Spots still available for Upper Peninsula's first-ever Building Operator Certification training program

Program is saving CMU over $800,000 annually in energy costs

Nick Assendelft (Michigan Agency for Energy), 517-284-8300

June 28, 2017

LANSING, Mich. – Spots are still available in the Upper Peninsula’s first-ever Building Operator Certification (BOC) training program which begins Aug. 10 at Northern Michigan University in Marquette.

Tuition discounts of $400 are available for public building operators. The program is also open to private sector facilities managers.

Since 2010, when the program was first offered in Michigan, some 350 graduates have implemented an average of $10,800 in electric savings annually at their workplaces, according to the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA), which sponsors the training programs.

At Central Michigan University (CMU), for example, BOC graduates have implemented changes that are saving the university $800,000 annually on its electric bills.

Chris Paseka, CMU’s plumbing and mechanical services supervisor and a BOC graduate, says one of the chief benefits of the training program is providing building managers with a new perspective on how to reduce energy waste.

“The BOC training opened my eyes to a lot of simple ways to reduce energy costs that we never really think about,” he said. “There are a lot of energy rebates out there, and, in some cases, the rebate pays 70 percent of the product cost, plus there is energy savings on top of that. I look forward to implementing more ideas in the future to continue to improve energy efficiency on campus.”

Mike Carr, an HVAC commissioning technician at CMU, adds the program is beneficial as a “cross-training tool among the trades to recognize the opportunities to save energy.”

The training is being offered by MEEA for the first time in the Upper Peninsula because of the potential there to reduce energy waste, a top priority of Michigan’s new energy laws.

“The potential for reducing energy waste in the U.P. is so great that the Michigan Energy Office (MEO) is offering a $400 discount off the tuition for public building operators to get certified with the training program,” noted Valerie Brader, executive director of the Michigan Agency for Energy (MEA), of which the MEO is part. “When BOC graduates make improvements at their buildings, the savings are immediate and continue well into the future. Facilities with BOC graduates are proven to save energy, have lower energy bills and offer improved comfort for occupants. Public building operators who work in Michigan are encouraged to apply for tuition assistance.”

BOC training includes nearly 74 hours of classroom and project work (7.4 CEUs) in building systems operation and maintenance. Each course in the series is completed in a one-day training session offered every other week, except BOC 1001 Energy Efficient Operation of Building HVAC Systems, which is a two-day course. To complete the series, participants must pass a test at the end of each training day and complete five assigned projects. Unless otherwise noted, training begins at 8 a.m. and ends by 4 p.m. Space is limited. Early registration is encouraged.

Individuals interested in the MEO tuition discount and other tuition discounts should email Haley Keegan at More information on the BOC program is available at:

The MEEA calculated its estimated average annual per participant energy savings to be 100,500 kilowatt-hours per year, equivalent to $10,800 annually at Michigan electricity rates. The savings per credentialed operator ranges from over $3,000 to nearly $19,500 per year.

The MEO provides technical and financial assistance to public and private sector organizations, to lower energy costs and reduce energy waste. MEO's programs promote adaptable, affordable, reliable, and environmentally protective energy options, including energy efficiency and renewable energy. MEO is largely funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and is part of MAE.

For more information about MAE, please visit or sign up for its listservs to keep up on MAE matters.

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