Instructor leading training course

Invest in people to improve your company's bottom line

Energy efficiency projects live or die on the knowledge and skills of the people involved. In many ways, the most critical component of any energy management strategy isn’t the new technologies or processes – it’s the investment in people who implement and oversee them.

Even the most innovative technologies won’t reduce energy consumption if they aren’t operated properly. This is why more and more companies are taking advantage of training incentives offered through the Independent Electricity System Operator’s (IESO) Save on Energy programs. Businesses are giving their staff the tools they need to better manage energy use – from understanding the benefits of new lighting and other equipment to creating a workplace that makes energy management a normal part of everyday business.

Save on Energy programs currently offer rebates for a number of courses related to energy efficiency, the most popular of which is the Building Operator Certification (BOC®) Incentive. Building Operator Certification is one of the leading training and certification programs for building engineers, operators and maintenance personnel. Graduates of the program better understand how to run their building more efficiently, helping increase the comfort of tenants while reducing energy and maintenance costs in their facility.

The nine-day course offered over a series of months is designed with individual business needs in mind, and is most effective when an organization sends several of its building operators, allowing them to work together and apply learnings as a team.

“We’ve learned that sector-specific or even customer-specific courses work better for businesses because the discussions are more keyed to the trainees’ own experiences in their facility,” says Mathieu Côte of the Canadian Institute for Energy Training (CIET) which offers BOC in Canada. “What’s more, while it’s building the team’s skills, it’s also building the team itself.”

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BOC was first brought to Canada through Save on Energy in 2012 to supplement the various other incentive programs available for equipment upgrades and retrofits. The program trains operators to look for otherwise hidden savings and improve building operations for everyone, making businesses more competitive and organizations more efficient. Research shows the average BOC graduate delivers over $10,000 a year in energy savings, which are sustained over a number of years.

Recently, Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro hosted BOC training for some of their large public sector customers, including the City of Kitchener, Conestoga College, and St. Mary’s and Grand River Hospital.

“We had nothing but positive feedback,” says Chris Drygala from Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro. “The participants really liked the way the training brought their teams together, and when I challenged them to come up with real projects, they all did, making the course a benefit to the employers from day one.”

The bottom line: training like BOC is a boon to any business, making staff with these accreditations key to developing, credibly communicating, and successfully implementing energy efficiency in your organization.

A version of this article first appeared in the Toronto Star in July 2016.