] His interests also included more sustainable building materials including adobe, rammed earth, and sawdust concrete.[31][32][33][34]

Structural engineering[edit]

Neubauer is perhaps best known for his work on strength formulas and methods of calculation. In 1974 he received the L. J. Markwart Wood Engineering Award from the Forest Products Society for “A Realistic and Continuous Wood Column Formula.”[citation needed] His contributions also included a range of other formulas and methods for calculation[35][36][37][38][39] These included papers on the use of computers in column design, systematic analysis of column design and wood frame construction issues[40][41][42] and a confirmation of the value of the cubic Rankine-Gordon method for shorter columns.[43] His work on structures also earned him an award from the American Society of Agricultural Engineers.[citation needed]


  • Neubauer, L. W.; Starr, G.; Melzer, B. (1980). "Temperature control by passive solar house design in California". Transactions of the ASAE. 23 (2): 0449–0457. 
  • Neubauer, L. W. (1972). "Orientation and insulation: model versus prototype". Transactions ASAE. 15 (4): 707–709. doi:10.13031/2013.37991. 
  • Neubauer, L. W. (1972). "Optimum alleviation of solar stress on model buildings". Transactions ASAE. 15 (1): 129–132. 
  • Neubauer, L. W. (1972). "Shapes and orientation of houses for natural cooling". Transactions ASAE. 15 (1): 126–128. 
  • Neubauer, L. W.; Cramer, R. D. (1968). "Effect of shape of building on interior air temperature". Transactions ASAE. 11 (4): 537–539. doi:10.13031/2013.39460. 
  • Neubauer, L. W.; Cramer, R. D. (1966). "Solar radiation control for small exposed houses". Transactions ASAE. 9 (2): 194, 195, 197. doi:10.13031/2013.39919. 
  • Neubauer, L. W.; Cramer, R. D. (1965). "Diurnal radiant exchange with the sky dome". Solar Energy. 9 (2): 95–103. doi:10.1016/0038-092x(65)90209-4. 
  • Neubauer, L. W.; Cramer, R. D. (1965). "Shading devices to limit solar heat gain but increase cold sky radiation". Transactions ASAE. 8 (4): 470–472, 475. doi:10.13031/2013.40552. 
  • Neubauer, L. W.; Cramer, R. D.; Laraway, M. (1964). "Temperature control of solar radiation on roof surfaces". Transactions ASAE. 7 (4): 432–434, 438. doi:10.13031/2013.40799. 
  • Cramer, R. D.; Neubauer, L. W. (1959). "Summer heat control for small homes". Transactions ASAE. 2 (1): 102, 103, 105. doi:10.13031/2013.41180. 
  • Cramer, R. D.; Neubauer, L. W. (1958). "Solar radiant gains through directional glass exposure". Heating, Piping, Air Conditioning. 30 (11): 155–62. 
  • Neubauer, L. W. (July 1958). "Control of solar radiation". California Agriculture: 9, 14. 
  • Neubauer, L. W.; Deering, R. B.; Kay, V. G. (1958). "Temperature control for houses". Journal of Home Economics. 50 (3): 175–184. 
  • Everson, G. J.; Neubauer, L. W.; Deering, R. B. (1956). "Environmental influence on orientation and house design to improve living comfort". Journal of Home Economics. 48 (3): 161–167. 


Neubauer married Lorraine Prentice in 1926. They had one daughter.[9]


