Building operators to be trained in energy efficiency

The U.S.government is putting more effort and money into ensuring that increased energy efficiency becomes a standard in commercial construction and building maintenance.

In an aggressive move to support President {Barack} Obama's Better Buildings Initiative, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) announced that they would be developing three Centers for Building Operations Excellence throughout the country at a total cost $1.3 million.

The centers will develop training programs to educate building operators on how to be more energy efficient. The goals of these initiatives is to increase energy efficiency in commercial buildings and new construction by 20 percent before the end of the decade.

"Improving energy efficiency in business and manufacturing is critical for helping American businesses keep costs down and stay competitive in the global economy," Secretary of Energy Steve Chu said in a statement.

The collaboration between the DOE and the DOC will incorporate universities, labs and trade associations in developing better habits and implementing overhauls to propel the current upward trend of energy-efficient building and maintenance.

The three locations were chosen through a competitive grant application process. The Corporation for Manufacturing Excellence in California will partner with Laney College to develop one of the new facilities, while another in Pennsylvania will be a collaboration between three area universities and the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center. A third facility will be developed through the New York State Department of Economic Development.

Commercial inspections involving energy audits are one way for business owners and building managers to bring down energy costs. New technology and better practices have made it easier than ever for a business to embrace energy efficiency.