Operations and maintenance staff are key players in implementing building energy efficiency. But do staff have the knowledge and tools they need to advance efficiency? The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is looking for ways to enhance their Building Operations and Maintenance Workforce Development and Training Program. Specifically, NYSERDA wanted to learn how they can better deliver energy efficiency training through this program.
What we did
We conducted focus groups and in-depth interviews with building operations managers and supervisors in multiple locations across New York State. Study participants helped identify drivers, barriers, opportunities, and gaps in energy efficiency training. This study focused on three market segments that NYSERDA wants to engage more with: commercial, healthcare, and multifamily resident buildings.
Our research unveiled several key findings:
- Buildings operations managers and supervisors need additional motivation to adopt energy efficiency practices. While these managers and supervisors valued energy efficiency, they did not prioritize the operations and maintenance practices that increased energy efficiency.
- Increase focus on on-site education and training accessibility to accommodate unpredictable workloads of staff members.
- Managers and supervisors want to build technology and communication skills for their staff and NYSERDA can leverage this desire integrate energy efficiency O&M skills and knowledge at the same time.
Outreach and marketing should emphasize enhancing core organizational values. For example, improved comfort, increased productivity, and fewer tenant complaints are all benefits to highlight. Front-line ambassadors such as equipment vendors raise staff awareness and could help connect staff to further training. Finally, on-site training that combines technical and non-technical skills will add the most value for NYSERDA’s program participants.