About the Building Energy Education Fundamentals Program

Q: Who created this training program?

A: The Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) created this training curriculum with guidance from building professionals, including architects, contractors, and code officials. SEDAC is an applied research and training program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Our mission is to reduce the energy footprint of Illinois and beyond.

Q: What is this training program about?

A: Our program teaches students how to design and construct more energy efficient buildings by introducing them to energy code basics. Our goal is to increase knowledge of building energy efficiency and energy codes and to raise awareness of energy efficiency and code professional careers. This program is funded by the Department of Energy and delivered in partnership with the State Energy Offices of Illinois, Nevada, and Hawaii.

Q: Why all the focus on energy codes?

A: Most building professionals need a basic understanding of the energy code these days, especially if they are engaged in new construction. In addition, we use the energy code as a vehicle to introduce basic energy efficiency and building science principles that professionals are likely to encounter in their work.

Q: Is your curriculum based on a specific version of a specific energy code?

A: No. We've tried to keep the principles general so that they are applicable for students in any state, no matter which code they use. Students are encouraged to look up requirements in the relevant code for their state. Although most references are from the 2018 IECC, we also include examples from ASHRAE 90.1-2016. We also provide examples from different climate zones. Many activities can be easily adjusted for the local applicable code.

Q: Will this training prepare students for a specific job and/or to sit for a certification exam?

A: The educational content in this program provides fundamental knowledge required for careers in building design & construction. Completing modules in this program will support existing training certification programs and will prepare students to pursue more in-depth training provided by other organizations such as the Building Performance Institute (BPI), the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), and the International Code Council (ICC).

Q: Who is the target audience for the training?

A: Our target audience is community college instructors and students in building design, construction, and sustainability fields. This program can also provide on-the-job training for entry-level mechanical and electrical contractors, architects, carpenters, and anyone who is interested in building energy efficiency.

Q: I teach for a union apprenticeship program. Can we use the modules?

A: Absolutely! We imagine that these modules will be useful for a wide variety of training programs for students and existing professionals.  High school teachers in industrial technology or construction may find the materials useful, with some adjustments.

Use our Modules

Q: Are the modules free to use?

A: Yes. These modules are sponsored by the Department of Energy, available to all.

Q: Do I need to use all of the modules to participate?

A: No! Use the modules, portions of modules, or activities and questions that are relevant to your existing courses. This training program contains 15 different modules on a variety of building energy efficiency and energy code topics. The modules are divided into smaller subsections and activities that can be easily incorporated into existing courses in community colleges per instructors’ needs.

Q: Can I use the curriculum as a whole? How much content is there?

A: Sure! Our modules would be appropriate for courses on building energy basics. The program contains 15 modules, each with a substantial quantity of material including presentations, activities, videos, quiz questions, and more. The materials would likely take at least a semester to get through.

Q: How do I know which materials are applicable to my class?

A: The instructor toolkit includes a complete list of available materials, as well as “playlists” of resources and teaching materials for common community college classes. We’ve included some samples and introductory videos to help you preview our content and decide which materials to use.

Q: How do I access the modules? How can my students access the modules?

The modules are located at our Moodle site: learn.smartenergy.illinois.edu. Instructors can sign up (for free) to access our modules. Presentations, activities, and other materials are available for download and then can be integrated into your lesson plans and shared with your students. You can also direct your students directly to the Moodle site where they can login to access materials and resources on their own. Answer keys and presentation notes are only available to instructors.

Q: Can my students work through the material on their own, or does the material need to be delivered by an instructor?

A: Most of the presentations and activities are meant to be used in the classroom, delivered by an instructor. However, some of the activities (such as student worksheets) can be assigned as homework, and presentations and resources can be provided to students to introduce or review the material.

Q: Can I adapt the content or modify the slides?

A: Yes. But please make sure to give credit to SEDAC and the Department of Energy when you use our materials and indicate any modifications you've made.

Q: Are the modules complete?

A: They are a work in progress. Material development is ongoing and quality improvements are continually made. Check back for the most current content, and feel free to provide feedback!

Engage with Us

Q: I noticed an error in your material. Can you fix it?

A: Certainly. We continue to refine our curriculum and are very appreciative of your feedback. Send us an email at energycode@illinois.edu and we can correct the error.

Q: How can I be involved with the program and get updates on the progress of the program?

A: Please contact our energy code team at energycode@illinois.edu or call us at 1-800-214-7954 or through the “contact us” page on our website: www.smartenergy.illinois.edu.