Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.
EMAIL INTERVIEW – Mathieu Côte and Ken Sinclair
Côte, MBA, PMP, BEP is Director at the Canadian Institute for Energy Training (CIET), the Training Division of Econoler,
a Canadian consulting firm specialized in energy efficiency with 35 years of international experience.
Sinclair: Why would you say that training building operators is an important part of achieving energy savings results?
A lot of efforts, time and money has been spent across Canada (and
elsewhere) to train engineers in the field of energy efficiency.
Experience has shown, however, that achieving, but most of all,
maintaining and improving energy savings over time requires more than
just knowledge; it requires buy-in from each and every person involved.
Too often, energy managers will come up with a very good energy
retrofit idea, with great return on investment (ROI), but the project
will not be implemented or will fail either because there is no buy-in
from top management or there is no commitment from those who really
operate the equipment on a daily basis.
Sinclair: So is this gap more present in existing buildings or in new construction too?
The input from building operators is just as important in both new
construction or existing buildings, but the issues can be different.
What we hear a lot from clients is that they have designed their
building efficiently, maybe even LEED-Gold or LEED-Platinum, but that
it is clearly not operating as such. Design and operation are two
extremely different things and paying a premium to have a building
management system (BMS) or fancy controls, does not guarantee that the
building will consume less energy. If the people working in the
mechanical rooms do not understand, care or believe in energy
efficiency and just put all controls at maximum 24/7, then the building
owner is both wasting a lot of money on energy and also wasted money
buying variable speed drives or high-tech controls.
Sinclair: What kind of savings can be achieved by increasing capacity of the building operators?
It obviously depends on where you start. If the building operators in a
given building are merely janitors or watchmen, then you have more to
gain, but also more work ahead of you. Several impact assessment
studies have been carried on the impact of having one person certified
Building Operator Certification (BOC) in a building and results are
upward of $7,000 annually. At CIET we strongly believe that investing
in your staff and in increasing their knowledge and capacity in energy
efficiency is the best investment you can make. Compared to
replacement of a chiller, a skilled building operator or energy
manager will be able to come with new ideas on a continuous basis.
Sinclair: Considering the relatively high turnover of staff performing operation and maintenance and building operation-related tasks, how would training become a retention factor?
Definitely, in 2015, companies that are successful in reducing their
turnover are those which can make their employees feel part of
something, be it a corporate mission, a social cause or a very dynamic
or efficient team. Some of our clients have been champions at bringing
everyone in the company, from the CEO to lower positions, to really be
passionate about reducing energy consumption again and again. It can
become a fun game too! It is a relatively simple way to have your staff
work together in the same direction: a lower energy bill.
Building Operator Certification (BOC) training program.
CIET is the exclusive
Canadian provider of the Building Operator Certification (BOC) as well as for all certification programs of the
Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), including the Certified
Measurement and Verification Professional (CMVP) and the Certified
Energy Manager (CEM).
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