Posted by & filed under News.


If you missed our January 2017 webinar called “ACE Mentor Program – Pathway to Community Colleges and the Skilled Trades”, you can watch it on our videos page.You will hear about ACE Mentor programs at Kirkwood Community College, Cuyahoga Community College, and Laney College. A downloadable copy of the presentation is also available. Enjoy!


Posted by & filed under News.

2017 Annual Institute Press Release (92 downloads)

Oakland, California – January 11, 2017 – BEST Center (Building Efficiency for a Sustainable Tomorrow) will host 37 faculty from 27 community and technical colleges from all corners of the U.S. for a 4-day Annual Institute to be held at Laney College and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The event will be held from January 11 – 14, 2017 and is organized by BEST Center, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Center of Excellence based at Laney College in Oakland, CA.

This year’s theme is “Learning by Doing in Building Technician Education: New Technologies, Teaching Strategies, and Lab Applications,” and the focus will be on intensive hands-on exercises to demonstrate how concepts and new practices can be brought to the classroom. Berkeley Lab’s building technology scientists will share the latest research, technology, and tools. Industry experts working on some of the world’s most innovative buildings will share their experiences and insights on real world applications, scenarios, and data.

Participants will visit the regional offices of DPR Construction in San Francisco for a tour and update on maintaining Zero Net Energy buildings. At Laney College, there will be activities with Building Automation System Trainers that can be easily replicated by students. Participants will experiment with data loggers in different environmental conditions by utilizing Berkeley Lab’s FLEXLAB®, the world’s most advanced building efficiency test bed.

Institute highlights:
-“Tools & Processes for Improved Building Operations” with Michelle Daniels (US General Services Administration), Jay Santos (Facility Dynamics Engineering), and Paul Ehrlich (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

-“Zero Net Energy Controls Design and Facilities Management” by Janey Kaster (Honeywell) and Edmundo Martinez (DPR Construction)

-“Zero Net Energy Buildings: a Primer” by Edward Dean (Architect & author of Zero Net Energy: Case Study Buildings, Vols. I & II) and Can Anbarlilar (PG&E)

-“Commercial Building Energy Saver” by Kaiyu Sun, Tianzhen Hong, and Mary Ann Piette (all with Berkeley Lab)

-“Extreme Weather Conditions in the Face of Climate Change” by Michael Wehner (Berkeley Lab)

“We are fortunate to gather together educators and experts to share new innovations and best practices in the world of building efficiency,” states Peter Crabtree, BEST Center Principal Investigator and Laney College Dean of Career and Technical Education. “We are inspired by the commitment of our members and hope that the discussions on climate and building science mixed with the technical, hands-on activities will help make their own programs more effective for their students.”

About BEST Center
The Building Efficiency for a Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) Center supports publicly funded 2-year colleges with programs in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R), building automation controls, and energy/facilities management. Sponsored by Advanced Technological Education grants from the National Science Foundation, this national collaborative promotes state-of-the-art building technician education and dissemination of the latest research, technology, and industry collaborations in energy efficient buildings.

For more information, go to:;;;

Media Contact: Pamela Wallace, BEST Center Director
900 Fallon Street, Library Room 307, Oakland, CA 94607  
(510) 464-3248;

Posted by & filed under News.

Robert Croom and David Stuart at BAS V.


As 2016 comes to an end, the team at BEST Center would like to wish you a very warm and Happy Holiday season. We look forward to seeing your faces in mid-January for our Annual Institute. Until then, here’s an update on what’s happening:

Welcome, Victor Garcia!

Please help us welcome Victor Garcia, MPA, Ed.D., our new Coordinator. Victor has over 10 years of experience in program administration with community colleges, CSU and UC systems. Most recently he has been a consultant to educational and philanthropic organizations like the Marin Community Foundation and the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Enrichment Program. Victor is bringing a lot of expertise in program administration which will assist the BEST Center in managing its activities and College Network.

Our Annual Institute is Coming! 

Our annual gathering of members is right around the corner, Jan 11-14, 2017 to be precise. The theme is “Learning by Doing in Building Technician Education: New Technologies, Teaching Strategies, and Lab Applications,” and we are planning hands-on activities, tours, and sessions to support it. We are almost at capacity but the deadline to apply has been extended till Thursday, Dec 15 at 5pm PT. Read more.

