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Workforce Accelerator - Completed

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Cost-effective energy efficiency upgrades in U.S. buildings could save $100 billion each year in energy bills. From 2020-2023, the Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator convened and supported more than 40 workforce partners from across the country working to raise the level of building science and energy efficiency knowledge in the nation’s building-related workforce. The Accelerator focused on activities that build interest, streamline career pathways, and improve skills. 

2023 Better Buildings Progress Report

To date, 900+ Better Buildings, Better Plants partners have saved more than 3.1 quadrillion Btu, saving more than $18.5 billion and 189 million metric tons of CO2.

Watch Recorded Webinars

Watch all previously recorded webinars in the On-Demand Webinars library sorted by popular topics such as resilience, zero energy buildings, and more.

Workforce Development Portal

DOE has collected resources, information, and other materials to help you address your workforce needs and take the next step toward an impactful career in energy efficiency.

Other Resources

Case Study

Roxbury Community College Center for Smart Building Technology Case Study

This case study explores how Roxbury Community College Center for Smart Building Technology partnered with PowerCorpsBOS to create a building operations pathway to train participants for jobs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in large buildings by maintaining building operations at peak efficiency.

NASEO: 2022 Report Case Study

The Markle-Eno-NASEO initiative developed the report, Realizing the Workforce Potential of Infrastructure Investments: State Strategies to Advance Job Quality and Build Inclusive Workforces in Transportation and Clean Energy, which outlines a framework of actionable strategies for state agencies to leverage federal funds for infrastructure workforce development.

NABTU: Apprenticeship Readiness Programs Case Study

North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), a labor organization for skilled craft professionals in the United States and Canada, prioritized incorporating sustainability curriculum into their training programs to give participants, especially pre-apprentices, the full breadth of the work in the construction space.

DOE Solar Decathlon Case Study

Explore how Solar Decathlon and U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office (BTO) are working to streamline and formalize post-secondary academic programs through DOE’s Zero Energy Design Designation (ZEDD).

IREC: National Clean Energy Workforce Alliance Case Study

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) partnered with the National Council for Workforce Education (NCWE) to launch the National Clean Energy Workforce Alliance to convene stakeholders and identify strategies to meet shared workforce challenges. 

DCSEU: Workforce Development Program Case Study

The District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) aims to build the District’s clean energy workforce and economy through its Workforce Development and Train Green programs while centering equity and opportunities for underrepresented communities.

IMT: Building Innovation Hub Case Study

The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) launched the Building Innovation Hub in Washington, DC to support the real estate community in meeting the District’s building performance standards and help the local workforce in participating in the clean energy economy. 

Lane Community College: Building Energy and Controls Apprenticeship Case Study

Lane Community College worked to establish the Building Energy and Controls Apprenticeship as a Registered Apprenticeship Program in Oregon, providing a streamlined pipeline of education, on-the-job training, and recognized credentials to participants in the building energy and controls field. 

Corps Network: Energy Efficiency Education Roadmap Case Study

The Corps Network (TCN) engaged with the BBWA for technical assistance to develop a roadmap of energy efficiency education and training models that can be replicated by Corps nationwide.

Earth Advantage: Sustainable Homes Professional Training Program Case Study

Earth Advantage expanded access to the existing Sustainable Homes Professional Training Program for Latinx contractors in the home retrofit industry.

NYSERDA: Roadtrip Nation Case Study

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) partnered with non-profit Roadtrip Nation to create a documentary series highlighting clean energy industries and career paths across the state.

City and County of Denver: Benefits of Electrification Case Study

The City and County of Denver engaged the Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator (BBWA) for Technical Assistance to create an educational webinar for HVAC contractors featuring resources for electric heat pump installation.

IREC: Clean Energy Clearinghouse Case Study

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) launched the Clean Energy Clearinghouse to serve as a collection of freely available resources for safety officials, enrich CEUbearing training, and amplify education on distributed energy resources (DERs).

