MN. Training Plan Report by Hertzog/Wheeler Assoc, U of MN; Center for Sustainable Building Research. Sponsored by the MN: Office of Energy Security

Here is an excerpt of the MN. Training Plan Report by Hertzog/Wheeler Assoc, U of MN; Center for Sustainable Building Research which was sponsored by the MN: Office of Energy Security. Included is the “Conclusions and Recommendations of Training Needs for Design Professionals.

……………………where education and training were needed. Existing training programs were then surveyed to identify courses that already address these needs as well as identify the major gaps where new programs may need to be developed.


Currently within the building delivery process, the creation of highly energy-efficient buildings is a very difficult outcome to achieve. There are many barriers, and many of these barriers are cultural or informational, rather than technological. Since energy costs are still relatively low, owners perceive little cause to ask for high degrees of energy efficiency in their buildings.
Architects, who are usually not requested to design very efficient buildings, are generally not familiar with the methods that would be required to achieve this result. Because of the lack of knowledge they are unable to communicate the benefits of energy efficiency to owners as a part of their typical role of client education. The result in the field is that very few buildings are built that significantly exceed the basic requirements of the existing energy code. There are usually few safeguards to confirm that energy systems are installed and calibrated as designed.
Finally, building operators are not generally familiar with techniques that ensure optimum
system operation for energy efficiency.
During the summer of 2010, the Center for Sustainable Building Research (CSBR) at the
University of Minnesota conducted a survey of twenty randomly selected architectural firms to determine their knowledge of energy-efficient design techniques. The questions were developed following interviews with experts in the field of energy efficiency, and a literature search.
The results show that architects are interested in providing efficient buildings, but lack the
methods to adequately describe to owners the benefit of doing so. Most also lack some of the basic tools required to complete the task, like energy modeling performed early and often in the design process. The lack of demand from owners means that architects are effectively prevented from spending the resources necessary to arrive at an optimal design solution.
However it is the traditional role of architects to inform their clients about the value of other design features, so it is reasonable to speculate that they could similarly educate owners about the value of energy efficiency, if given the proper tools.


6. Focus on two key leverage points that are obstacles to achieving energy efficient design and are not addressed comprehensively in existing training programs. Develop pilot training courses in these areas.
a. Information must be provided to building owners and operators of the true costs
and benefits of energy efficient design. This means educating building owner groups
in a broad sense as well as training designers in selling these benefits to clients (Best
Practice 1).
b. Early and iterative energy modeling must be seamlessly integrated during the design
process to truly understand the impacts of design decisions on energy before
designs are finalized and cannot be changed. This means training designers in both
the process and tools required to achieve this goal (Best Practice 4).
7. In developing the pilot training courses in these two Best Practice areas, conduct more in-depth research on the core competencies needed and the ability of existing courses to
provide some of the content required. Develop training offerings that provide a
comprehensive overview of approaches and resources to these critical areas while giving
practical tools and information that can be directly applied in the office.
8. Identify the best delivery system for the pilot training courses. Barriers to participation such as costs, class schedules, or class locations will be identified. Preliminary indications are online courses, webinars, and tools available at the desktop will be most desirable to the user and effective at reaching large numbers of users. This activity also involves partnering with the key user groups of the information such as AIA, ASHRAE, USGBC, BOMA, IFMA and others.
9. Develop a knowledge base that is a one-stop shop for education of professionals in energy efficient design. This prototype should be created and tested with design professionals to gather feedback as to whether this tool/method of knowledge delivery is appropriate, convenient and effective. For those core competencies that are currently addressed by training, we will create a website that directs users to those providers. In addition, this website will describe the entire Best Practices framework, with links to a variety of resources. Since many architects express an interest in talking to other professionals about their best practices, the knowledge base could include a strong user-developed content component. Here energy experts could share information about new and developing methods and technologies. This function would allow many experts to construct knowledge Minnesota Training Plan for Building Designers and Operators on the web site in a fashion similar to Wikipedia. This could take the form of a forum,
newsgroup, wiki, or other models as appropriate.
10. Use the two pilot training programs and knowledge base described above as foundational pieces in moving toward a comprehensive certificate program in energy efficient design. A certificate will be given after successful completion of the initial courses. Eventually a more comprehensive certificate program could represent a diversity of levels of expertise
(Building Energy Expert 1, Building Energy Expert 2, etc), and extend to broader programs that acknowledge advanced training across a variety of course material. Subjects like the Integrated Design Process would be candidates for this type of certification, since it is a complex subject that requires training in multiple areas.
9. Existing Building Energy Efficiency Best Practices Model
The goal of Energy-Efficient Building Operation is to be able to claim that, on a day-to-day basis,the building uses only as much energy as is necessary to perform its intended function. In order to make and sustain this claim, the building management must have an ongoing process in place that is based upon acknowledging the following well-documented facts:
1. Energy-consuming devices can use more energy than necessary to perform their intended function.
Numerous studies and the experience of energy-efficiency practitioners consistently show
that most buildings waste 10-25% of the energy that they purchase.

• Equipment malfunctions
• Sub-optimal equipment maintenance
• Control malfunctions
• Sub-optimal use of existing controls

2. Excess energy use can go undetected
Many energy-wasting equipment malfunctions are not self-announcing and few “typical”
operations and maintenance tasks are specifically designed to detect and eliminate
unnecessary energy consumption.

Responding to comfort complaints, repairing equipment breakdowns and performing
typical preventive maintenance tasks do not ensure energy-efficient operation.
Model Energy-Efficient Building Operations Process

Any process designed to minimize excess energy use in buildings must be able to make the
following claims:
a) We know which energy-consuming devices or systems are most vulnerable to excess
energy use.
b) We have identified the diagnostic tasks necessary to detect excess energy use.
c) We have scheduled the performance to these tasks on a frequency appropriate to the
magnitude and probability of excess energy use.
d) We have assigned these tasks to people with the time, tools and training to perform
e) We have supervisors in place to ensure that the work is performed.
f) We have the capability to quickly correct any significant energy-wasting malfunctions
Any facility manager who can make these claims can reasonably assert that their building is using only as much energy as is necessary to perform its intended function…has a sustainable Energy-Efficient Building Operations Process in place.
This is the Model Energy-Efficient Building Operations Process up to which the work of various interviewed parties was held.”

There are a lot of parallel intentions for architects and engineers. RRPI believes there’s more to be said for an integrated analytic center as well as integrated energy management training. Co-incidentally RRPI has many of these recommendations prior to the report….was the report necessary? Absolutely……….. it also represents a front on education uniformity that we continually espouse.

Happy reading compliments of these fine partners and the Public Domain access.

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