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Obama signs law to train ‘green' building managers

Dec. 14, 2010 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., sponsor of the Senate bill, said the training helps safeguard billions of dollars in investment in new federal buildings and gives managers the skills they need to operate increasingly complicated buildings.
Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., sponsor of the Senate bill, said the training helps safeguard billions of dollars in investment in new federal buildings and gives managers the skills they need to operate increasingly complicated buildings. (Energy Department)

President Obama signed into law Tuesday legislation that aims to give federal building managers the expertise they need to manage the government's portfolio of energy-efficient buildings.

The 2010 Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act, which passed the House Dec. 2 and the Senate in July, would give the General Services Administration 18 months to identify the core skills needed to manage a federal building and to develop or identify certification courses designed to teach those skills.

Those skills include understanding building performance measures, such as energy and water conserved, as well as energy management, sustainability, water efficiency and electrical safety.

The training requirements will apply to both federal workers and contractors. The standards will be developed in consultation with private industry, trade groups and other stakeholders, according to the bill. The bill directs GSA to hire a contractor to provide training.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., sponsor of the Senate bill, said the training helps safeguard billions of dollars in investment in new federal buildings and gives managers the skills they need to operate increasingly complicated buildings.

"You wouldn't give a race car to an inexperienced driver and expect them to win the Indy 500," Carper said in a statement. "In the same way, we can't expect our federal buildings to run at peak efficiency if we don't provide our personnel with the training required to make that happen."

According to Carper's office, the federal government accounts for 1.5 percent of all energy use in the country and spent about $7 billion in 2008 on energy to power federal facilities.

Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-Mo., the House sponsor of the bill and the co-chairman of the congressional high-performance building caucus, said in a statement that energy efficiency means taxpayer savings.

"Sustainability and energy conservation isn't just about the air we breathe or the water we drink. It's about saving money for families, businesses and taxpayers," Carnahan said.

The bill does not provide extra funding for the new requirements.

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