NEEP: ReMaine Clean Energy Internship Program Case Study

This case study highlights Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership's (NEEP) participation in the Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator (BBWA) and explores their ReMaine Clean Energy Internship Program, which places entry-level candidates in 240-hour, paid internship positions with clean energy employers.

City of Milwaukee: Green Jobs Accelerator Case Study

This case study explores the City of Milwaukee's Green Jobs Accelerator program, which is a key component of their Climate and Equity Plan and focuses on building excitement for green jobs and careers, and clarifying training pathways.

NEEC: Building Operators: Grid and Occupant Training Case Study

This case study explores NEEC's Building Operator Certification program, which is a competency-based training and certification program for building engineers and maintenance personnel.

SEI: Building Leaders at HBCUs and Minority-Serving Institutions Case Study

This case study explores SEI's Climate Corps and Energize College programs, which were brought to five Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) on the East Coast. 

ASHE: HealQuest Program Case Study

This case study explores the American Society for Health Care Engineering's HealQuest program, which aims to identify sustainability opportunities, encourage behavior change, and promote accountability among healthcare staff members at their facilities.

Elevate: Diverse Electrification Contractor Accelerator Case Study

This case study explores how Elevate's Diverse Electrification Contractor Accelerator helped Sesenergi Eco Solutions Enterprise create and deliver a workforce training program called Sesenergi Solar Basics Course.

  • Technical Assistance Outcomes
    Technical Assistance (TA) from subject matter experts is available to Accelerator partners to support their workforce goals related to high-performance buildings and energy efficiency. TA projects are intended to fill a current need in energy efficiency education and workforce development and be both scalable and replicable for other organizations and stakeholders. Completed TA projects are available via links below.

    Deep Winter Greenhouse Operation Guide
    Ogema Organics, a partner organization of Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator partner Elevate, works to provide food security and food sovereignty for the community on the White Earth Reservation in Northern Minnesota. Ogema requested technical assistance for the design, construction, and operation of Deep Winter Greenhouses (DWGs), which optimize passive solar gain and thermal energy storage to grow crops in the winter with minimal combustion energy inputs. The University of Minnesota Extension, which developed the DWG concept, worked with Ogema to provide consulting and create a guide for ongoing DWG operations.

    Veterans Affairs Energy Engineers Working Group and the James A. Halley Veterans Administration
    The James A. Halley Veterans administration in Florida is part of a Veterans Affairs Energy Engineers Working Group. This group requested support in summarizing the roles and responsibilities of energy managers in VA hospitals specifically, including: federal energy and sustainability requirements for VA hospital facilities, education and certifications needed or recommended, and high level staffing recommendations. The Energy Engineers Working Group intends to use this Technical Assistance outcome to help with onboarding new staff, tracking requirements and recommended trainings, and making staffing decisions at local hospitals.

    Browning the Green Space with Elevate
    Elevate received Technical Assistance from Browning the Green Space in conducting focus groups with small and minority-owned businesses to understand best practices for creating respectful workplace environments. The deliverables include a Summary of Findings as well as the guide used in conducting the focus groups, which could be used to replicate these efforts further.

    Climate Action Kansas City, Inc and the Adoption of the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code Training
    Climate Action Kansas City, Inc (CAKC), a member organization with Elevate, requested technical assistance in providing training and education to local contractors related to the City of Kansas City, MO’s recent adoption of the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (EICC). The Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator connected CAKC with DOE’s Building Energy Codes Program (BECP), which offers this service to communities across the US. In Spring of 2023, BECP conducted a series of four webinars for local contractors. Click the links below to access the slide decks for each webinar.

    City and County of Denver: Benefits of Building Electrification
    Building on recent policy changes related to building electrification, the City and County of Denver’s Climate Action, Sustainability & Resiliency Office (CASR) requested support in the development of tools and resources to help educate contractors on the benefits and realities of installing and maintaining heat pump technologies. Steven Winter Associates worked with CASR to develop and deliver a 60-minute webinar on this topic. Click the links below to watch the webinar, view the slide deck, and supplemental resouce. 

