Scott Weide is the Resource Conservation Manager for Auburn School District 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.
Puget Sound Energy supports the Auburn School District by providing funding for the Resource Conservation Manager (RCM) program, enabling the school district to implement innovative energy savings measures. For more information about the RCM program visit the PSE RCM website.
“The BOC was pivotal to get a building systems overview – I had the theory but no practical experience. All the classes were a whole new world.”
Q: Why did you take the BOC I & II training/certification? Does your company require it? Encourage it?
A: We encourage it. I took BOC training because I really had no Building Operator background. I needed to get a skill set to bring me up to speed on how building systems work.
Q: What is your work background? Years in the field?
A: It made sense to go to training because I had no background in building systems, and very little background on energy efficiency. I was a math and science teacher in middle school, emphasis was on recycling so I came from the recycling world. I had a background in physics and biology but nothing in Building Systems.
The BOC was pivotal to get a building systems overview – I had the theory but no practical experience. All the classes were a whole new world.
Q: Project details?
A: There was no specific project in mind when I took the classes. I just wanted to learn about buildings and came across BOC training and had to learn something. I could look at bill but didn’t know why costs were going up and down. The training really closed the loop on efficiency.
Q: What is the overall square footage of your facility?
A: 28 sites, just over 2 million square feet for the entire facility.
Q: Were you able to work with your utility company on any rebates? If yes, with whom did you work?
A: There have been some rebates since I took the BOC training. For example, we’re now commissioning a building in one of the high school facilities – incorporating balancing agent tools and measuring our water flow through balancing valves in a heating unit.
Q: How did your BOC training help? How did the BOC training influence the decision to do the energy efficiency project?
A: I didn’t really know what I was getting into when signing up for BOC training but the BOC training provided me with really good background information and the theory behind it – eg, how to read a pump curve, how to study the way in which water flows through a building, getting to trace a system, follow the HVAC or plumbing diagram, and learning to read a plan set.
Q: Any particular observations about the program or the difference it made in a) your working environment, and b) your professional, c) what changes facility occupants see?
A: The benefits for me are twofold. First, the training gave me the background on the “lingo,” so this enabled me to talk to engineers and understand what they’re saying so I can take action on what they’re seeing. Secondly, efforts address to occupant comfort has been phenomenal – how to engage in basic troubleshooting to figure out root causes to a problem, looking at a system instead of individual components for diagnostics, but still understanding a small change in one device could changes the performance of an entire system.
Q: Any planned energy savings project for the future? Energy savings estimates for projects – do they seem reasonable?
A: Multiple projects are in work all over the place. Savings estimates are difficult – engineering estimated savings is often a high number, but realistically the efficiency savings come in below that because of other influences or unexpected variables pop up, that’s reality. As a specific example, we are monitoring balancing valves in our facility but realized some systems didn’t have balancing valves. As a result, this resulted in additional work to install new balancing valves where none existed.
Read more graduate profiles here, and keep an eye for more featured Q&A’s in the blog!