Bringing Facilities and Building Managers into the Energy Efficiency Fold

Many of you may already be participating in Green Madison programs and events, either by playing Cool Choices, or by getting involved with home energy assessments and weatherization projects. Another very important part of Green Madison is happening behind the scenes – a series of in-person trainings for City of Madison facilities and building maintenance professionals!

GreenMadisonBuildingsBuildings in Madison are by far the city’s biggest consumers of energy, and the City of Madison is doing its share to address energy consumption in its own buildings and leading by example. The city is making sure our facilities and buildings managers have access to leading information and technology to make good choices and proactive updates to the city’s buildings. The Facility and Energy Management Leadership Academy is providing these educational opportunities.

City Facilities and Sustainability Initiatives manager Jeanne Hoffman, along with the Green Madison consultant team member The Brendle Group, just held their fourth training last week, focusing on how to increase engagement and awareness of energy issues with staff and other building occupants. While the city can make updates and retrofits to improve energy conservation in their buildings, it is also up to building occupants to make smart decisions while at work.

Rapid Improvement Associates’ Warren Gaskill joined the training to discuss how to use their platform Energy Stewards to track their building’s energy use over time and to compare it to others in their industries. Awareness and understanding, he said, are the first steps to taking action, and there are now many ways to monitor and tell stories about a building’s energy use. The city’s lead Organizational Development and Training manager, Karl van Lith, also spoke to the group about strategies to encourage professional development related to energy and building efficiency. This includes a focus on training and certification opportunities for city employees.

Cool Choices’ Raj Shukla joined the training to introduce the online game and use it to discuss wider implications of employee engagement and action. “For people between the ages of about 18 and 30, 96 percent want to work for a company that cares about sustainability,” Shukla told the crowd of about 25 city workers. “It’s in the city’s interests to get folks engaged and take advantage of the interest in this.”

Over the past few months, participants have learned about Green Madison and the responsibility that buildings have to reduce energy use, benchmarking platforms that track energy use like EnergyCAP and Energy Stewards, and the building assessment process available to them. A number of them – including city fire stations, park facilities, and libraries – have already scheduled assessments. The next step is to figure out what the city’s buildings need and how to access those resources and start saving energy and money. This growing network of engaged energy stewards are going to be leading the charge for reducing the city’s energy consumption for years to come.