John Silkey

Every Engineer can be an Energy Superhero

Achieving deep energy efficiency in the built environment requires examining the relationship between people and buildings and the energy we consume. The same is required in how we train those tasked with operating buildings on a day to day basis. As part of the BetterBricks program established by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) and Tennessee Valley Authority’s Better Energy Management Campus Program, a new approach to training building operators and engineers was developed with the aim of providing functional capacity that empowers individuals and teams to manage their buildings proactively and diffusing these skills within portfolios and across the market. This team based training approach provides operators with a fresh perspective on their buildings by teaching them how their buildings are performing and how systems are interacting with each other. It teaches them how to identify the underlying causes of many common building symptoms, how to take a whole building approach to operations and maintenance decisions, and simple, easy to implement and cost-effective strategies to reduce energy consumption. Outside of savings achievements, the program has created a sense of “team” among engineers and the adoption of a “strike force” team approach to energy consumption across the entire portfolio. Further, ownership and management have shifted how they make capital decisions and in their hiring and performance evaluation practices. This session dissects the training program into its components, illustrating what makes it successful with engineers, operators and the firms they represent, and the methodology and mechanics of implementing a successful program.

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