Johnson Controls Asks Educators & Trainers to Go Green

HVACR training programs across North America try to expand their student's placement opportunities with major employers like Johnson Controls ( Many of these employers are now asking that students are trained in new green technologies.

Mrs. Shannon Lippold of Johnson Controls (JCI) CareerConnect program addressed several hundred HVACR Educators and Trainers at the HVAC Excellence National HVACR Educators and Trainers Conference (

Mrs. Lippold was there to discuss the need for Being Green.

Green is more than just a buzz word; it is becoming a way of life for many of us. JCI is very committed to being green, through sustainability, renewable energies and energy efficiency.

The presentation began with a video that focused on three themes: Everyday Heroes embodying JCI brand positions on sustainability issues, green job opportunities and what that means in terms of the curriculum of the future. Some feedback on how to help students position themselves well for open positions in this down economy was also shared.

JCI customers are under new and intense pressure from skyrocketing energy cost. Their buildings use a lot of energy, making them part of the problem and part of the solution. Energy use in commercial buildings could be reduced by 20% using current technologies. Improved building efficiencies could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 30%. Buildings create a huge impact on the environment as 25% of global carbon dioxide comes from buildings. Their impact could be much smaller through improving building efficiency. This could reduce those carbon dioxide emissions up to 30%. Buildings use 68% of all electricity. However, they can be a source of value and turned into a competitive advantage. Class A office space rated "energy efficient" sells for 30% more than office space without a rating. Improving building efficiency is their first and most important step.

JCI is building products that use less energy. York chillers save energy by using variable speed drives that slow down the driveline whenever possible. Variable speed drives slow down the driveline (motor and compressor) whenever possible, saving significant amounts of energy. When driving a car, would you drive with the accelerator to the floor all the time, and use the brake to slow down without removing your foot from the accelerator? Off design conditions are conditions other than the design condition (typically 85 degree entering condenser water and full load).

Thanks to their open drive design, in which the motor is out of the refrigerant stream, not hermetically sealed within it, York centrifugal chillers can be driven by not just electric motors, but also gas engines and steam turbines. This allows the owner to choose based on the most economical or most widely available fuel at the site. If a hybrid plant is designed, customers can actually choose on the fly which fuel they want to consume, based on market conditions for the fuel at that given time. Heat pump models are available for some models within a broad capacity range. This is a very efficient way of providing heating during the winter or cooling during the summer, in a single piece of equipment.

Depending on the climate and conditions, it can be demonstrated that centrifugal chillers use less water, because motor heat is not rejected to the condenser water loop. The technology in the York Affinity heat pump makes it 60% more efficient and 4 xs as quiet.

JCI makes buildings as efficient as they can be. Their equipment and controls were used in 18 of the Beijing Olympic facilities, resulting in significant energy and operational savings.

Since 2000, retrofits with guaranteed energy savings have prevented over 9 million tons of greenhouse gases from entering our atmosphere.

Have you transitioned to Green? Attendees of the HVAC Excellence National HVACR Educators and Trainers Conference were asked to reflect on what works well, what needs improvement and to seek best practices. Given the global focus on energy efficiency and sustainability, everyone was asked to answer a few questions: Have you created the link between the learning activities and how it supports a greener world? Are your marketing groups carrying a green message to prospective students and helping you to grow your programs? Do you need to modify existing or create new educational offerings to create a pathway to Green Collar Jobs?

What is a Green Collar Job? A green collar job focuses on: the triple bottom line, doing things that are right for the environment, that are socially responsible and are profitable. These jobs often have tasks that result in energy efficiency, a reduced carbon footprint and the utilization of alternative, renewable energy sources like: solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, wind, and biomass. One of the most important things in transitioning to green is the ability to make the connection between the tasks and skills that student's will learn or master and their impact on energy and the environment.

What is the Market for Green? The current tally of 8.5 million U.S. direct and indirect jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency industries could grow to as many as 40 million by 2030, according to a November 2007 report commissioned by the American Solar Energy Society. However, the National Renewable Energy Lab has identified a shortage of skills and training as a leading barrier to renewable energy and energy efficiency growth.

So you may be wondering…how are these jobs Green? While there are a lot of green roles at JCI, let's focus on two, the Mechanics and Controls Technicians.

Mechanics do a number of things to reduce the customer's energy spend and create a greener environment. While to some they may be changing filters on mechanical equipment, at JCI they are optimizing airflow to enhance energy efficiency.

JCI mechanics on project teams will also do refrigerant conversions, which help to protect the earth by preventing ground contamination through environmentally responsible recovery and recycling of refrigerant. Older refrigerants have a high global warming potential. In replacing the old refrigerant with new refrigerant there is less opportunity to damage the ozone.

