Pathways - The Magazine of Community College of Philadelphia

Forward Thinking

New Building Science Programs
Champion Forward Thinking

New Building Science ProgramCommunity College of Philadelphia’s Building Science associate’s degree and Energy Conservation Academic Certificate programs, set to debut in Fall 2011, have been created in direct response to the high-demand career needs of the region. Building Science, in fact, expects to have 25 students in its first class.

Among the significant factors that led to the development of this program is energy and its rising cost, specifically the need to use less, conserve more, reduce our carbon footprint and build smarter in this age of green awareness. Our Construction Management curriculum focuses on how this affects new buildings; now our Building Science curriculum will focus on existing buildings, both residential and commercial. In addition to a revised Construction Safety and Building Codes course, the Building Science Curriculum incorporates three new courses: Construction Supervision and Business Practices, examining management functions as they relate to the construction industry; Energy Auditing, Remediation and Monitoring, emphasizing how to identify major energy-related problems and prioritize solutions based on demonstrable building science principles and cost benefit analysis; and Alternative and Renewable Energy Systems, emphasizing those energy technologies focusing on realistic energy conversion to meet today’s constantly evolving demand for sustainable development.

The overarching focus of the Building Science program is to have a curriculum that prepares people to learn to improve and perfect the building envelope by creating a superior air seal, so that the outside stays outside, and the inside stays inside. The science lies in viewing each structure as the organic, living, breathing entity that it is.

In addition, the College is entering into exciting industry collaborations in this arena. For one, our new Energy Conservation Academic Certificate program is part of a vital partnership with the Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA), which helps train people to conserve energy while promoting a sustainable, socially equitable energy future for all in the Philadelphia region. The proposed weatherization apprenticeship program at ECA, based in a former Kensington factory, has created a significant new career ladder based on stackable credentials whereby an installer progresses to a building energy analyst.

Walt Yakabosky, ECA’s director of Training explains: “Energy conservation, or reducing the demand for energy, is our most cost-effective energy resource. We lack a highly skilled, well educated workforce that understands Building Science and how energy is consumed in buildings. ECA's extensive knowledge in this area and ability to train the production workforce, combined with the College's excellent track record in its Architecture, Design and Construction department, formed the basis for a win-win partnership model, one providing a continuum of education and training. Together, we recognize that credentialing America's Energy Workforce is the Department of Energy's number one priority.”

The Building Science and Energy Conservation programs highlight areas where Community College of Philadelphia is structured to quickly provide the skills needed for sustainable career growth.