National Science Foundation Supports Laney College BEST Center with $4 Million Grant

Kristen Parrish
Mary Ann Piette
September 2012

The National Science Foundation has announced that it is funding the Building Efficiency for a Sustainable Tomorrow at Laney College, Oakland California, with a four-year four million dollar grant. The BEST Center will develop curricula for two-year colleges throughout the U.S. to educate building control technicians, incorporating energy-efficient technologies and practices.

Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will contribute to the BEST Center by providing the latest research in energy-efficient building technologies. Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division will provide technical information, as well as webinars or guest lectures to Laney College students.

“The focus will be on infusing energy efficiency wherever possible into the curricula for building technicians in two-year community college programs,” says Kristen Parrish, former Post-Doctoral scholar at Berkeley Lab, now an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University’ School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. “Berkeley Lab’s participation in the project will allow Laney College students to connect with Berkeley Lab’s research community and learn about cutting edge research,” adds Parrish.

The Center will leverage Laney’s NSF-sponsored work to create certificate and degree programs to prepare technicians to maintain and optimize the performance of commercial buildings. BEST will provide its curricula to community colleges across the U.S.

Laney College has offered courses in building technician education for more than 40 years. With the support of the National Science Foundation, Laney has expanded its Environmental Controls Technology program to include building automation systems, energy efficiency, and commercial building technician education. A goal of Laney’s ECT program is to prepare technicians to be “change agents” in implementing cost-effective energy efficiency measures in commercial and residential buildings.

EETD’s Mary Ann Piette, Head of the Building Technologies and Urban Systems Department, and James O’Donnell will work with Laney College staff on the BEST Center.

Allan Chen