Mar 26, 2015


Vancouver, BC - A new nine-course certificate program offered through Langara College Continuing Studies aims to help building and property managers get a handle on how energy is being used in their premises. Armed with that knowledge, they can work with specialists to bring about energy efficiency measures in their buildings.

The Energy Management Certificate program is offered by Langara Continuing Studies' Real Estate department. John Neuls, who coordinates the program, said the certificate was developed in partnership with Natural Resources Canada.

"Most people have a really good knowledge of the documents necessary in order to run a business for managing a property," said Neuls. What many managers don't know, he explained, is how to reduce operating costs on a building.

Neuls used to be a property manager himself, and knows full well what the job entails. They all have utility and energy bills that they routinely pay without tracking, he explained, suggesting that cost-effective energy savings are often possible.

The best way to reduce operating costs, according to Neuls, is to implement energy conservation strategies throughout a property. This is true, he added, whether the buildings in question are commercial, industrial, or residential.

Some of the biggest energy consumers for a typical property are boilers and lighting, said Neuls. Monitoring usage and turning things on and off based on usage patterns can reduce energy use dramatically, he added.

When he was still managing properties, Neuls was responsible for installing the first computerized, digital control system in Surrey in 1985, before the Internet as we know it. "That system operated seven buildings," he recalled, "and was the only one in Canada at the time."

"Today's technology is light years ahead," he admitted. Building systems can instantly deliver information to mobile devices, and a manager in Vancouver can change the temperature in a building in Prince Rupert.

"Property owners reap the biggest benefit from energy reduction," said Neuls. The advantage for managers is that they can fund other projects with the money saved on energy bills. "Every upgrade makes the building more valuable."

The certificate program will help building and property managers learn enough technical knowledge that they can work with efficiency experts, contractors and engineers who can help them design a plan to reduce energy use, and implement it effectively.

One course, Energy Management Financing, details the various grants that are available from utilities and governments that can help fund energy efficiency projects and upgrades. And Spot the Energy Savings helps the novice to look at energy bills and determine where consumption cutbacks are possible.

There are also courses on systems that can be used to track and automate usage.

Earning the certificate requires the completion of nine courses, most of which are only seven hours and cost $430, but building and property managers can also take individual courses depending on what kind of professional development they are looking for.

This article was originally published March 20, 2015, on the BC Hydro website here.