Since it began teaching green courses in 2005, the Building Service 32BJ Thomas Shortman Training, Scholarship and Safety Fund — a labor-management partnership founded in 1971 — has helped to green New York City''s buildings by providing extensive training to building service professionals who are members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ.
And with a new program — 1 Year: 1,000 Green Supers — the Thomas Shortman Training, Scholarship and Safety Fund will expand its reach and increase its impact.
The aim of the new program, which is set to launch this fall, is to train at least 1,000 superintendents, resident managers and handypersons to be energy-efficient building operators certified by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Building Performance Institute Inc. (BPI).
According to Linda Nelson, director of the Building Service 32BJ Thomas Shortman Training, Scholarship and Safety Fund, the training program covers the building''s envelope, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, water usage, lighting and indoor air quality (IAQ).
"We''re well on our way, even though the 1 Year: 1,000 Green Supers program has not even been launched yet," states Nelson. "We already have commitments from some of the largest property management firms in New York City, amounting to several hundred superintendents."
Nelson adds that she is confident more management firms will begin sending their superintendents for training and certification by the time the training program''s first classes begin.
Training By Trained Trainers
All of the instructors who administer the training course are certified Multifamily Building Operators by the Building Performance Institute Inc., which is recognized by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
Having qualified individuals teaching those attending courses ensures that each superintendent acquires the knowledge and skills needed to pass the certification exam.
Of the workers who have taken certification exams thus far, 87 percent have passed, meaning those workers have returned to their facilities with a wealth of green knowledge and insight ready to implement what they have learned.
"To help these trainees convert their expertise into practice, we have included training on developing a ‘green'' business plan," explains Nelson. "By including planning and implementation in this largely technical training program, the program provides superintendents with the full set of skills they need to make their buildings green."
Though the focus of the program is the New York City area, plans are in the works to expand training to SEIU 32BJ members in Connecticut, New Jersey and Washington.
Just as the reach of the program is expanding, the content has expanded as well.
"In just four years, our program has grown from one course offering with no certification to five full-fledged green buildings courses of 35 or more hours — four of which have industry recognized certifications," notes Nelson.
The program, which is funded by employers and hopes to provide superintendants the skills necessary to bring their jobs, their occupations and their buildings into the 21st century in terms of energy efficiency, has the potential to benefit all of society.
The Building Performance Institute Inc. certification is a credential that superintendants can take with them wherever they go in their careers.
For owners, managers, tenants and even the public, the 1 Year: 1,000 Green Supers program makes sure that buildings are cutting costs, reducing energy use and limiting the damage to our environment by promoting sustainability.