WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Commerce announced selections for three Centers for Building Operations Excellence that will receive a total of $1.3 million to create and deploy programs aimed at training and expanding current and incoming building operators. The Centers are part of the Obama Administration’s Better Buildings Initiative, which is working to improve the energy efficiency of America’s commercial buildings 20 percent by 2020 with the potential to reduce American business’ energy bills by approximately $40 billion per year.

“Improving energy efficiency in business and manufacturing is critical for helping American businesses keep costs down and stay competitive in the global economy,” said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. “The first step is ensuring we have well-trained buildings and facilities operators that know how to boost building performance and keep commercial facilities from wasting energy.”

The three Centers for Building Operations Excellence will work with universities, local community and technical colleges, trade associations, and the Energy Department’s national laboratories to build training programs that provide commercial building professionals with the critical skills they need to optimize building efficiency while reducing energy waste and saving money. The DOE and Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technologies’ Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP) are jointly funding the Centers.

“These federal grants are an example of the Obama Administration’s commitment to investing in cutting-edge, job-creating technologies that save money and improve energy efficiency as part of an all-of-the above approach to American energy,” said Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank. “These Centers will help ensure that American workers have the skills they need to remain globally competitive in a 21st century economy.”

The Centers for Building Operations Excellence, chosen through a competitive grants process, utilize multi-organization partnerships and support from local and state governments. The selected Centers are:

  • The Corporation for Manufacturing Excellence in California, partnering with Laney College and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 39.
  • Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center in Pennsylvania, partnering with Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania College of Technology, and Drexel University.
  • New York State Department of Economic Development in New York, partnering with City University of New York and Rochester Institute of Technology.

The Better Buildings Initiative program creates opportunities for current and future facilities staff of all levels to obtain valuable skills that support a clean energy economy. Specifically, the funding announced today will help the three Centers develop curricula and pilot training programs for building operators, managers and energy service providers, focusing on building re-tuning, energy management, and building operations in commercial, industrial, and educational buildings. The training will outline steps building operators can take to reduce energy consumption, save money and drive continuous improvement in a broad range of commercial buildings.

To learn more about the Better Buildings Initiative, visit http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/betterbuildings/. To learn more about NIST MEP’s work to support manufacturers nationwide, visit www.nist.gov/mep