Victor Nazario speaks at the 1,000 Green Supers graduation ceremony in New York City. | Courtesy of SEIU32BJ

Earlier this week, Secretary Chu delivered the graduation address for the Green Supers program in New York City. The 40-hour program teaches building superintendents everything they need to know about green building operations and maintenance.

Victor Nazario, part of this first class of graduates who also spoke at the ceremony, said he started off with a general understanding of what that meant, but was shocked to find out how easy some of the techniques turned out to be.

“I was always under the impression that these techniques were very expensive,” Victor said. “It’s just time, it’s just dedication, and just applying it.”

And listening to Secretary Chu’s speech provided additional encouragement to work greener by adding the empirical evidence that back up his efforts -- like the fact that 45 percent of NYC’s energy consumption comes from large buildings alone.

“I saw him not just as one of the leaders, but also a scientist,” Victor said.

The 1,000 Green Supers program is part of the Thomas Shortman Training Fund, which is cosponsored by SEIU Local 32BJ and the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations. The fund offers training to 80,000 32BJ members working in the property service industry, including those participating in the 1,000 Green Supers effort.

Victor noted that the course was essential for the industry, because he thinks anyone lacking knowledge of the greening process will be irrelevant within five years.

“As a long time superintendent, we are building doctors. So just like ER doctors and lawyers have to go to training every year, we, too, have to continue training ourselves,” he said.

And for Victor, it’s not just about greener practices and techniques. It’s about making life better for the people who live in his building. The coursework covers air movement, indoor environmental quality, water and air flow leak detection, and energy benchmarking.

In the end, learning how easy the greening process could be has transformed being a superintendent for Victor. It’s no long just a job, now it’s a purpose.

“I had no idea it would be this important and have the infusion of joy and energy in my chose profession,” he said.