Mechanics that work on major mechanical equipment retrofits are also helping to green the environment. 67% of the electricity generated at its source is lost through the transmission/distribution process. This means that only 33% of the electricity created at the source is available for buildings. If the building is running on equipment and systems that are past its useful life, imagine the additional electricity that is wasted. These mechanics are helping customers upgrade their equipment, they are also helping them to save energy.

Controls Technicians certainly have clear, green roles. They maintain and optimize the customer's building automation system (BAS) so that energy-saving strategies are implemented consistently across multiple building systems. A controls technician can write code to tell a valve to shut and limit heat to a space in off hours, or program the BAS to turn off the lights in classrooms that aren't in use during various times of the day. The control tech can also remote monitor the system for alarms or do to load calculations and make changes within the system that reduces energy spend.

To improve the focus on Green and help students be considered for some of these green jobs, start with the basics.

Communication courses are critical as technicians deal with customers, managers and contractors on a regular basis. Consider embedding lessons that focus on technical report writing, and writing proposals for HVAC projects, and request students to incorporate green messages into these assignments. Have students build a mock job book detailing what is done from a maintenance perspective providing detail in the book on how the activity helped to make the customer's building more green.

While math and science are critical, there are other essentials the need inclusion in a training program such as computer courses, both basic and advanced. Virtually everything runs off of computers today, and that is no different for buildings. Students that have advanced computing courses in their portfolio have greater access to green job opportunities, and a high level of marketability, especially as the need for people in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries increase. Classes should provide students with an understanding of operating systems, networking issues and software languages.

Green Training: Here are some things that one should consider when developing a degree program that is green in nature: energy literacy, develop energy usage and maintenance strategies for buildings, perform energy audits, program a sequence of operations for multiple building systems, systematically operate and optimize multiple building systems, understand operational and energy budgets, perform system measurement and verification, have a general understanding of LEED and the USGBC commissioning projects & systems, re-commissioning and retro-commissioning, understand renewable energy sources, and understanding of plumbing and electrical work.

Training programs should enable students to successfully complete these types of activities: provide a solid knowledge base on preventive maintenance tasking function testing of mechanical equipment and devices, calibration sensors, simulating alarms, testing controls, monitoring loops, modifying set points, database backups, troubleshooting building systems, application of problem solving strategies, apply controls theory, troubleshoot control systems - electrical systems - mechanical systems - networks and computer system issues, modify PID loops, and respond to critical alarms. Being green requires a focus on renewable energy sources. Students who have been exposed to wind, solar, biomass, etc. will benefit from their education.

JCI technicians implement controls strategies that help their customers reduce operational and energy spending. Technicians need to be exposed to: data meters, trending, runtime schedules, the monitoring of energy usage, and the ability to modify schedules will be critical.

These jobs require heavy knowledge of computers, and truly border some of the work that IT professionals do. Often technicians will work along side of IT professionals. Students need to have a general understanding of networks, router/hubs, setting up servers and loading software.

What JCI Seeks in Candidates? Mrs. Lippold concluded her presentation by discussing the need for solid resume writing and interviewing skills. At JCI, candidates have multiple interviews, first with the technical recruiter and if they advance in the process, they'd meet face-to-face with the hiring managers and/or others on the team.

JCI is seeking candidates for employment with: good communication skills, ability to get along well with others, driven, focused committed genuine interest in this type of work, attitude and aptitude are essential. The controls technicians should have the following technical skills: an understanding of controls, experience industry and/or school, ability to speak intelligently about maintaining - diagnosing and troubleshooting and entire HVACR system, computer familiarity, exposure and comfort level with electronics.

Controls technicians and service technicians will be enrolled the a five year apprenticeship program with the United Association (UA) This U.S. Department of Labor approved apprenticeship program provides the opportunity to complete an associates in HVACR, and provides trainees an in depth - area specific (classroom and on the job) training. Learn more about the UA at

Persons interested in seeking a job with any organization would be well advised to review the interview etiquette skills by downloading the power point presentation from the HVAC Excellence website.

The overwhelming theme is that Green is on the move! The UA is empowering their employee partners including JCI with green training by use of the HVACR Mobile Green Classroom (constructed by Hampden Engineering). This traveling, state of the art mobile classroom provides information about the latest green technologies and visualizes how a building can become more energy efficient, use fewer natural resources and have minimal impact on the environment.

During the second year of their apprenticeship, technicians undergo Green Awareness Training. This is a complete modular training program that covers: maximizing the energy efficiency of existing equipment, specifying the most efficient systems available for the application and the available budget, using renewable and sustainable fuel sources, and conserving water. This program was developed by HVAC Excellence and Ferris State University in conjunction with the Green Mechanical Council.

Take a virtual tour of the HVACR Mobile Green Classroom at

HVACR educators and trainers can join Johnson Controls and their partners in leading America into the Green Collar economy. Be and energy efficiency hero by providing proper training. Transition your training to green by downloading Johnson Controls power point presentation at

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