Cantwell: Energy Efficient Construction Critical to Job Creation, Reducing Fossil Fuel Use

SEATTLE, WA – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell joined with representatives from the University of Washington and Northwest Energy Efficiency Council to discuss new grants received by the two organizations.  Researchers from the University of Washington received a $1.2 million grant that they will use to reduce energy consumption in Pacific Northwest hospitals.  The Northwest Energy Efficiency Council will use their $549,169 for training building equipment technicians.


“It is critical that we continue advancing energy efficient technologies, they are most cost-effective ways to reduce our overdependence on fossil fuels,” said Senator Cantwell.  “We must upgrade our existing buildings, while building new efficient ones.  This will help us transition to a clean-energy future for the long term.  And in the short term, it will create jobs as we train workers in these technologies to construct, commission and audit these buildings.”

“Hospitals and health facilities are second only to fast-food restaurants in energy consumption. They consume approximately 4 percent of all energy used in the U.S., so lowering the amount is very important,” said Joel Loveland, a UW professor of architecture who directs the Integrated Design Lab at the university.

“This grant will be used to help extend the reach of the program by creating distance learning platforms for the Building Operator Certification curriculum,” said Stan Price, Executive Director of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Council. “This will allow many more interested participants in both rural and urban locations to take advantage of the job training.  Additionally, the grant will provide resources to enhance the technical content of the training. This will enhance the value of our BOC credentialed participants to building owners and managers, as they forge a career path in facilities management.”


The researchers at University of Washington are developing strategies to ensure emissions reductions in hospitals.  Their research has demonstrated that there will be little additional cost – roughly 2 percent – for their strategies.  Their initial strategies have been included by NBBJ Architects in the new patient South Tower under construction at the UW Medical Center.


The work will address the 2030 Challenge, which was instituted by environmental advocacy group Architecture 2030.  The Challenge, being adopted by architects, engineers and building owners, strives for energy reduction every five years.  Buildings constructed by 2030 will be net-zero energy consumers.  Buildings that begin operating between 2010 and 2015 will work for a 60 percent reduction from standard operational use.


The Northwest Energy Efficiency Council developed a national training and credentialing program targeted to commercial and institutional facility operations technicians.  The program – the Building Operator Certification – will prepare operation and maintenance workers for the energy efficient operations of buildings.  The grant will extend the research of the program by creating distance learning platforms for the curriculum, allowing more interested participants in rural and urban areas to take advantage of the trainings. The grant will also provide resources to add more technical content to the training.


Both grants were part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.