Webinar: ACE Mentor – Building Pathways from High School to College 

On January 26, 2017 will we host our next webinar that will feature the ACE Mentor Program. Providing after-school activities supported by volunteers from the design and construction industry, ACE Mentor’s mission is to engage, excite and enlighten high school students to pursue careers in architecture, construction, engineering, and the building trades. This webinar will highlight how community and technical colleges can get involved with local ACE high school teams to promote the building trades and  pathways to certificate and associate degree programs; stay tuned for more info. Register here. 

New HPBOP Training in January 2017 at Laney College, Oakland

BEST Center has teamed up with SoCal Edison and Building Owners and Managers Association of California (BOMA California) to kick-off an exciting 12-session High Performance Building Operations Professionals training for in-state building engineers and technicians. Emphasis will be on lab-focused exercises that help prepare participants to manage their own buildings to become high performance facilities of the future. If you know individuals who might qualify for this training, please share this newsletter and encourage them to register on the BEST Center website. Read more.


Take a Virtual Lab Tour

Virtual lab videos from GA Piedmont Technical College, College of DuPage and Lane Community College are now available for viewing. If you would like to see the lab spaces, equipment and how they all translate to curriculum, then spend some time soaking in the technical details and teaching philosophies provided by BEST Network members Jeryll McWhorter, Bob Clark, Bruce Alford, and Josh Manders.

Equipment and Software Discounts

In collaboration with industry leaders, BEST Center is pleased to extend discounts for equipment and software licenses to our members developing instructional labs. Automated Logic, Honeywell, Siemens and Triatek have all agreed to offer 40% (in some cases more) off their list prices to educational members of BEST Center. Be sure to give a shout out to our awesome industry leaders! Read more.


News to share?

Please add to your email lists so we are in the loop on news in your programs.


Contact Us

As always, please contact us if you are in need of support and/or resources to advance your HVAC and building automation programs.


“This one trend, climate change, affects all trends.”

– U.S. President Barack Obama, December 1, 2015, at the COP21 conference in Paris. He continued to say “If we let the world keep warming as fast as it is and sea levels rising as fast as they are, and weather patterns keep shifting in more unexpected ways, then before long we are going to have to devote more and more and more of our economic and military resources not to growing opportunity for our people, but to adapting to the various consequences of a changing planet.”


BEST Center is funded by
a National Science Foundation
Advanced Technological
Education Grant.

Posted by & filed under News.


The BEST Center has worked with our industry partners to provide discounts on equipment, software and software licenses to support teaching labs of the faculty in the BEST Center network.  Here are some details:



Faculty will be able to purchase ALC controls for about $800 for the software which can be loaded on multiple computers in classrooms, as long as they are on the same campus. This is GSA pricing which is approximately 40% off list prices. Software upgrades will be provided free of charge. Please contact your local distributor.  If there are any problems please contact Larry Bacher at:

Cochrane Supply will offer Vykon (Tridium) equipment and software for use in the teaching laboratories for BEST Center Network Colleges at a discounted rate of 40% off list price.  Please contact Nicole Conklin at 248-930-9847 or



Faculty will be able to purchase Honeywell controls at GSA contract pricing levels which, is approximately 40% off list prices. Software upgrades will be provided free of charge.  Please contact your local Honeywell Branch for assistance. If you need further assistance you may contact the GSA Coordinator for Honeywell, Tracy Smith at:


Through coordination with ACP, Siemens will offer discounts of up to 40% on BAS equipment that will be used for educational purposes.  In order to take advantage of this educational discount as well as to initiate discussions on installation, maintenance, program involvement, etc., please work through your local Siemens branch office, keeping in mind that there may be a cap on the number of discounts that can be offered.  If you need an introduction to the local Siemens branch in order to start down this path, please contact Steve Hoiberg at


Triatek will offer discounted rates are well over 50% off normal institutional pricing. The first option includes a new fume hood as well as the controls. These are budgetary proposals, and Triatek will consult with each institution to be sure the system works as needed and in the parameters of their training laboratory. Triatek will also provide technicians to set up and commission the equipment. Triatek will donate the cost of the labor and ask the institution to only cover actual travel costs.


Please contact Pam Wallace ( with any general questions regarding discounts with our industry partners.

