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Laney College Receives $3.5 Million National Science Foundation Award

5 December 2012

Laney College Receives $3.5 Million National Science Foundation Award
Goal to Create National Center for Building Efficiency Technician Education

Laney College and its partners recently were awarded a prestigious $3.5 million, 4-year Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant from the National Science Foundation. Together with several other community colleges and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Laney will start up and lead the new Building Efficiency for a Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) Center. The BEST Center is the first National Science Foundation center to be dedicated to building systems technology and operations.

The aim of the Center is to promote building technician education, which improves energy-efficient and sustainable building operations in the United States. Technicians include building operators/ engineers and specialists in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R), lighting, controls, building automation, and energy management. Because homes and commercial facilities consume over 40% of energy used in the United States, technicians are vital for ensuring that buildings perform with comfort and reliability while reducing environmental impact and carbon footprint.

“The National Science Foundation award will allow Laney College to become a national hub for advocacy in this crucial area of climate change abatement through efficiency,” says Peter Crabtree, Principal Investigator and Dean of Career and Technical Education at Laney College.

“Building technicians are becoming increasingly important agents of sustainability efforts. Having been supported by NSF for the past eight years to develop cutting-edge curriculum, we are honored to offer our expertise along with our partner institutions to make a significant impact in this country.”

To carry out its mission, the Center is partnering with a network of colleges from around the country. Key partners include Georgia Piedmont Technical College in metro Atlanta and Milwaukee Area Technical College. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley are also key partners. The Center will advocate for energy-efficient buildings, advance community college programs in building technician fields, work with businesses and research labs, and strengthen STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) pathways from high school to college. The BEST Center will develop and distribute educational resources, host instructor workshops, and support collaborations to meet the urgent need for skilled workers in sustainable building operations.

For more information, contact Peter Crabtree, Dean of Career and Technical Education at Laney College, 510-464-3218 pcrabtree@peralta.edu

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