Editor’s Note: Nick Prigo is a guest blogger and Green Buildings Metrics Analyst for the 32BJ Thomas Shortman Training Fund in New York City, which received a $2.8million U.S. DOL Energy Training Partnership Grant to fund its program 1,000 Green Supers. To learn more about the program that Victor Nazario graduated from view last week's post.
In 1978, Victor Nazario went looking for a job as a doorman in New York City. He was hired as a temporary doorman at a luxurious Central Park South building, but what the then 18-year-old discovered while he was working there changed his life. Nazario, a young exuberant teen met a fellow Latino who was the building's resident manager. Nazario was taken back by the idea that a minority could have such a nice job. Intrigued, he asked the manager how he got the job.
The resident manager first told Nazario that he could have a job like that too, through the free schooling through 32BJ. "Nobody gave me permission before to have a job like that. I didn't think I could." Nazario says that this information was a life changer for him. He immediately signed up for the free courses and earned his first superintendent job when he was just 21 years old.
If his inspiring story just ended here, it would be pretty impressive, but for this enthusiastic young man, it was only the start of his accomplishments. "I was the first one in my family to ever graduate high school and the first one to go to college and it was because 32BJ opened up my eyes as to what I can do," he says. He has since gone on to earn his doctorate in theology.
"My kids won't know what it is to say, 'I don't think I can do that,'" he says. Nazario has been in the business for 29 years and has been the resident manager of The Whitney at 311 East 38th Street for the last six years. He is responsible for 118 units and eight employees, including porters, doormen, and handymen. Never one to stop learning, he became one of the first participants of the 1,000 Green Supers program with Douglas Elliman property management, where he learned skills to reduce energy use, save money, and operate and maintain his building efficiently. "The industry is always morphing and I wanted to learn more," he says.
"This program really changed the way I view my building. When I first entered the industry years ago a super's job was simply to fix things and handle emergencies, and that is what we learned to do. This class [The 1,000 Green Supers program] really made me think about the way I superintend and reflect on how I had done my job to date. It taught me to look at my building as a system, to think about how the building envelope effects heat flow, how the roof impacts air movement, and how lighting effects heat loads."
Nazario reviewed his building from top to bottom to see the changes he could make so it was more energy-efficient. He has already implemented changes including fixing doors that remained partially opened, installing motion sensors in service rooms, compactor rooms, laundry rooms and storage rooms, rewrapping piping and changing light bulbs to those that are more energy efficient."
Victor has since gone on to receive the Green Building Service Worker of the Year Award from Manhattan Media and 32BJ SEIU, and appeared in a televised Public Service Announcement for the City of New York promoting recycling.
Editor’s Note: Nick Prigo is a Green Buildings Metrics Analyst for the 32BJ Thomas Shortman Training Fund in New York City, which received a $2.8million U.S. DOL Energy Training Partnership Grant to fund its program 1,000 Green Supers.
Buildings in the United States consume more energy (39%) and generate more greenhouse gas pollution (38%) than any other sector of the economy, including transportation or industry. In New York City this problem is especially pronounced, with buildings responsible for 66% of total energy use and 78% of city greenhouse gas emissions. (1)
The cheapest, fastest way to save energy is to improve the performance of existing buildings with more efficient heating, cooling, lighting, and better operations and maintenance. We have known for more than 25 years that better operations and maintenance alone can reduce a building’s energy use by as much as 10% per year. This seemingly small percentage adds up quickly. If all of NYC’s large apartment buildings achieved these savings, New Yorkers could save $230 million every year and reduce carbon pollution by the equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the road. (2)
Superintendents are responsible for the operations and maintenance of New York City’s large residential buildings. They manage a building’s workforce, they interact with a building’s tenants, and they communicate with a building’s owners. Superintendents are the focal point through which all green elements must flow. Without a green super the efforts of owners, tenants, and the public to improve the efficiency of a building is limited.
There is only one way to capture the tremendous savings potential for green operations and maintenance – training. An entire industry needs to be upskilled to meet the needs of an energy efficient 21st century. Upskilling will convert the existing job of superintendent into a new green job – the green superintendent.
The labor union SEIU Local 32BJ represents about 5,000 superintendents – which covers about 80% of the large multifamily buildings in New York City. The 32BJ Thomas Shortman Training Fund (TSTF) provides free industry training to 32BJ members. This setup provides an unparalleled opportunity to upskill an entire industry all at once.
We at TSTF are fortunate recipients of Recovery Act funding from the USDOL. This funding allows us to provide green buildings training to 2,000 incumbent building service workers over two years and help shift an entire industry towards a green future. Our Green Supers program, is a cooperative effort between building owners, property managers, building service workers, and 32BJ. Participating firms send their supers to a rigorous 40-hour course that covers all aspects of green building operations and maintenance. It includes units on quantifying a building’s energy usage, optimizing heating, cooling, lighting and water use, sealing the building envelope, and using green cleaning products to improve indoor air quality. As of January, 2011, 800 building service workers have begun the training, and 550 of them have successfully received BPI certification.
The most innovative aspect of our training program is our broad framework of supportive activities. We had serious concerns that supers would attend our training program, learn lots of great information, and then fail to apply these new skills on the job when they returned to their buildings. That’s why we created the Green Coaching program. This follow-up service allows program alumni to have green building experts come out to their building and provide coaching on how to make the upgrades they want to make. Additional follow-up service include an online web community with blogger, a monthly newsletter sent to all program alumni, and one-on-one follow-up phone calls to all of our students letting them know about our follow-up services.
Positive reviews of our training have already led employers and employees in Westchester County, Northern New Jersey, and Philadelphia to express interest in joining. And we strongly believe that our Green Supers program can work as a template for future labor/management collaborations which aim to green the building service workforce of any major city. We hope that the example we set in New York City will inspire other municipalities, unions, and employer organizations to work together to help create the greener future we all need (and save some serious money in the process).
If you have any questions about our program feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
About the 32BJ Thomas Shortman Training Fund - TSTF offers free training to 85,000 members of SEIU Local 32BJ working in the property services industry. The Training Fund is a joint labor-management organization, cosponsored by SEIU Local 32BJ and the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations. Every year TSTF provides industry, academic, and computer courses to thousands of Local 32BJ building service workers at 40 locations in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and The District of Columbia.
United States Green Building Council. “Green Building Research”, 2008
The City of New York. “PlaNYC: Inventory of New York City Greenhouse Gas Emissions“, 2010
Synectics Group for U.S. Department of Energy, “An Evaluation of the Institutional Conservation Program”, 1983
New Yorkers spend $13.4 billion each year on energy for buildings (PlaNYC). Apartment buildings with 5 or more units account for 23% of this demand (NYSERDA), or $3.1 billion annually. Of this energy demand, large buildings with more than 30 units account for 75% or $2.3 billion annually. If better O&M reduced energy use 10% in these large apartment buildings, New Yorkers would save more than $230 million every year.
According to PlaNYC, New York emitted 61 MMT of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2007. We multiplied by .77 for the share of emissions attributed to buildings, and then by .23 for the share of total building energy use by apartment buildings, then by .75 for the share of energy used by apartment buildings larger than 30 units to conclude that New York’s apartment buildings generate 8.1 MMT of carbon emissions each year. If each apartment building achieved 10% energy savings, carbon emission would be reduced by 0.8 MMT per year city-wide. Since a single automobile generates about 5.4 metric tons of carbon per year, reducing emissions by 0.8 MMT is equivalent to taking 150,000 cars off the road.