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.
This fact sheet highlights key takeaways and resources from a Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator workshop, focused on more effectively meeting the needs of trainees, partners, and other stakeholders by aligning goals and objectives with evaluation metrics.
Identifying the most valuable insights and resources from the Workforce Accelerator Career Pathways Workshop in November of 2022, this factsheet helps present ways to support green building trainers and employers in understanding, developing, and communicating career pathways to their trainees and stakeholders.
This Fact Sheet introduces the goals of the Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator, the importance of the energy efficiency workforce in buildings, and the benefits of becoming a partner.
A key factor in building interest and awareness around green buildings careers is reaching and engaging with students early on, from kindergarten through high school. This fact sheet from the Workforce Accelerator summarizes best practices and valuable resources to help green building trainers and employers connect meaningfully to K-12 students and educators.
Through the Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator, DOE engages industry partners in activities that build interest and awareness, streamline pathways, and improve skills for people pursuing green building careers. This fact sheet distills valuable insights and resources from a peer exchange call on the topic of supporting green building trainers and employers in reaching, onboarding, and retaining a diverse workforce.
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.
- Kick-Off Event
- Commercial Energy Code Basics
- Digging Into IECC vs. ASHRAE
- Mechanical and Electrical Considerations
- Using ComCheck and Advanced Energy
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.
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.