New York Aims to Train One Thousand Green Supers in a Year

New York Aims to Train One Thousand Green Supers in a Year

Working with labor and property owners groups, New York seeks to train 1,000 building superintendents to be more energy efficient in managing sites.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Mike Fishman, president of SEIU Local 32BJ, the largest property service workers union in the country, announced the program "One Year, One Thousand Green Supers" on Friday.

"By working together, 32BJ and New York's building owners have put into place a smart, practical and effective way to help make the Big Apple green," Bloomberg said in a prepared statement. "One Year, One Thousand Green Supers provides a low-cost way to make our buildings more energy and cost efficient, and our environment cleaner, all while saving our city millions of dollars."

"With 77 percent of our city's greenhouse gas emissions generated by buildings, we must all work together to protect the environment," Fishman noted in the announcement. "Making the Big Apple green starts with recognizing the vital role of building service workers."

The program has been approved by the U.S. Green Building Council and the Building Performance Institute. It is part of the Thomas Shortman Training Fund, a labor-management partnership that offers training to more than 80,000 32BJ union members in the property services industry.

The training program involves a 40-hour class for building service workers that covers the latest practices in energy efficient operations. The goal is to train the workers to identify and address wasted energy, create a green operating plan and perform cost-benefit analysis for building owners and managers. The curriculum blends classes and field exercises with elective courses covering topics that include renewable technologies, green roofs and water reuse.

So far supers and resident managers from 40 different buildings have completed the pilot program, and the Thomas Shortman Training Fund expects to train about 300 building service workers by year's end.

"With most building service workers employed at RABOLR buildings and represented by 32BJ, this labor-management partnership is uniquely positioned to give tens of thousands of workers the skills they need to cut waste and costs at buildings across the city," James Berg, president of the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations (RABOLR) . The organization represents building owners and managers in New York City.

Greener buildings could save the New York real estate industry an estimated $230 million a year in operating expenses, proponents of the program say.

Also last week, Bloomberg and former vice president Al Gore launched the NYC Cool Roofs initiative, a component of the city's plan to greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

Bloomberg and Gore helped volunteers daub the rooftop of the Long Island City YMCA in Queens with white paint to kick off the program last Thursday.

Bloomberg said coating rooftops with reflective, white paint can reduce roof temperatures by as much as 60 degrees and indoor temperatures by 10 to 20 degrees.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user geraintwn