Teaching the Next Generation of Green Building Professionals - CivicWell

News & Media

Teaching the Next Generation of Green Building Professionals

Contributed to CURRENTS by 3C-REN.

Climate Change & Energy


November 28, 2022


3C-REN’s Building Performance Training program offers workforce training services. The program provides expert instruction, technical trainings, soft skills development and certifications for current and prospective building professionals. The program’s first energy efficiency training events were held mid-2019, making the program nearly 3.5 years old today—we can barely believe it ourselves!

The focus of the Building Performance training program is on topics related to “high-performance building”, which we define as buildings that operate as a system, where all parts work together as efficiently as possible—improving the overall comfort, health, efficiency and life of the building. Example training topics include:

  • General building science such as the building envelope
  • Specific building systems such as HVAC and water heating
  • Decarbonizing technologies such as heat pumps
  • Passive House and Zero Net Energy (ZNE)
  • Policy issues like CA climate goals and electrification
  • Other emerging topics related to high-performance buildings

In the initial years, 3C-REN’s core Building Performance Training participants consisted of existingprofessionals, from architects and engineers to general contractors and tradespeople. Here on the Central Coast, with geographic isolation from urban centers, the program has helped to bring critical information about the evolving energy landscape and its impact on buildings to the region. With thousands of practitioners trained through the program, an increasing number of local building professionals are equipped with the knowledge to meet and go beyond the building code, as well as keep up with customer demands for efficient, higher performing homes.

As the program has matured, the team has looked for opportunities to expand. With many contractors retiring out of the industry, 3C-REN has expanded its focus to include young people and emerging professionals. In recent months, staff have formalized partnerships with educators and schools to bring high-performance education into the classroom. From high schools with STEM programs that emphasize architecture, construction and engineering (ACE) to career tech schools and community colleges, there’s strong interest from students in pursuing careers that will provide for their financial future as well as the health of the planet.

As one example, 3C-REN instructor Javier Saucedo has been teaching guest lectures at the Center for Employment Training (CET) in Oxnard, among other partners. Students enrolled in the CET Green Building Construction Skills program received education on high-performance building, learning about the importance of setting goals for things like performance of the building envelope, then measuring the actual performance using tools like a blower door. Cementing the knowledge with hands-on training, Javier showed the students how to set-up a blower door test, allowing students to measure the construction site they had built throughout the semester.

3C-REN looks forward to continuing to educate the next generation of professionals who will design and construct decarbonized buildings, essential to addressing climate change.