Everblue Training Institute
The 1970s brought a storm of energy crises down upon the United States and the world in the form of oil shortages, fluctuating energy costs and blackouts, which spurred research into sustainable building and energy independence. Fifty years later, green building has gone from a fringe interest to the fastest growing sector of construction.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) cites a 2015 study by Booz Allen Hamilton stating that green builders contributed more than $134 billion in labor wages to Americans and that green building would account for more than a third of U.S. construction jobs by the year 2018.
It’s the way of the future, and brothers Chris and Jon Boggiano recognized this potential back in 2008 when they founded their corporate construction training company Everblue Training Institute.
Formats for all styles and schedules
Chris and Jon, both West Point graduates, served tours in Iraq and other locations and saw firsthand the complications caused by a dependence on foreign oil. Once stateside, they saw another way to serve their country in promoting energy independence through training professionals in sustainable building development. Their courses cover an array of disciplines including Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), solar energy, and certifications from the Building Performance Institute (BPI) and Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET).
Sid Bergstresser, managing director of Everblue and a fellow West Point graduate, says that in addition to the goal of promoting energy independence, Everblue is committed to helping professionals advance in their careers.
Everblue offers its workshops and training classes in over 50 locations worldwide and is run by a lean staff of seven full-time employees and 28 contract instructors. The company is able to have such a wide footprint with a comparatively small staff because it travels to its clients, sometimes meeting with small groups or individuals in their own offices. Everblue also uses online tools like on-demand webinars to help students with tight schedules.
“We want there to be options for everyone regardless of their situation,” Bergstresser says.
LEEDing the pack
Everblue has developed a reputation as a leader in green building education, Bergstresser says, and is one of the USGBC’s longest standing educational partners. Some of Everblue’s earliest courses, and the most popular today, are geared towards the USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
Individual buildings become LEED certified by meeting a long list of criteria; however, individual business owners and contractors can get a separate set of LEED credentials, thus becoming LEED accredited, by passing an exam. The credentials help construction and engineering professionals indicate their knowledge of best green building practices to clients and other contractors.
Everblue has become a partner of the USGBC such that USGBC reached out to Everblue for help developing its own training classes and prep materials for LEED v4 back in 2013. To date, Everblue’s students have had a 99 percent pass rate when taking LEED accreditation exams.
Teaching beyond the test, not to it
There’s no trick or unique software behind Everblue’s success rate. Instead, Bergstresser says much of it comes from finding instructors who are active in their field and passionate about teaching.
The aim, Bergstresser says, is to cultivate passion and expertise in sustainability, not just to teach to the tests.
He finds that course participants have been successful on the LEED exams because Everblue’s instructors and curriculum team value the learning process and discourage attendees from simply memorizing material. Bergstressersays that Everblue’s online learning platform is interactive and supportive.
If students choose an incorrect answer, the program will explain why the answer is incorrect and give supplemental information and sources.
Sustainability and employment hand-in-hand
Everblue teaches a host of other professional development courses beyond LEED Exam Prep. It is one of the only private companies in the United States that offers prep courses for the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) and is the largest nation-wide trainer for Building Performance Institute (BPI), Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) and North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certifications.
The NABCEP certification helps professionals become solar panel and thermal collector installers, a burgeoning job market that Bergstresser says is projected to grow 24 percent by 2024. That’s nearly two and a half times the growth of all other construction trades.
Moving forward, Everblue may offer an even wider array of classes, some of them geared towards general business training rather than building.
“We start out training business owners how to install solar, but in the future we might help them learn best business practices or sales and management leadership or maybe even cybersecurity,” says Bergstresser, though he was clear that these plans are in their early stages.
For now, Bergstresser says Everblue will continue to stay focused on training the country’s sustainable workforce and helping individuals learn more about the impact that the environment has on the way Americans do business and live their lives.
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