Posted by & filed under News.

From a recent message from the US Dept of Energy:

“In March of 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy released the agency’s first annual analysis of how changes in America’s energy profile are affecting national employment in multiple energy sectors. The report provides a broad view of the national current energy employment landscape and can provide community college faculty, administration and staff, with a clearer picture of how changes in energy technology, systems, and usage are affecting the economy and creating or displacing jobs in the nation and in their region. This includes trends in projected job growth and industry hiring difficulty that can potentially translate into job and career opportunities for students as well as provide useful data for workforce development, and course creation.”

U.S. Energy and Employment Report 2016

We will post the 2017 report when it is made available in early 2017.

Posted by & filed under News.

BEST Center members developing their own instructional labs will enjoy a virtual tour of the labs at College of DuPage and Lane Community College. Joining the Georgia Piedmont Technical College lab video, these new videos will give you a sense of COD’s micro-sized commercial “building” lab concept and LCC’s “A Building the Teaches” living lab concept. Check out our Instructional Labs for the videos and more information.

Posted by & filed under News.

BEST Center Building at Laney College

There’s a new building currently under construction at Laney College that will bear the BEST Center name. Lots of progress has been made since the groundbreaking in February 2016.  View the progress first hand when you join us for the 2017 Annual Institute or check out the live cam here.

From the February announcement:

Both Test Houses are designed to reflect typical conditions encountered in market-rate housing and the Classroom will meet rigorous “Passivhaus” standards; aiming to achieve Net Zero Energy, meaning that it must produce as much energy as its systems consume. Environmentally beneficial features include harvesting of rainwater for gardens; windows and roof vents that provide natural ventilation; windows located to maximize daylight & views; solar technologies; efficiencies in mechanical and HVAC systems; and many others.

Notably, this building, is designed to achieve a LEED Platinum certification , and perhaps will be the first classroom in California to meet Passive House standards. It is also designed to meet and exceed standards for zero-net energy design, using building-integrated photovoltaic panels.




Posted by & filed under News.

Fall Greetings!

As fall arrives, we hope you enjoyed your summer and are diving into the new school year with gusto! The team at BEST Center is busy with a number of projects and initiatives to support your programs. Here’s an update:
Jon Zeh of Sacramento City College at BAS V

Colleges Receiving Grant Awards!

Let’s congratulate the colleges that were recently awarded grants to support and expand their programs. The National Science Foundation has awarded Raritan Valley Community College in New Jersey, Valencia College in Florida, and Lane Community College in Oregon. Perkins Funds were granted to Laramie County Community College in Wyoming to construct BAS trainers similar to the trainer featured at Georgia Piedmont Technical College. We look forward to the great things to come from these programs.

5th Building Automation Systems Workshop

BEST Center held the latest BAS workshop this past June at Georgia Piedmont Technical College in Clarkston, GA. Thanks to the GPTC team and Co-PI Brian Lovell for curating an inspiring and educational event. Workshop catch phrase: “repeatable, reliable terminations”. Read more.

New BAS Lab at Georgia Piedmont Technical College

GPTC’s new lab, finished in time for the BAS V workshop, was a BEST Center priority. It showcased a well-planned and fully integrated commercial HVAC and controls lab in a compact space of 1600 sf.

Virtual Lab Videos to Aid Program Development

Developing an instructional lab can easily inundate lone faculty. BEST Center created lab tours to offer glimpses into different kinds of labs from all corners of the country. Check out the GPTC virtual lab tour. College of DuPage and Lane Community College lab tours will be coming soon. Hopefully these videos will help keep you motivated, connected, and efficient.

Siemens Commitment

BAS V attendees heard first hand from Siemens representatives who announced an educational discount on equipment purchases nationwide. Additionally, Siemens is eager to develop student internships with their regional offices. Reach out to Pamela Wallace for more info at


BEST partnered with Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, and San Diego Gas & Electric to design and deliver a California High Performance Building Operations Professional (HPBOP) Training program to enhance the skills of incumbent building technicians.
Before designing the HPBOP training, BEST conducted a DACUM (Developing A Curriculum) with subject matter experts from public and private sectors who identified the duties and skills required by technician-level jobs.
The DACUM results are being validated nationally by the industry organizations with the assistance of BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association). Read more.

