The Tri-County Regional Energy Network is dedicated to a continued understanding of the energy efficiency workforce on the Central Coast to grow, diversify, and upskill the region’s workers. To this end, 3C-REN in partnership with In Balance Green Consulting established the Higher Performance Building on the Central Coast series. This series began by looking at strategies to address how to design and build for safety, health, and cost savings on the Central Coast while moving to electric construction. Being well connected to the masterminds who educate much of the energy efficiency industry on the Central Coast, 3C-REN interviewed Andy Pease, Principal at In Balance Green Consulting about local workforce education and the importance of bringing series like Higher Performance Building on the Central Coast to the region. We asked the following:
What are the gaps you have identified when working with the energy efficiency industry? How did you make the Higher Performance Building Series accessible to the tri-county workforce?
The building industry is notoriously reluctant to change, but that’s because the consequence of a failure can be disastrous. We base our workshops on pretty conventional building strategies, then provide practical strategies to improve energy efficiency, indoor air quality and occupant comfort. Our goal has been to make higher performance building more approachable for builders and designers, so that it becomes the obvious.
Where do you see opportunities for growth when viewing the energy efficiency workforce on the Central Coast?
We’re starting to see great examples of electrification and energy efficiency in new construction, which really benefits home buyers and the community, and provides good jobs for the trades. Another challenge is working on existing buildings. If someone’s old gas furnace or water heater goes out, we need to have home-owners, suppliers and contractors on board to install efficient heat-pump systems. We want to make sure homes are weather-tight, have good air circulation, and have renewable energy, especially in lower-income neighborhoods and rental units. That work requires a trained workforce and an educated public.
What has motivated you to continue training the workforce in this region?
We love this work! Our team has been committed to sustainable, healthy buildings for decades, and our partnership with 3C-REN allows us to reach a large, diverse group of folks in the building industry. Our instructor team is small but with a wide range of backgrounds, including architecture, construction, energy modeling, green building code and sustainable consulting. Our varied perspectives resonate with our audiences, bridging gaps between concept and installation. We know this work is making better places to live, work and play and is kinder to our environment.
3C-REN continues to explore strategies to create access for the workforce through the Building Performance Training program by offering technical trainings, soft skills development and certifications on the latest energy efficiency methods and measures. To learn more visit: https://www.3c-ren.org/building-performance-training/