To the delight of green-building advocates, the House has passed the Federal Building Personnel Training bill (S. 3250)(GBI, Aug. 1, 2010, "Energy-Efficiency Advocates Praise Senate's Action on Federal Buildings Personnel Training Bill"). President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.
The legislation would direct the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to do the following:
- Identify, annually, the core competencies necessary for federal personnel performing building operations and maintenance, energy management, safety, and design functions to comply with requirements under federal law, including competencies relating to sustainability, water efficiency, electrical safety, and building-performance measures.
- Identify a course, certification, degree, license, or registration to demonstrate, and for ongoing training in, each core competency for the appropriate category of personnel. The bill would require individuals in each category to demonstrate each core competency identified for the category within one year.
- Develop or identify comprehensive continuing-education courses to ensure the operation of federal buildings in accordance with industry best practices and standards.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy would develop, annually, a recommended curriculum relating to facility management and the operation of high-performance buildings.
Training requirements under this bill would apply to non-federal personnel performing building operations and maintenance, energy management, safety, and design functions under contract with a federal agency. A contractor would need to provide training to, and certify the demonstration of core competencies for, non-federal personnel in a manner that is approved by GSA.
The bill is designed to help increase the energy efficiency of the federal government, as mandated through an executive order that President Obama issued in October 2009.
Among the bill's supporters are the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and Alliance to Save Energy.
NEMA was involved in shaping the legislation and will be working with GSA to develop the appropriate core competencies for federal building managers.
"Reps. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.) and Judy Biggert (R-Ill.), along with Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), have been instrumental in advocating this legislation and ensuring that GSA has the needed tools and understanding to properly run and maintain more than 500,000 federal buildings under its purview," NEMA Chief Executive Officer Evan Gaddis said.