Ideas are free – Proposal for energy management training at Algonquin

I used to sit on all my ideas worried, concerned that someone else would steal them. Of course, with my day job and real life very few of these ideas went anywhere and occassionally someone else would come up with the same idea and maybe turn it into something.  In these cases, I was always ecstatic that an idea that I had once thought of actually was turned into something of value by someone else.  Sure I would have preferred to have turned it into something useful and interesting, but at least the idea did not sit in my head or on one of my many lists waiting for the day that would never come when I could devote the needed time and energy to actually move it along.

Now my new approach is to share my ideas with colleagues and peers and in my meetings as part of my networking. Set them free! If someone sees value in it and runs with it, Great! If they see value and run it and want to include me, even better!

So here is one idea and granted this one is not new although it may be new in the Ottawa community.

Training program in Energy management:


A set of events are coming togethor which are driving momentum to improve how we use energy in our homes and our work.  These include the continued increase, volatility and uncertainty in  energy prices, recognition and changing social expectations about addressing climate change and reducing  greenhouse gas emissions and as our energy use increases with more electronics and conveniences, there is interest in ensuring that we use our energy more efficiently.   Utilities also know that reducing energy use and investing in energy efficiently can reduce energy use and help to meet the growing demand much cheaper than building new energy infrastructure.  It is much cheaper to invest in energy efficiency in the electricity sector rather than trying to build nuclear power plants, natural gas generation in Ontario and large hydro.  Recognition is also growing that it is cheaper to reduce energy use and invest in efficiency in the fossil fuel sector rather than building new refineries, new pipelines to export crude oil or new LNG export terminals.

As well at the same time, new technologies are being created and being brought to market which will allow for the more efficient use of energy and enhance and preserve our quality of life. These opportunities have been recognised by entrepreneurs in the clean tech sector as well as traditional energy players as they are being forced to adapt to changes in the energy sector.

Skills are needed to understand the underlying technologies, understand where these technologies can be applied, understand how to describe the benefits and how to use the tools that are not developed to forecast, project, measure and verify that the energy savings will be delivered based on the promises made.  Technical skills are also needed to support the evaluation of the success of any energy efficiency investments using the suite of tools, technical understanding and experience that the individuals who graduate from this program will have.

Objective: Practical training and education that can lead to an undergraduate certificate in energy management, potential certification in IPMVP, continuing education units for PMI project management certificate, LEED  plus others.

This training could be part of a one year certification degree, a specialization within an existing degree or an add-on to an existing certificate. Thie could also link with any existing certificate programs asociaterd with green construction and/or advanced construction engineering degrees.

Qualified Individuals:

A need to drive investments in the energy efficiency sector is the need for qualified individuals who can do a number of interrelated jobs including:

  • go into a facility and building and understand the energy use,
  • understand the impacts of a retrofits of different technologies,
  • understand how to model different technologies and their impacts,
  • be able to ensure that after the building has been built or retrofitted it is operating optimally and be able to do a commissioning to support this,
  • be able to establish and operate a monitoring and verification program to be able to ensure that the building is functioning as intended.

In addition, to be able to understand and develop a business case and be able to articulate this business case is a needed skill for driving energy efficiency investments.  The skills that these individuals need are practical skills best delivered through a college diploma and certificate. Algonquin could develop a complete program which could train individuals with these skills to the marketplace. These skills are needed both for retrofits of existing building as well as building new energy efficient buildings and net zero buildings.  The sectors where these skills are mostly needed include commercial, institutional, industrial and residential.

Industry that has need of these skills include property managers, property developers, architects, architectural technologists, energy companies (utilities etc.), ESCO’s, engineering consultants.

The types of positions that these individuals would fill include energy managers, energy auditors, energy modellers, building commissioners, building inspectors.

It would also be useful skill development for existing trades including engineers, building inspectors, architects, planners, project managers etc.

Potential Courses:

  • Rationale: Why, business case for energy management and energy efficiency and retrofits
  • Introduction to energy management:
  • ISO 50001 Energy Management System
  • How to do energy audits
  • Benchmarking (see article at bottom)
  • Energy modelling (include RetScreen and others)
  • How to determine energy savings, greenhouse gas emission reductions, establish baselines etc.
  • Monitoring and verification
  • Commissioning and decommissioning
  • Financial Analysis
  • Potential sources of capital
  • How to sell energy efficiency
  • Practical application to a building on campus.

It just so happens that on the day that I was writing this up and preparing, I came across this press release from Algonquin College about a new Energy Management Graduate Certificate

I hope to be taking this around to people at Algonquin college in the next few weeks and working with a couple people who I know to push this ahead.  Comments and suggestions are welcome!