    Respectful Workplace Practices For Blue-Collar Small Business Leaders
    Elevate requested support in developing resources to support small businesses in the clean energy space in creating and fostering respectful workplaces. For many companies, Human Resources (HR) departments or staff are often the primary driver for this, yet many small businesses have limited HR staff or support, and so achieving the same outcome requires unique practices. The Technical Assistance deliverable, developed by Zheng Consulting, includes a summary of key insights for small business leaders, a detailed list of best practices, and a set of Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to creating respectful workplaces.

    Northwest Energy Efficiency Council’s Building Operator Certification Program DEI Analysis
    Northwest Energy Efficiency Council (NEEC) requested support in evaluating its Smart Building Center’s Building Operator Certification (BOC) training and certification program’s diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) within the context of participant recruitment and success. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) was tasked with analyzing demographics of prior participants over a ten-year period including gender, military and veteran status, social vulnerability factors, and environmental health risk. View results of that initial DEI as well as step-by-step guidance on repeating and updating the analysis, and recommendations for future data collection and analysis.

    Clean Energy Education and Training Resources and Opportunities in New York's Southern Tier Region
    The Network for a Sustainable Tomorrow (NEST) requested technical assistance in conducting a landscape and needs assessment of existing clean energy education and workforce development assets in New York's Southern Tier Region. This report includes a baseline of clean energy employment data for the region, an inventory and gap analysis of the education and workforce development assets currently available and serving the region, and case studies of innovative and successful regional clean energy education and workforce coalitions from around the county.

    Strategies and Approaches for Developing Hands-On Training for Cold Climate Heat Pumps
    The International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology (ICAST) requested technical assistance to support the development and implementation of their cold climate heat pump curriculum hands-on training program. This report offers a step-by step-overview of the process for developing a new workforce development and hands-on training program in a new region; outlines resources to help understand the market; and details practices to effectively recruit, train, and connect people to HVAC jobs installing cold climate heat pumps.

    Education, Training, and Career Pathway Opportunities for Building Energy Efficiency Programs Within the Corps Network
    The Corps Network requested technical assistance from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to support Corps organizations involved in—or interested in developing—programs related to energy efficiency in buildings. The goal of this project is to provide industry-recognized energy efficiency education/training models and resources that can be tailored and replicated by Corps across the country, and which can best prepare Corps members to enter the energy efficiency workforce when they complete their terms of service.

    Workforce Development Program Best Practices
    As part of the Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator program, the City of Milwaukee had access to technical assistance, where they were able to work alongside University of Nebraska, Lincoln, to develop this report. The report summarizes best practices and case studies in workforce development programs to recruit, train and employ underserved and underrepresented populations. The report also outlines a prospectus business plan with recommendations for an offsite construction training program.   

    Evolving Role of Energy Managers in Health Care Facilities
    What is the role of an Energy Manager? How has it changed over time? In this webinar designed by Frontier, the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) will discuss the essential skills of an energy manager, the growing importance of the role, and future trends for Health Care Energy Managers.

    Energy & Environmental Building Alliance - High Performance Homes
    An educational offering from EEBA to learn what zero energy and zero net energy for homes are, and why it is important. This webinar will cover general approaches to be zero energy, as well as recap California’s zero net energy approach and the important lessons learned.

    Energy & Environmental Building Alliance - Zero Energy Homes Design
    An educational offering from EEBA that aims to provide a clearer understanding of key concepts of zero energy homes, and discuss how the different definitions of zero energy, impact design strategies and performance. In the webinar, EEBA examines the direction of zero energy homes in markets like California and focuses discussion around identified key challenges in designing zero energy homes.

    Energy & Environmental Building Alliance - Isolation Zones in Homes
    An educational offering from EEBA discussing the approaches for effective isolation space control to minimize airborne transmission of contaminants in residential homes.

    Energy & Environmental Building Alliance - Mechanical Ventilation
    An educational offering from EEBA, this presentation will cover problems and solutions for residential whole-house mechanical ventilation systems (WHMV). Research has shown that homes intended to have WHMV are often under-ventilated, and this webinar will focus on areas of importance on the subject matter like design, measurement, and verification.