Sporlan Training

Thanks to Bob Clark of College of DuPage for coordinating the involvement of BEST Center members at the Sporlan training event at their Washington, MO headquarters in early August.  Six colleges (three BEST members) attended the in-depth technical instruction designed to help educators understand the complexities of their products. Attendees also toured Sporlan’s manufacturing and research facilities and were given copies of the educational materials used during the training.  The training was an educator pilot program that is expected to be offered again.

News to share?

Please add to your email lists so we are in the loop on news in your programs.

Contact Us

As always, please contact us if you are in need of support and/or resources to advance your HVAC and building automation programs.

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.
– Chief Seattle


BEST Center is funded by
a National Science Foundation
Advanced Technological
Education Grant.

Posted by & filed under News.

27 College Faculty from Around the Nation Learn about Advancements in Lab Design and Exercises

BAS V press release (58 downloads)


June 11, 2016 – ATLANTA – BEST Center, a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Center, and Georgia Piedmont Technical College, both leaders in building automation systems (BAS) education, convened faculty from around the country for the semi-annual Building Automation Systems Workshop.

Now in its fifth installment, the BAS Workshop convened 27 faculty and program administrators from 23 technical and community colleges from around the U.S. for a four-day workshop about laboratory development best practices. The workshop featured speakers from GPTC staff and student graduates, Siemens national and regional executives, Laney College and BEST Center. It covered topics such as the connection between labs and curriculum, subnetwork wiring, BACnet MS/TP installation, lab building experiences, and development of train-the-trainer sites. Participants came from Oregon, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Florida, among many others and convened at the beautiful Georgia Piedmont Conference Center and BAS laboratory in Clarkston, GA.

“By demand, this year’s workshop was designed to assist colleges that are planning to build or enhance BAS instructional laboratories by providing recommendations on everything from garnering administration support to partnering with industry to lab design concepts for optimal student learning”, said Brian Lovell, Co-Principal Investigator, BEST Center and event organizer. “Each presentation delved into different aspects of setting up a lab and was paired with hands on exercises to demonstrate best practices and industry expectations.”

“Our workshop enables colleges to plan and build laboratory environments that mimic likely real-world scenarios so college graduates are career ready”, said Peter Crabtree, Principal Investigator for BEST Center and Career and Technical Education Dean, Laney College. “High functioning labs are the key ingredient to successful deployments of a well-trained workforce prepared to monitor, maintain and improve buildings for energy efficiency.”

“Georgia Piedmont is a leader in providing affordable pathways to high demand, high paying careers. This BAS workshop with the BEST Center is the latest example in our continued commitment to our students to be a model in the industry and for colleges around the country, not to mention a necessary resource for the Greater Atlanta community”, said Dr. Jabari Simama, Georgia Piedmont’s President.

“This workshop was the result of significant work and time by Georgia Piedmont’s building automation faculty and the BEST Center team.  It is one of the major examples of how successful partnerships between community/technical colleges and industry partners can result in providing relevant and vibrant learning experiences for current and future students. Georgia Piedmont is proud to be on the cutting edge of instruction in the building automation area,” stated Dr. Ivan Harrell, Executive Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs at Georgia Piedmont.

About BEST Center

The Building Efficiency for a Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) Center supports publicly funded 2- and 4-year colleges with programs in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R), building automation controls, and energy/facilities management. Sponsored by ATE grants from the National Science Foundation, this national collaborative promotes state-of-the-art building technician education and dissemination of the latest research, technology, and industry collaborations in energy efficient buildings. Technical and community college faculty in HVAC and building automation programs are encouraged to join the BEST Center’s Network of Colleges.

About Georgia Piedmont Technical College

Established in 1961, Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) is one of the top technical colleges in Georgia.  As a student-centered institution, GPTC prepares individuals with the skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing, global economy.  GPTC’s graduation rate is more than 63 percent, and its graduates secure employment at a level resulting in a 97.3 percent placement rate. The college has 12 learning centers in DeKalb, Newton, Rockdale and Morgan counties. Georgia Piedmont Technical College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin, ethnicity, pregnancy, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, or genetic information. Contact the ADA Coordinator at 404/297-9522, ext. 1154, or the Title IX Coordinator at 404/297-9522, ext. 1176, for assistance.

For more information:

Pamela Wallace, Director, BEST Center,