ASHRAE joins DOE, NIBS to increase skill set of building professionals; participants solicited

by Shane Henson — November 27, 2013—ASHRAE, the building technology society with more than 50,000 members worldwide, announced earlier this week that it has accepted an invitation from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to join an effort to advance the skill sets of engineers and other professionals involved in building design, operation and commissioning.

Under DOE leadership, a board of advisors has been created for the Commercial Workforce Credentialing Council (CWCC). This board will be led by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) with the participation of ASHRAE and other credentialing and professional development organizations and individuals. They will work to establish a set of voluntary national guidelines to improve the quality and consistency of commercial building workforce credentials, ASHRAE says.

The Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines will reduce the confusion and uncertainty around workforce credentialing; lower costs; and support better credentials, better workers and better buildings. The guidelines will set an industry-validated Job Task Analysis for each job title, as well as certification schemes (blueprints) and learning objectives for training programs.

Initially the guidelines will address commercial building workforce training and certification programs for five key energy-related jobs: energy auditor, commissioning professional, building/operations professional, facilities manager (for government facilities), and energy manager. Three of ASHRAE’s certification programs are part of this initial development: Commissioning Process Management Professional, Building Energy Assessment Professional, and Operations & Performance Management Professional.

ASHRAE says that once implemented, industry certification programs must then receive independent accreditation from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in order to be recognized by DOE as meeting voluntary guidelines for the Better Buildings Workforce. ASHRAE notes it has already begun the process of seeking ANSI accreditation.

Participants solicited

The CWCC is also seeking a broad range of qualified current practitioners to assist in the development of job task analyses in the five job categories mentioned above. The job-task analyses will (1) identify and catalogue the activities and tasks a worker performs in a given job; and (2) identify the knowledge, skills and abilities that define the minimum requirements for a person to adequately perform those tasks on the job. These five job-task analyses will form the foundation of the Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines.

This is an opportunity for practitioners, organizations and industry networks to contribute to a project of national scope and significance that will support a skilled and qualified commercial buildings workforce for decades to come, notes the CWCC. Applications and nominations are due Tuesday, December 4, 2013.