    Developing a LEED Credit Roadmap for the Indoor Air Quality Credit
    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory was tasked by the USGBC to develop a LEED Credit Roadmap (LCR) for one specific LEED credit offering to establish a process for identifying the technical skills required to earn this LEED credit. This report summarizes the methods taken to construct the LCR and offers a visual depiction of the process and a rubric for evaluating gaps between skills needed and existing courses offered.

    Energy Efficiency Assessment for a Microgrid Community
    Through IREC’s participation in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator, the Cooperativa and IREC requested technical assistance to support this microgrid project. Staff from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) were selected to conduct a comprehensive energy efficiency assessment for the commercial buildings to maximize the impact of the solar PV microgrid. The report also focuses on deploying information on energy and cost savings for educating business owners, and a building assessment checklist tool for use in working with university students to collect data for analysis.

    RECENT BLOGS

    Workforce Accelerator December 2021 Partner Meeting Report-Out December 17, 2021
    The 2021 December Partner meeting featured updates from the Intersrare Renewable Energy Council on the launch of the National Clean Energy Workforce, Northwest Energy Efficiency Council new building operations certification program, and National Renewable Energy Laboratory JUMP into STEM program.

    Workforce Accelerator Report-Out From the 2021 Summit July 7, 2021
    The 2021 Summit featured two sessions with speakers from the Accelerator, who shared how they used the Accelerator to further their goals in the energy efficiency workforce and thought leadership.

    New Online Resources to Support U.S. Green Building Workforce April 30, 2021
    Select Accelerator partners shared deliverables focused on green building career development and advancement during their quarterly call.

    The Latest from the Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator December 22, 2020
    Workforce Accelerator partners provided updates on the progress toward their goals at their first quarterly meeting.

    Workforce Accelerator Partners Set Big Goals at Kick Off October 2, 2020
    DOE kicked off its workforce development efforts with its first partner meeting where participants discussed their goals and focus areas. 

     

Partners

  • American Association of Blacks in Energy & Jonah Cooper LLC
    American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE)
    ASHRAE: American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers
    Association of Energy Engineers (AEE)
    Auburn University Rural Studio
    Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International
    Building Performance Association
    Coalfield Development
    Confluence Communications
    CUNY: The City University of New York
    D.C. Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU)
    Elevate (formerly Elevate Energy)
    Emerald Cities Collaborative
    Energy & Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA)
    Greenwork
    Home Builders Institute
    Institute for Market Transformation
    International Facility Management Association (IFMA)
    International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT)
    Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC)
    Lane Community College
    Longmont, CO
    Mississippi Development Authority
    National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO)
    National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC)
    National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)
    Network for a Sustainable Tomorrow (NEST)
    New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)
    North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU)
    Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP)
    Northwest Energy Efficiency Council (NEEC)
    Roxbury Community College
    Strategic Energy Innovations
    The Corps Network
    The Solar Foundation - Puerto Rico
    U.S. Green Building Council
    Urban Green Council
    Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Energy Engineer Advisory Board
  • Alabama

    Auburn University Rural Studio

    Colorado

    Longmont, CO

    District Of Columbia

    D.C. Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU)
    Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International
    Institute for Market Transformation
    U.S. Green Building Council
    Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Energy Engineer Advisory Board

    Massachusetts

    Roxbury Community College
    Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP)

    Mississippi

    Mississippi Development Authority

    New York

    New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)
    Urban Green Council
    CUNY: The City University of New York

    West Virginia

    Coalfield Development

    Virginia

    National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO)

    Georgia

    ASHRAE: American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers
    Association of Energy Engineers (AEE)

    Illinois

    American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE)
    Elevate (formerly Elevate Energy)

    Texas

    International Facility Management Association (IFMA)

    Wisconsin

    Washington

    Northwest Energy Efficiency Council (NEEC)

    Puerto Rico

    The Solar Foundation - Puerto Rico

    Oregon

    Lane Community College