On January 30, more than a hundred people attended a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Center for Smart Building Technology at Roxbury Community College (RCC). The College created the center in conjunction with private industry to address the growing need for talented technicians who can operate today’s “smart” high performance buildings at peak efficiency.
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The goal of the Center for Smart Building Technology is to provide students with the expertise required to run increasingly complex building automation systems, as well as a solid grounding in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. “This is an opportunity to ensure that individuals who live in this community have access to a program that will put them on the leading edge in the economy and give them equal footing for good jobs for themselves and for their families,” said Roxbury Community College President Dr. Valerie Roberson. RCC’s Center for Smart Building Technology offers both certificate and degree programs that combine high-tech controls training with hands-on understanding of how buildings operate.“We need to make sure we remain a leader in the growth industries of today and tomorrow,” said the event’s keynote speaker Mike Kennealy, Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development. “We are trying to create those pathways for young people from school into industry.”
More than 80 percent of new commercial construction includes some type of Smart Building Technology. Smart buildings deliver essential automated building services such as lighting, cooling and heating, and cleaner air resulting in a reduction in energy costs and Green House Gas Emissions (GHG). According to the EPA, buildings contribute almost 1/3 of total GHG emissions in the United States. Reduction of GHG Emissions in buildings is critical to the City of Boston’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.
Over the last decade Massachusetts was rated #1 by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) in its annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard and its leadership in the field has resulted in an local shortage of skilled workers to install or maintain the systems that are so critical to the achievement of lower energy costs and GHG emissions. “An institutional void currently exists which RCC intends to fill,” said Frank Mruk, Executive Director, Center for Smart Building Technology at Roxbury Community College. “Our mission here is simple. Prepare the highly skilled workforce needed to implement the sustainable, high performance and energy efficient smart building practices required to achieve Boston’s 2050 carbon neutral plan,” The clean energy industry has added nearly 52,000 workers in Massachusetts since 2010, representing an 86 percent job growth according to data published by the Mass Clean Energy Center. Jobs in clean energy are growing at three times the rate of other industries, but diversity and inclusion has remained a major challenge.
Contact Executive Director Frank Mruk FAIA, RIBA at 857-701-1564 or fMruk@rcc.mass.edu for more information on the Center for Smart Building Technology.