Why are energy management certifications important and how do you distinguish between the credentials?
As the world turns continues to reduce energy and use sustainable resources, it is easy to get caught up in the hype and the idea of saving a ton of money without checking the credentials of who is trying to sell you the next great thing. As a business owner, or consumer, it is important to know the various energy certifications, why they are important, and when to ask for the credentials.
Certified Energy Manager®
Certified Energy Manager® (CEM®) is a worldwide recognition from the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE). The AEE was established in 1981 and has been the leading body for certifying Energy Managers with a standard ANSE/ISO/IEC certification program. It is the most widely recognized energy management certification with over 15,500 active CEMs. To become a CEM, individuals are required to take classroom courses and have relevant work experience. The exam is monitored and governed by a 3rd party to ensure integrity of the exam. To maintain the certification, CEMs must continue to evolve their education on an annual basis.
A CEM optimizes solutions to reduce energy consumption, and they serve as a system integrator for electrical, mechanical, process and building infrastructure systems. Their strategic, cost effective approach often makes them candidates for leadership roles to develop and implement energy management strategies for the entire organization.
Tracy Markie, CEO of Small Box Energy is a CEM.
Certified Business Energy Professional
The Business Energy Professional (BEP) program, also created by the AEE, is specifically designed to raise the professional standards of those engaged in business/marketing, energy management, utility account management and customer service representative. This certification requires individuals to complete a classroom course and pass the exam. They must maintain a high level of competence and ethical fitness for business/marketing and energy management related disciplines, as well as follow laws governing and affecting energy professionals.
LEED Professional Credential
A LEED professional credential signifies someone is qualified as an active participant in the green building movement through design, construction, operations and maintenance of buildings and neighborhoods that save energy, use fewer resources, reduce pollution, and contribute to healthier environments for their occupants and the community. There are several certification types.
A LEED AP credential shows advanced knowledge in green building as well as expertise in a particular LEED rating system, for example Building Design & Construction, Operations & Maintenance, Interior Design & Construction, Home, and Neighborhood Development. LEED certified professionals must maintain their credential through on-going education and certification.
Certified Sustainable Building Advisor
An employee with the title of Certified Sustainable Building Advisor (CSBA) specializes in strategies and tools for implementing sustainable building. They work with architects, designers, builders, building operators, and utilities to identify and discuss the key practices of sustainable building and improve a building’s performance. Certification can be obtained through college courses.
Credential for Green Property Management
The National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) and National Apartment Association Education Institute (NAAEI) offer the Credential for Green Property Management (CGPM). The CGPM certification is tailored for on-site managers, maintenance staff, and supervisors of front-line staff. It provides management companies and owners a mechanism for meeting initial and ongoing training commitments to the HUD Office of Affordable Preservation (OAHP) if they have opted for a green Market-to-Market restructuring. Credential holders will learn the latest techniques and technologies for making cost-saving green improvements at properties
The CGPM is not restricted to employees of management companies who have opted for OAHP green restructuring. This credential will also benefit on-site managers, maintenance staff and supervisors of front-line staff at other affordable and conventional apartment communities employing green operations and maintenance practices.
These are the most common credentials; however, there are other certifications available.
The CEM credentials require a real-world experience and degrees. Small Box Energy has a program in place to certify key personnel after they have met the requirements.