BOMA introduces e-Energy training courseWritten by John Gilson Friday, 17 September 2010 18:21
The Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada (BOMA Canada) announced the national launch of “e-Energy Training for Building Operations”, an online course teaching building operators and engineers how to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in commercial and institutional buildings.
The course aims to raise the energy-efficiency awareness and competencies of operations personnel in the estimated 440,000 commercial and institutional buildings across Canada, according to BOMA. Those buildings (which include commercial office space, retail and wholesale businesses, hospitals, schools, universities, hotels and government buildings) comprise approximately 672 million square meters of floor space, and account for 14% of national end-use energy consumption and 13% of Canada’s carbon emissions.
Between 1990 and 2005, energy use in the sector increased almost 34% in Canada, while carbon emissions increased 37%. According to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), improving operational practices and implementing energy retrofits in commercial and institutional buildings reduces associated energy consumption by an average of 20%.
BOMA Canada President Diana Osler Zortea believes the e-Energy training will help the Canadian commercial real estate industry remain competitive and protect the environment.
“We are very pleased to offer this online training to businesses, organizations and agencies across Canada, especially in an economy where spending any more than absolutely necessary on comfortably heating, cooling and lighting your buildings is simply not an option,” said Zortea. “We believe that this training will provide remarkable value in helping to ensure that building operators and engineers remain educated, aware and proactive in their approach to reducing energy costs and GHG emissions.”
The training is offered in both French and English and begins with an overview of basic energy management principles such as metering and billing. BOMA says it then teaches specific practical skills to operations personnel (in subjects such as lighting, HVAC and controls optimization), which can be used in their day-to-day operations. The course also presents operators with strategies to influence building occupants’ energy consumption behaviour and tips on how to best “sell” the benefits of capital projects, such as energy retrofits to management.
BOMA says the format of the course is specifically tailored to the needs of building operators, whose work requires that they remain on-site during the day. The course requires approximately 30 hours of study, which can be spread out over several months. It can be taken during work hours when time permits or remotely from home.
The response to the course (which has been available in British Columbia since the end of 2007) has so far been overwhelmingly positive, added BOMA, earning an overall satisfaction rating of 94% among operator participants. As well, tests taken before and after the course showed a 28% improvement in the trained operators’ ability to both identify energy savings opportunities and implement energy efficiency measures.
Content and delivery of the e-Energy course, which costs $750 per participant, was produced by BC firms Prism Engineering and Circle Learning with extensive input from a team of experienced building operators. To date, the course has helped almost 100 businesses and organizations in BC save on their utility costs and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. BOMA BC secured funding from the BC government and local utilities for the initial version of the course in 2007. In 2010, the Ontario Power Authority and NRCan provided major funding to enhance the course and ensure the course content is applicable across Canada in both official languages.
To learn more about e-Energy Training and to register for the course, visit www.BOMALEARNING.com.