Image: Scenes from around campus

32 Colleges Gather at Laney College BEST Center’s Annual Institute

5 January 2018

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On January 3-6, 2018, BEST Center will host its fourth Annual Institute for community and technical college educators home campus at Laney College in Oakland, and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) in Berkeley, CA. 43 faculty members from 32 U.S. colleges will be seeking to improve or start new programs in commercial HVAC, energy management, and building automation. This year’s Institute’s theme, “Buildings as Information Systems”, intends to draw a clear, direct line from managing high-performance buildings and to enhancing energy conservation and occupant health. Jerry Yudelson, author of Reinventing Green Buildings, will provide the keynote address while focusing on green building and energy management trends.

Greeted by Peralta Community College District Chancellor, Jowel C. Laguerre, Ph.D., participants This year will explore hear from many leading experts the theme through special guests and explore, tailored activities tailored for classroom use and peer-to-peer presentations. 

“Laney College and Peralta have been a leader in sustainability,” Chancellor Laguerre said. 

“We are pleased the BEST center has continued to be a magnet for educators all over the United States to learn about and debate issues that befall us as a community.  Their exploration on how to reform the preparation of building engineers and maintenance workers is a good example of preparing the adequate workforce for today and tomorrow,” the Chancellor added. 

Here are some highlights of this year’s event:


  • Virtual tools for teaching retro-commissioning and controls.
  • Hands-on networking and programming of open architecture building control systems.
  • Troubleshooting exercise at LBNL’s FLEXLAB to study Microgrids and energy storage: A way to optimize building performance while being resilient in case of catastrophic events.
  • FLEXLAB data-loggers activity: A troubleshooting exercise to demonstrate the impact of HVAC economizers. 
  • Berkeley LabLBNL presentations on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Smart Energy Analytics Campaign, battery storage, building energy management tools and techniques, and battery storage research sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Microgrids and energy storage for integration of local renewable energy sources and enhancing building resilience. 
  • Energy audit of Logic Blocks: Hands-on teaching techniques to show open access architecture for controls systems software.
  • Peer-to-peer presentations on Leveraging best practices in curriculum development, hands-on lab activities, student recruitment, program development and BAS integration into commercial HVAC curriculum 
“BEST Center is always excited to bring together its educators who have been instrumental to the growth of our cutting-edge programs and student success,” says Peter Crabtree, BEST Principal Investigator and Laney’s Dean of Career and Technical Education. “As their workforce ages, employers are simultaneously challenged to find the next generation of technicians who can support innovative building technologies and a vibrant commercial marketplace. In response, our faculty has committed to invigorate their curricula and supply companies with graduates possessing the advanced technical skills so badly needed.”
About BEST Center: 
The Building Efficiency for a Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) Center supports publicly funded 2-year colleges with programs in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R), building automation controls, and energy/facilities management. Sponsored by Advanced Technological Education grants from the National Science Foundation, this national collaborative promotes state-of-the-art building technician education and dissemination of the latest research, technology, and industry collaborations in energy-efficient buildings.


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