The first Ventilation Verification Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) pilot course for training coordinators and instructors was offered via virtual platform by the International Training Institute (ITI), the educational arm of the unionized sheet metal industry, May 25-27. The course was led by Cary Norberg, ITI field staff representative, with the help of ITI service and testing, adjusting and balancing (TAB) specialists Lisa Davis and Darrell Garrison, and Testing, Adjusting and Balancing Bureau (TABB) Hall of Famer Pat Pico of Sheet Metal Workers Local 104.

Ventilation Verification is a physical assessment of the existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system completed by a skilled, trained and certified technician. The result is a report design professionals can rely on in order to make recommendations for adjustments, repairs, upgrades or replacements. These reports help school districts and building owners can make educated decisions on the proposed improvements of their indoor air quality — from virus mitigation to carbon dioxide level control.

Although the National Energy Management Institute (NEMI) began a push for a Ventilation Verification program before the pandemic, the need for clean air has since moved into the public health spotlight. A quick pivot allowed for NEMI leadership to be at the forefront of this topic. A curriculum to train apprentices for today and tomorrow was the logical next step.

The focus of the pilot course was not only to disseminate information, but also to review materials and get feedback from those present. In June, a second pilot class included guidance on using distance learning for indoor air quality training through Moodle, Norberg said.

The curriculum was designed to be customizable based on level of experience. Instructors can tailor it to an individual student’s learning needs, the learning needs of a class as a group and what training is needed at the local level at any given time. First-year apprentices might require 240 hours to thoroughly cover all the material, while an experienced journey worker with testing, adjusting and balancing (TAB) skills and knowledge might take as little as 12 hours, according to Norberg.

All the knowledge is included for students and instructors to implement this training. Local training centers can start with the sections of the text that address their most urgent training needs and develop their program from there, Norberg added.

“You don’t have to teach the book cover to cover,” he continued. “You can start anywhere in the book and use that point as either a starting place for beginners or as a bridge on an educational path from service or TAB into Ventilation Verification and indoor air quality.”

The curriculum went into development at the end of last year, which is a very quick turnaround in normal circumstances, Norberg said.

For more information on the ITI, visit www.sheetmetal-iti.org. For NEMI, visit www.nemiconline.org.

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