Energy Department Announces Availability of Online Training Course on "Re-tuning" Commercial Buildings
March 05, 2012
The U.S. Department of Energy today announced the availability of an online training course to help building owners, operators, contractors, and students "re-tune" commercial buildings. Building operators can re-tune their facilities to improve energy efficiency by first collecting and analyzing data from their buildings' automation systems to identify energy-wasting operational problems. They can then adjust their automated control systems to correct inefficiencies at low or no cost, saving them money on their energy bills. Part of the Department's Commercial Building Re-tuning Project, this online training started through a five-year pilot program, and has already provided classroom instruction and field training to more than 300 commercial building operators, engineers, and energy managers from more than 30 organizations. Organizations that have utilized this training include Efficiency Vermont, the City of Denver, the City College of New York, Control Technologies, Inc., and Johnson Controls Inc.
Commercial buildings, which use about 20% of the energy consumed in the United States, waste up to 30% of that energy through improper and inefficient operations. Most large commercial buildings use building automation systems to operate heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and other components, but frequently these automated systems aren't properly commissioned or operated, resulting in costly inefficiencies. By analyzing data from specific building systems, building operators are able to identify inefficiencies and re-tune their facilities by implementing corrective actions that typically reduce energy use of building systems by 5 to 20%.
This re-tuning course benefits on-site employees responsible for day-to-day building operations, off-site contractors, including retro-commissioning agents or control vendors hired to improve a building's energy efficiency, and college students studying building sciences and operations, who are interested in entering the commercial building industry. The training currently focuses on large commercial buildings greater than 100,000 square feet, but the concepts and techniques presented during the course can be applied to any type and size of facility equipped with a building automation system. Learn more about the online commercial buildings re-tuning course.
The online course is already being used by a number of industry partners, and will soon be available on the Energy Department's National Training Educational Resource (NTER) portal.
NTER is designed to revolutionize how online training and education is created, shared and delivered. The NTER system—a free, interactive, and open-source tool that can lower the cost of training for employees and students—acts as a warehouse of workforce training courses and content for federal agencies, universities, colleges and commercial organizations. The system enables both public and private organizations to create and control their own collection of educational content—allowing them to share the content broadly with the public or maintain it securely, depending on how the system is configured. NTER provides participating organizations with access to a global network of resources, helping to significantly expand access to workforce training and development opportunities, while reducing the costs associated with creating high quality online training materials.
The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Learn more about EERE's support of building technologies. For additional information, visit the Commercial Building Re-tuning Project website.