The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded NJIT $468,495 to create a comprehensive series of four courses to train and teach mechanical engineers in the New York Metropolitan Region how to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings. The NJIT Center for Building Knowledge, which thanks to its involvement with regional utilities and other state agencies has had much experience doing this kind of work, will organize and run the training sessions. Center Executive Director Deane M. Evans will be the project director.
"The problem for the past 30 years has been making new buildings more energy efficient," said Evans. "The good news is that during the past decade, the emphasis has turned to improving existing buildings. Hence there's a greater need for cleaner energy programs and we're here to rapidly and effectively turn out a new cohort of energy commissioning agents/auditors for this region. We expect these professionals will come to know how to run and tune building systems to achieve the full potential of energy efficient (and eventual net zero-energy) buildings."
Program goals include creating a comprehensive training toolkit; a train-the-trainer program, plans for marketing both certificate and other programs to engineering professionals and educators in the region.
Licensed engineers, architects and energy consultants - in the region who already have a strong base of knowledge and want to expand their services -are encouraged to participate. For more information about the program, contact Paul Romano, senior research architect at the NJIT Center, 973-596-3098, firstname.lastname@example.org
"If you are trained in this new area, you're going to see work," said Evans. "NY Metro is the nation's most populous metropolitan area and already has some of the nation's best-funded, comprehensive energy-efficient rebate/incentive programs."
The four courses will focus on practical ways to help energy professionals do the work of energy auditing, commissioning and retro-commissioning. Practicing engineers working in these three disciplines will check the progress. Because training is targeted toward professionals - and because it will be designed to "speak their language" and address their real-world concerns - the Center is confident that the material will be readily absorbed, and put to use. The Center will partner with an industry advisory group and Building Media Inc. to develop the courses.
Evans notes that since new building construction has slowed down, the federal government is being forced to take a look at older buildings. "This is all good," he said. "From an energy perspective, it makes sense to keep and improve an existing building."