As a Kitsap County building maintenance technician, David Gilmore wants to operate county facilities as efficiently as possible. He wants to keep the people inside them comfortable, and he wants to save taxpayer money. Now, as one of the first BOC graduates, Gilmore has enhanced his abilities to meet those goals.
Gilmore learned about the BOC program through his boss, Bill Keller, Kitsap County’s manager of facilities maintenance. Keller in turn heard about the program from NEEC’s Cynthia Putnam, and immediately liked the idea. He knows of no other similar certification available for people who operate buildings. “I was really encouraged somebody was going to set some standards and recognize people” who had completed training.
Keller sought four volunteers among his 23 staff people to take the BOC courses. Since almost everyone expressed interest, he had them pick straws. Gilmore and three maintenance mechanics won.
In addition to having staff people gain recognition for meeting independent standards in building operations, Keller said he wanted his employees to expand their knowledge. “You end up with a maintenance person who is more skilled and who has a broader range of skills.”
It’s a bit early to know the exact influence of Gilmore’s BOC training on the facilities he maintains; he gained his certification in January after completing the required course work, including tests and projects. Nevertheless, said Keller, “He’s gone beyond the immediate things he’s working on to see the effect on the overall building. Prior to this he worked on individual machines…Now he works toward energy efficiency in the entire building” with more of a systems approach.
For his part, Gilmore said he learned quite a bit through BOC about air-handling systems, lighting, indoor air quality and other aspects of energy-efficient building operations. As of late March, working at a Kitsap County residential drug/alcohol treatment center, Gilmore said he already is paying more attention to setting timers to improve energy efficiency. He also has reduced lighting levels where appropriate, and is looking into air-flow changes–without adding new equipment. “The county has a pretty limited budget; I do whatever I can do as long as it doesn’t cost anything,” Gilmore said.
Although it’s premature to calculate energy and dollar savings earned by the county as a direct result of staff’s BOC training, Keller noted, “I would say that if all of our people had gone through this program that there might be some indoor air-quality increases… and an increase in tenant comfort.”
Gilmore said he would recommend the BOC program for building operators willing to commit the time.
And Keller said he would be more inclined to hire certified operators. “This would be something I’d look for . . . a universally accepted certification program.” Already the BOC program is moving into Oregon and Idaho, and Keller hopes eventually it becomes a nationally recognized badge of honor for people who complete the training and receive certification.
By Mark Ohrenschall.