Climate Action Plan Target 9

Current Status

In Progress

Activity In 2022

3 operators in the Houston region went through the Building Operator Certification (BOC) course offered by SPEER (South-central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource) last year.

Beyond 2022

SPEER is planning to hold 2 full courses this year (each course allows roughly 20 students). SPEER has offered this live program online since 2020, taught by approved instructors. The International Facility Management Association also offers the Certified Facility Manager (CFM) exam and study materials.

Future work to support tracking of this Target will include quantifying the number of buildings operated by a stationary engineer. In order to operate a high-pressure steam boiler within the City limits of Houston must have either a First, Second, or Third Grade Engineers License. Outside of the stationary engineer, no other certification/ credential is currently required for onsite building management in Houston.

What are the Benefits of Having Trained Building Operators?

To have more energy and water efficient buildings, we must have a workforce that is able to design, build, and operate these buildings as efficiently as possible. Our local educational and vocational institutions are great partners who can make additional training available throughout our community. Potential training opportunities include new and existing buildings efficiency, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) repair and maintenance, and high-performance building construction and design. As the market transforms and the demand for reducing GHG emissions increases, the need for trained building operators will continue to grow. Smart technologies, design characteristics, and complex systems are becoming standard components of buildings. When building systems are not operated efficiently or maintained effectively, energy and water loss can be quite high. Training building operators is a cost effective way for building owners to improve energy efficiency with savings averaging approximately $11,000 per year, or up to 20% of energy costs. This is leading to new career path opportunities for Houstonians as highly skilled—and highly paid—facility managers are needed to implement a strategic approach to building operations and maintenance that will achieve the desired performance levels. Across the city, technician training and apprentice programs offered by community colleges need to be expanded to make sure high-demand skills are locally available. Accredited facility management degree programs need to be added to our universities and educational institutions. Industry associations, such as South-central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource (SPEER) and BOMA, also provide a variety of certifications that develop professional expertise. There is opportunity to further grow these offerings to extend beyond the classroom to meet market needs. Developing performance-based training programs that combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction will enable individuals to learn a skilled trade (potentially in the areas of HVAC, electrician, solar installation, plumbing).

2022 Data Source