Building contractors doing business in Kane County will be trained in the latest energy-efficient construction techniques through a partnership between Elgin Community College, Kane County and the U.S. Department of Energy. The first 10 of 30 selected contractors will begin study this fall to earn a certificate in renewable energy construction.

“This type of partnership is what the Division of Sustainability, Safety and Career Technologies is all about,” said Jeff Boyd, EdD, the division’s dean. “We will be able to train the builders who work on homes and businesses throughout the county  in terms of maximizing a building’s use of natural light, increasing energy efficiency and in reducing their reliance on tools and equipment powered by fossil fuels.”

The new certificate is part of the college’s energy management program, which offers a degree or a vocational certificate to students training for careers in the industry. Coursework is in the areas of building siting and shell design, energy auditing, wind energy, heating and air conditioning systems, and passive solar heating.

Designed in cooperation with Kane County, the renewable energy construction certificate serves the immediate needs of contractors who build energy-efficient structures, and install and service renewable energy systems throughout the Fox Valley. Ten contractors selected by ECC will begin on Monday, Aug. 23.  A second group of 10 will begin in spring 2011 and the final group begins in fall 2011. 

The Kane County Department of Facilities, Subdivision and Environmental Resources will provide ECC with $100,000 for program development, tuition and fees for participants, and instructional supplies and equipment. The funds are part of an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant awarded to Kane County from the U.S. Department of Energy.

“This training will expand the skills of the workforce in the Elgin community and provide an opportunity to penetrate building efficiencies deeper into the renovation and new housing markets,” said Karen Ann Miller, executive director of Kane County Development Department.