  1. ^ "Descendants of Joseph MacLeod Rasey". 
  2. ^ "Annual Commencement, University of Minnestota. 1926. Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with Distinction" (PDF). p. 7. 
  3. ^ "Commencement Convocation: 1932" (PDF). University of Minnesota. p. 34. 
  4. ^ "Commencement Exercises: 1948" (PDF). University of Minnesota. p. 52. 
  5. ^ Agriculture Committee, Board of Regents, University of Minnesota. 1929. Minutes No. 4. Page 479. At a salary of $1575 per year.
  6. ^ Salaries Committee, Board of Regents, University of Minnesota. 1937. Minutes. No. 65. Page 559. Salary increased from $2200 to $2400.
  7. ^ Agriculture Committee, Board of Regents, University of Minnesota. 1936. Minutes No. 17. Page 138. LWN instructor without salary, granted leave to accept position with WPA.
  8. ^ Budget Committee, University of Minnesota. 1940. Minutes. No. 36. Page 416. Salary increased from $2400-$2500.
  9. ^ a b Garrett, Roger E.; Chancellor, William J.; Goss, John R.; O'Brien, Michael; Studer, Henry E. (1991). "In Memoriam: Loren. W. "Tod" Neubauer: Agricultural Engineering: Davis". University of California Academic Senate. 
  10. ^ a b c Buck, C (3 October 1981). "Loren Neubauer was checking sun energy long before it was fashionable". Sacramento Bee. p. CL6. 
  11. ^ Brooks, F. A. (1936). Solar Energy and its Use for Heating Water in California. Bulletin 602. Berkeley, CA.: University of California Agricultural Extension. 
  12. ^ Brooks, F. A.; Kelly, C. F.; Neubauer, L. W. (December 1960). Principles and parameters of solar energy collection and use. Winter Meeting ASAE. Memphis, Tenn. Paper No. 60-818. 
  13. ^ a b Living Systems. 1977. Davis Energy Conservation Report: Living with the Sun. City of Davis, Davis, CA. Living Systems staff including L.W. Neubauer.
  14. ^ Office of the State Architect. 1976. New State Office Building Site Number 1. Sacramento, CA. Living Systems consultants for this passive solar building, staff including L. W. Neubauer.
  15. ^ Neubauer, L. W. (1979). "Effect of window areas on energy use". Transactions of the ASAE. 22 (6): 1406–1408. doi:10.13031/2013.35220. 
  16. ^ Bainbridge, D. A. 1981. Award of Distinction: Loren W. Neubauer. 6th Passive Solar Conference, p. 18.
  17. ^ Neubauer, L. W.; Henderson, S. M.; Zscheile, F. P. (1970). "This rotating phytotron follows the sun". Journal of Agricultural Engineering. 51 (5): 282–5. 
  18. ^ Neubaeur, L. W.; White, H. B. (1931). Farmhouses. Agricultural Extension Special Bulletin. 142. University of Minnesota. 
  19. ^ Neubauer, L. W.; White, H. B.; Christopherson, C. H. (1937). The Farm Shop. Agricultural Extension Special Bulletin. 190. University of Minnesota. 
  20. ^ Neubauer, L. W. (March 1969). Southermation: heat control for farm buildings. Annual Meeting ASAE. Phoenix, Arizona. Paper No. PCR-69-117. 
  21. ^ Neubauer, L. W. (December 1960). "Roof overhang for farm buildings". California Agriculture: 12. 
  22. ^ Neubauer, L. W. (27 January 1956). House comfort in hot weather. Farm Structures Conference. 
  23. ^ Neubauer, L. W. 1955. House cooling in a warm dry climate. Progress Report No, 2 Calif. Project 1536. USDA Project W-8.
  24. ^ Neubauer, L. W. (1948). "Low cost housing for seasonal workers". 2–3. Western Fruit Grower: 59. 
  25. ^ Bond, T. E.; Neubauer, L.W.; Givens, R. L. (1976). "The influence of slope and orientation on effectiveness of livestock shades". Transactions of the ASAE. 19 (1): 134–137. doi:10.13031/2013.35981. 
  26. ^ White, H. B.; Neubauer, L. W. (1934). "Farm building costs and labor earnings". Agricultural Engineering. 15 (1): 16–17. 
  27. ^ Neubauer, L. W.; Hoyle, B. J. (1956). "Potato storage at Tulelake: study of five types of insulated wall construction". California Agriculture. 10 (6): 5–18. 
  28. ^ Neubauer, L. W.; Puri, Y. P.; Kucera, E. R. (November 1967). "Effect of relative humidity on Irish potatoes in storage". California Agriculture: 4–5. 
  29. ^ Neubauer, L. W.; Walker, H. B. (1961). Farm Building Design. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. 
  30. ^ Hayward, R. L. (1961). "Farm Building Design: book review". Agriculture Education Magazine. 34–5: 71. 
  31. ^ Neubauer, L. W. (1969). Modern adobe brick making. Pacific Coast Region convention, ASAE. Phoenix, AZ. PCR-69-112. 
  32. ^ Neubauer, L. W. (1955). Adobe Construction Methods : Using Adobe Brick or Rammed Earth (monolithic construction) for Homes. Agricultural Experiment Station and Extension Service. 
  33. ^ Neubauer, L. W. (1950) Rammed earth in the United States. Rammed Earth, Special Issue, Town and Country Planning Bulletin #4, United Nations, NY.
  34. ^ Neubauer, L.W.; Witzel, S. A. (1940). "Sawdust concrete test results". Agricultural Engineering. 21 (9): 363–366. 
  35. ^ Neubauer, L. W. (1975). "Efficiency of long tapered wood columns". Transactions of the ASAE. 18 (6): 1146–1150. doi:10.13031/2013.36757. 
  36. ^ Neubauer, L. W.; Arora, V. K. (1974). "Proposed strength formulas for wood box columns". Forest Products Journal. 24 (1): 31–35. 
  37. ^ Neubauer, L. W.; Hossain, Q. A. (1974). "Strength of wooden columns as affected by sill materials". Transactions ASAE. 17 (3): 526–529. doi:10.13031/2013.36899. 
  38. ^ Neubauer, L. W. (1973). "A realistic and continuous wood column formula". Forest Products Journal. 23 (3): 38–44. 
  39. ^ Neubauer, L. W. (1972). "Full-size stud tests confirm superior strength of square-end wood columns". Transactions ASAE. 15 (2): 346–349. 
  40. ^ Neubauer, L. W.; Goss, J. R.; Hudson, D. C. (1977). "Wood column design with variable parameters using computers and plotters". Forest Products Journal. 27 (4): 26–30. 
  41. ^ Neubauer, L. W. (1975). "Wood column design by systematic analysis". Transactions of the ASAE. 18 (6): 1151–1154. doi:10.13031/2013.36758. 
  42. ^ Neubauer, L. W.; Tekiel, O. (1966). "A More Efficient Column Formula for the Design of Wooden Posts and Studs". Transactions of the ASAE. 9 (6): 816–817. doi:10.13031/2013.40104. 
  43. ^ Neubauer, L. W. (1983). "Structural efficiency of CRG in wood column design formulas". Transactions of the ASAE. 27 (3): 849–852.