As New York City’s boilers begin to work longer hours, so do the superheroes of our buildings – cleaning equipment, repairing leaky windows, and responding to heating complaints as the temperatures drop.
Over 1,000 of New York City’s buildings are run by superintendents capable of answering these calls of duty, while also saving energy and money for property owners and improving the comfort of our homes. These supers are graduates of 32BJ’s 1,000 Green Supers training program, a 40-hour course provided by the Thomas Shortman Training Fund that engages technical knowledge of energy and water efficient practices and products, and context for why these practices help build a better future for our city. Graduates of the program earn both BPI’s Energy Efficient Building Operator Certification and Urban Green’s GPRO Certificate in Operations and Maintenance Essentials.
How does this training translate into real change in our buildings? A collaborative study by 32BJ and Steven Winter Associates investigated the impacts of the 1,000 Supers program via interviews with 38 Green Supers and energy audits of 43 buildings.
Almost all of the supers interviewed (95%) successfully implemented energy efficiency measures within a year of graduation, mainly for new lighting (71%), but also for more costly investments such as HVAC (45%) and envelope (34%) system upgrades. The majority (80%) made changes in practices within a year, especially operation of HVAC (47%) and lighting systems (32%), and building envelope maintenance (32%). Results from the buildings’ energy audits indicate that these new measures are working, with 35% of the buildings qualifying as energy-efficient according to industry standards and 41% showing at least of average performance.
Green Supers training is not only making great improvements in buildings, but in the lives and careers of superintendents. Last week, at a panel discussion hosted by 32BJ SEIU and Urban Green, Green Supers: The Critical Role Of Energy Efficiency Training, we heard directly from two Resident Managers on the panel, Victor Nazario, (The Whitney, 311 East 38th Street) and Marat Olfir (The Future Condominiums, 200 East 32nd Street).
For Victor, the course changed his perspective on his job and made him aware of how our health is connected to our buildings. “It was no longer just a job but part of an overarching goal to make things better and part of my personal legacy” he said.
Marat had a similar experience, beginning to see the potential in each building. It also helped his career, “Being a Green Super helped me get better jobs in good buildings.”
Bottom line: Building efficiency training provides supers with practical skills that can cut building energy use by up to 20%, while reinforcing the value of their work.
Can you imagine how much greener our buildings could be if all building operations and maintenance teams received this training?
Stay tuned for more good news now that GPRO O&M is available for managers!
The video recording of last week’s “Green Supers” event is now available here.