Placing a high value on continuing education not only improves your education, but also cultivates a strong professional network rooted in collaboration. All industries have specific designations to showcase professional credentials. For example, doctors have Ph.D, architects have AIA, educators have Ed.D and engineers have LEED. These letters not only indicate a specific wealth of knowledge, but also give insight into an individual’s values.
Designations indicate that the person is driven and motivated to learn new things. On any project it’s important to surround yourself with like-minded people that support the team effort. Team chemistry is integral to success, not to mention piece of mind.
In the energy services realm, solution providers have the CEM designation, which translates to Certified Energy Manager. This designation is accredited through the national Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) and is a widely recognized energy management certification. “The CEM is being requested more and more by building owners,” said Stephanie Drenten, CEM.
“The designation shows that you have an extensive knowledge of energy management and a comprehensive understanding of various types of systems.” Drenten received her CEM certification this year after being an Energy Manager in Training (EMIT) until she reached the required years of experience necessary to achieve the CEM.
Drenten explained that in our energy conscious society there are many professionals out there selling energy related projects, but they may not fully understand the ramifications of the improvements they suggest. The CEM provides energy professionals with an enhanced knowledge of a building’s infrastructure: the different types of systems in any given building, the functionality and intermingling of those systems, and where true energy costs are originating. It helps energy professionals continue to learn and grow in their field.
The CEM also helps energy professionals learn the nuances associated with various funding options. It’s no secret that energy conservation projects are expensive, but it helps that our federal and state governments have embraced the need for change. In May 2008, Ohio enacted clean energy legislation that mandates that utility giants reduce consumption by 22% by 2025. Because of this commitment to energy efficiency there are several funding options out there to help finance an energy project—not to mention ample rebate dollars available for the taking. CEMs are well versed on clean energy policy and pockets of funding, as well as ways to incorporate renewable energy into projects.
While continuing education is vital to success in all professional areas, it is critical when putting together a collaborative team. Constant learning and the expansion of your skills only makes you more efficient and effective. Sharing your challenges, learnings, and knowledge with others builds a powerful network rooted in collaboration—and that is the environment where the best projects thrive.