Operating a building at the highest level of efficiency can be challenging. The increasing complexities of interdependent building systems—HVAC motors, frequency drives, lighting—require building operators to possess a comprehensive understanding of how the systems work together in order to optimize energy efficiency.
SMECO offers financial incentives to help cover the cost for approved building operation and maintenance education courses. The incentives cover a percentage of training course(s) enrollment fees or tuition and are distributed upon course completion. You can choose to take courses related to equipment upgrades and replacements involving variable frequency drives (VFDs), lighting retrofits, lighting controls and other energy-saving measures. Review the terms and conditions for additional details.
Why Take Building Operator Education Courses?
Building operation education courses can help improve energy efficiency knowledge. These courses also improve the basic understanding of optimizing the controls of a building and how to implement changes to create a comfortable, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly space. Some training courses can also count towards professional certifications such as the Building Operator Certification, LEED certification and others.
Who Should Participate?
SMECO designed its incentive offering specifically for individuals who have 2 or more years of experience in building operations and support facilities within the SMECO service territory.
Building engineers, stationary engineers, maintenance supervisors, maintenance workers, facility coordinators, HVAC technicians, electricians, operations supervisors and technicians, and others in the field of facility operations and maintenance (O&M) are encouraged to apply.
In cases where the applicant is a contractor, a representative of the SMECO customer must provide a letter, on company letterhead, stating that the contractor is assigned to work at the customer’s facility and that the SMECO customer supports the contractor’s participation in the Building Operation Education Program.
Eligibility for receiving a financial incentive is based on work experience and education, as well as completion of courses, examinations and on-the-job projects. In order to participate in the program and receive a financial incentive, applicants must be:
- Employed in a position of responsibility for the energy management of the facility or have the potential to influence the building’s energy performance.
- Assigned to work at a commercial and/or industrial facility within the SMECO service territory and be present at that facility for at least 50 percent of their working hours.
Pre-approval is required for all BOE applications. Each approved applicant will be eligible to receive a financial incentive that covers 80 percent of enrollment costs or up to a maximum of $1,000 per certification, whichever is less. Associated costs, including but not limited to travel, food, lodging, test fees, etc., are not eligible for incentives. The applicant must submit proof of attendance within 30 days of course completion by providing a certificate of completion (or similar document), as well as a course invoice in order to qualify for an incentive.
All applicants must first meet minimum eligibility requirements mandated by the associated learning institution prior to submitting an incentive application with SMECO to ensure that all course and certification standards have been met through the learning institution. Furthermore, all applicants must apply for and receive pre-approval from SMECO before enrolling in or attending a course. Separate applications must be submitted for each course an applicant is seeking to pursue.
SMECO has pre-qualified certain courses from specific training organizations, which are specified below. In addition, SMECO will review all courses proposed by an applicant and his or her employer. Only courses with a concentration on electrical energy conservation within buildings are eligible for incentives. Courses with an emphasis on other energy sources, such as gas, or water conservation, etc., are not eligible.
Pre-qualified Courses and Certifications:
- Certified Energy Manager (CEM)
- Certified Energy Manager in Training (EMIT)
- Certified Building Commissioning Professional (CBCP)
- Certified Lighting Efficiency Professional (CLEP)
- Existing Building Commissioning Professional (EBCP)
- Certified Business Energy Professional (BEP)
- Certified Energy Auditor (CEA)
- Certified Commissioning Authority (CxA)
- BOC Level I
- BOC Level II
- Commercial Building Re-Tuning
- Fundamentals of Energy Efficient Building Operations
- The Design, Operation, and Maintenance of Building Systems, Part I
- The Design, Operation, and Maintenance of Building Systems, Part II
- Air Handling, Water Treatment, and Plumbing Systems
- Energy Management and Controls
- Refrigeration Systems and Accessories
- Electrical Systems and Illumination
- High Performance Principles
- High Performance Practices
- High Performance Sustainable Building: HVAC Optimization
- Energy Management Professional
- Certified Apprentice Lighting Technician (CALT)
- Certified Senior Lighting Technician (CSLT)
- Certified Facility Manager (CFM)
- LEED-AP-O&M: Accredited Professional Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - Building Operations & Maintenance)
- LEED-AP BD&C: Accredited Professional Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - Building Design Construction)
- Plant Equipment and Operations
- Air Conditioning I, II, III
- Heat Pumps
- Electric Motor
- The Engineer & Management
- Environmental Impact & Engineering
- Controls I, III
You can keep your building running smoothly by improving its energy efficiency. The Fundamentals of Energy-Efficient Building Operations virtual course can help you strengthen your building optimization skills and make changes to ensure comfort and safety, while managing energy costs at your facility.
You’ll learn to:
- Be more aware of facilities and instilled efficiency ethic
- Reinforce Building Operator Certification concepts
- Identify areas for energy savings
- Make energy-smart decisions every day
3 week course - Mondays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to Noon
Week 1: October 19 & 21
Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Overview
Energy Efficient Operation of Building HVAC Systems
Week 2: October 26 & 28
HVAC Control Fundamentals
Efficient Lighting Fundamentals
Indoor Environmental Air Quality
Week 3: November 2 & 4
Measuring and Benchmarking Energy Performance
Common Opportunities for Low-Cost Operational Improvements
Putting it all Together
$995 course cost ($199* after incentive)
*Fundamentals of Energy Efficient Building Operations qualifies for an incentive of $796*)
How to Participate:
- Identify a training course or certification with a concentration on the efficiency or conservation of electrical energy in commercial or industrial buildings. Refer to SMECO's list of pre-qualified courses and/or propose alternative courses.
- Complete the BOE application and submit to SMECO, along with all necessary documentation. SMECO will review the course and determine eligibility.
- After receiving pre-approval, the applicant may attend the course(s).
- Upon course completion, the applicant must submit the invoice for the course(s) and provide a copy of the certificate of completion or alternate documentation from the instructor, organization, school or company administering the course.
- Once SMECO receives all necessary documentation, an incentive payment is processed. Payment occurs within about 6 to 8 weeks of final approval.
Courses & Certifications Not Currently Pre-Qualified:
Applicants may propose a course or certification not currently pre-qualified within the program. Training courses that take place outside of the local area are eligible. The course location may be determined by the applicant and his or her employer. Pre-approval is required for all proposed courses that are not currently pre-qualified. The decision to approve or deny a course is at the discretion of SMECO. The applicant should allow about 10 business days to receive notice of course eligibility.
EmPOWER Maryland programs are funded by a charge on your energy bill. EmPOWER programs can help you reduce your energy consumption and save you money. Learn more about EmPOWER and how you can participate.