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September 2018
Interview

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Ed ArmstrongEMAIL INTERVIEW –  Ken Sinclair and Ed Armstrong

Edward “Ed” Armstrong is the Executive Director of the Energy Management Association.
He has worked in the trade association field for more than 20 years, with extensive experience in areas of resource conservation, technology, and manufacturing. Prior to his association career, he worked on Capitol Hill and as a journalist.



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Sinclair:  When we spoke about Automated Buildings continuing its relationship with CxEnergy as a media sponsor, you told me that a lot of good things have been happening with the Energy Management Association this year. That seems like a good place to begin this interview. What is all this good news?

Armstrong:  Thank you for asking, 2018 has been by far the most significant in EMA’s four-year history as a free-standing organization.

In March, we attained ANSI accreditation for our Energy Management Professional Certification (EMP), and that was followed shortly afterward by recognition from the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings® Workforce program.  

In addition, the EMP training seminar was completely revised to reflect the DOE Building Energy Manager scheme, exciting new programs and events are in development, and membership stands at an all-time high. All credit for this goes to the efforts of volunteers within EMA.

Ask anyone who has worked around the association business, and they will tell you that the strength of the organization is measured by the level of contribution of its members. To that end, the EMA has been blessed with a remarkable asset in its brief, but accomplished history. The level of contribution of this organization's members is simply unprecedented and without question the reason why the association has attained ANSI Accreditation and DOE Better Buildings Workforce recognition for its EMP credential in less than four years since its inception.

Sinclair:  Agreed that four years is young for an association, but a hugely significant four years in the history of the profession it represents, energy management.

Armstrong:  So true. A lot of it starts with and is driven by, the technologies that Automated Buildings covers so well. Intelligent and integrated building technologies are advancing at a dizzying pace. It’s incumbent for us to provide training that is responsive to not only the technology but helps energy managers to make use of the data, so they are not overwhelmed by a tsunami of numbers and are able to decipher and act upon that data in a manner that provides the greatest benefit to the building owner. 

Last year, when EMA’s training update team met to begin the process of revising our training seminar, we discussed the many areas of specialization that make up the energy management space. We soon realized that these categories were rapidly developing subcategories as well.

For example, utility engineers are moving beyond generation and distribution and into resiliency and countering cyber threats. Controls specialists are expanding offerings to include sophisticated monitoring, fault detection, and diagnostic systems including monitoring-based commissioning. Building energy managers are dealing with wellness issues alongside predictive maintenance of mechanical systems. Today, you can make a case for a CFO in a manufacturing concern being an EMP because of the complex financial implications of utility demand management programs, energy storage integration and even regulatory issues such as greenhouse gas emissions. This discussion could go on for hours.

Sinclair:  Okay, you convinced us. So how does EMA respond to these disparate training demands?

Armstrong:  Well the short answer is, thankfully, not alone. We are blessed to be situated with two excellent affiliated organizations. The AABC Commissioning Group (ACG), our parent organization, which administers the well-known (and also DOE Better Buildings-recognized) Certified Commissioning Authority (CxA) certification. And the Associated Air Balance Council (AABC), which establishes industry standards for the field measurement and documentation of HVAC systems and provides education, technical training, and certification for its members. Collectively, we have more than 600 member companies and about 2,000 professionals carrying one or more of our certifications.

Reliable Controls These groups, along with EMA, co-present the annual CxEnergy Conference & Expo, which provides an abundance of training and certification opportunities and is the keystone of the groups’ broader training programs.

Last year, for example, CxEnergy’s technical program provided sessions on topics from energy management and commissioning case studies from the education, healthcare and hospitality industries, to updates on key regulations and standards, to emerging technologies, such as drones and “energy efficiency as a service” financing mechanisms. On the certification side, there was EMP and CxA seminars and a test & balance seminar geared toward energy managers, building commissioning personnel and engineers. We awarded over 50 certifications and two-thousand continuing education units in less than four days.

We have issued a call for abstracts for presentations at CxEnergy 2019 (which has been extended to Sept. 14), I’m sure that many of Automated Buildings’ readers may be interested in participating. If you need further information on this, feel free to contact me (ed@EnergyMgmt.org).

Sinclair:  It sounds like you have developed a truly comprehensive training program through these associations. Is there an “on-demand” method of partaking in them?

Armstrong:  Absolutely. The primary repository for the slide presentations that accompanied the CxEnergy presentations is the ACG’s Research & Document Library.  If the video is your preference, we have a growing library of more than 50 well-produced CxEnergy presentations on our YouTube channel.

These are free resources, and we greatly appreciate the efforts of the presenters, many of whom are our members, in sharing their considerable expertise with the industry.

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