Don Hovland is a Maintenance Mechanic III/Electrician for The Evergreen State College in Washington State. He is a BOC graduate and we asked him a few questions about his experience with the training and how he’s applying the knowledge day to day.

Don Hovland performing meter related programming at his desk
Don Hovland of the Evergreen State College is pictured performing meter related programming.

Q. Why (and when) did you take the BOC I & II training/certification? Does your company require it? Encourage it?
A. Don took the BOC I and II training a number of years ago. The training wasn’t required but it was presented to him as an opportunity to get a good, well rounded base that his group would benefit from, so he attended.

“I attended with a small group of fellow employees from The Evergreen State College Facilities Department and additional staff members have also attended in several other groups. I estimate we have about 20 individuals from our organization who have attended the BOC training in the last 6-8 years.”

Q: What is your work background? Years in the field?
A: Don’s background is from the heavy construction industry and he’s worked at The Evergreen State College in the Facilities Department for over 24 years. He works primarily on electrical related projects and coordinating electrical related technologies. For example, projects include installing new electrical equipment and related control systems, electrical maintenance / diagnostic assignments related to equipment and lighting control systems currently in place.

Q: Project details?
A: It is difficult to remember which specific projects he was working on when he took the BOC Level I & II class series, however, current work involves working with a group of campus stakeholders to develop a campus standard for a building electrical metering system that will allow desktop access to read meters and look at trending energy use. These new meters and sub meters will be connected using the campus I.T. network to provide Facilities remote access to meter data via a direct connected laptop or network desktop computer. This information can be used for billing and to evaluate future energy conservation projects and document using actual data.

Q: What is the overall square footage of your facility?
A: Don’s estimate on the overall square footage for multiple buildings excluding dormitory building at The Evergreen State College is 1.5M sq ft. The campus consists of approximately 1,000+ acres with most of the major buildings located in a 350 acre core area.

Q: Were you able to work with your utility company on any rebates?
A: The Evergreen State College has worked with the Puget Sound Energy on rebates for the campus, although Don hasn’t been involved with that aspect other than being the local electrician. TESC has for example initiated and completed multiple lighting system upgrades “in house” in addition to working with ESCO contractors to plan and complete additional energy saving projects which are typically coordinated by engineering and project management staff in the Facilities office.

Q: How did your BOC training help? How did the BOC training influence the decision to do the energy efficiency project?
A: The BOC training has allowed Don to see how multiple building systems are interconnected and benefit from interdisciplinary coordination to operate at peak efficiency. As we move forward, and more equipment and control systems are being offered with network connectivity, we can take advantage of the opportunity to partner with the IT folks to deliver a better experience for our building users.

Don explained there is a new technology being incorporated into systems and equipment his organization is starting to use. New electrical metering systems that he installs have the ability to be connected to the IT network so individuals can be granted desktop access to this metering information and analytical software to document current conditions and energy saving projects after they have been installed. Another example is several building lighting control systems can be connected to the campus network to allow remote programming change in addition to offering scheduling options based on room or space needs. Typically, the IT team has access to computer systems technology that can be connected to facility related equipment and systems to take advantage of the enhanced functionality being offered and better monitor current and future energy use. At The Evergreen State College, these two work groups are under separate management organizations with different codes and standards that need to be discussed and built into a functional working model that meets the organization’s needs.

Q: Any particular observations about the program or the difference it made in a) your working environment, and b) your profession, c) what changes facility occupants see?
A: Overall, the broad base of training allowed Don to realize that all the systems are interconnected and he can take advantage of the opportunity to coordinate space scheduling, heating, lighting, occupancy and other related system use to operate the building more efficiently.

To summarize, the training created an awareness of how all the systems are interrelated.

Q: Any planned energy savings project for the future?
A: Our campus work group is always looking for energy savings potential, although a lot of the effort is funding based, i.e., convincing management that the projects provide cost effective solutions and considering any potential new funding solutions that might be available.

Read more graduate profiles here, and keep an eye for more featured Q&A’s in the blog!

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