Building Operating Management

Energy Efficiency Challenge: Facility Workforce Development





In industry today, there is a monumental challenge with finding qualified, knowledgeable individuals that fill the current and future demand for a skilled facility workforce that can effectively assist owners and managers in preparing for and complying with the numerous pieces of energy-efficiency legislation in front of us. Across many fronts of industry, from a national level as well as from a state and regional basis, legislation involving carbon reduction targets as well as energy efficiency mandates is sweeping across the country. These new laws and requirements are being enacted faster than the facility workforce is being prepared for them.

    The corporate real estate industry has numerous silos, all working in different directions as it relates to implementing energy efficiency upgrades and programs. For example, despite the nearly one billion dollars handed to the investor-owned utilities (IOUs) yearly by rate payers in California towards implementing energy efficiency programs and incentives, the current data available shows that energy reduction efforts are not keeping pace with legislative targets thus far, nor do energy reduction projections paint a brighter outlook.  

    One cannot keep blaming owners for not completing low- or no-cost saving measures. In many cases, owners are just not provided with the proper information by qualified workers and employees that assures decision makers that energy efficiency upgrades will reduce costs. Many building operating professionals have never been exposed to nor been given the tools to be able to effectively speak the language of “energy efficiency.”

    Again using California as an example, and based on research conducted by the Western HVAC Performance Alliance (WHPA), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, and others, significant workforce gaps have been identified, which need to be filled in order to meet the state's zero net energy mandates (Assembly Bill 758) by 2020 and 2030.


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  posted on 12/29/2014   Article Use Policy

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