Month: November, 2014

20 Nov

O&M Trainings Sweep the Nation

Leyna O'Neill Uncategorized

Bright's Sam Weisenberg teaches maintenance staff in the field

Bright’s Sam Weisenberg teaches maintenance staff in the field

Streamlined building operations and maintenance means fewer surprises – the bad kind of surprises – the ones that cost time, money and resources. The last thing you want is to find yourself paying out of pocket for a steam pipe burst on Christmas Eve, only to realize it could’ve been avoided. These things happen! Well, Bright Power and Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) believe that they happen a lot less with an operations and maintenance staff that knows what to look for.

In May 2013, SAHF and its members launched the Big Reach initiative with the goal of reducing portfolio-wide energy and water use by 20% by 2020 – a goal they see as an important step to reaching the ultimate goal ofaffordable housing preservation. This initiative, paired with the Better Buildings Challenge, strengthened their commitment to achieving and maintaining energy and water efficiency throughout their portfolio. They soon realized that streamlined operations and maintenance was a key strategy for achieving these goals, and Bright Power was happy to help them pursue them.

Bright Power partnered with SAHF to develop a Mutlifamily Energy and Water Management Toolkitwhich includes practical, free resources for O&M such as checklists, references and tip sheets. We’re also collaborating on a series of nation-wide trainings for SAHF members on energy- and water-efficient operations and maintenance. Each city will host Bright Power’s trainers and local O&M professionals for a two day session that includes lectures in the classroom and hands-on experience in the field.


So far this month, SAHF and Bright Power have held trainings in Washington, DC and Boston. Trainings were attended by staff from Homes for America, the National Housing TrustPreservation of Affordable Housing(POAH), The Community Builders and Volunteers of America. The DC training was held on-site at a National Housing Trust property, the St. Dennis Apartments. Attendees walked through the site with Bright Power trainers Mark Pando and Jon Braman, identifying energy and water savings opportunities in the property before delving into a curriculum focused on small HVAC maintenance. In Boston, POAH’s historic Kenmore Abbey hosted a training focused on central heating.

Attendees shared insights into their processes for dealing with maintenance headaches at their site and learned about the many ways their work affects energy and water savings. The curriculum deals not only with maintaining specific systems like heating, DHW, HVAC lighting and water, but also the communication practices and tracking systems that get to the core of O&M, preventing problems before they arise and making sure they’re quickly solved if and when they do come up.

Take a look at some of the topics covered:




Building maintenance staff are on the front lines of energy and water efficiency. They have the power to make their buildings run like a well-oiled machine or let things fall apart. They have to take care of tenants, manage vendors, respond to their bosses, make sure buildings pass inspections for HUD, etc. It’s a tough job! We’re focused on empowering them with skills and knowledge to keep them in the driver’s seat when it comes to energy and water use in their buildings. With a more managed, proactive approach at the building level, SAHF is well on their way to hitting their energy and water goals across their portfolio.

Leyna O’Neill