Philadephia’s Navy Yard — where Team Clean Inc.'s office is located — was given new life in February of 2011, when the Energy Efficient Building Hub, or EEB Hub, was established by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Energy-Regional Innovation Cluster has a dual mission: to improve energy efficiency in buildings and to promote regional economic growth and job creation.

The goal of the EEB Hub, a 5-year project, is to try to cut building energy use by 50 percent by 2015. Its test subject is Building 661, aka the future “living lab.”

The greater goal is to use what is learned at the EEB Hub to reduce energy use in commercial buildings in the Philadelphia area by 20 percent by 2020. The focus, then, is on retrofits and accelerating the adoption of Advanced Energy Retrofits of average size commercial buildings, which makes use of new technologies, systems and process to achieve energy savings.

A number of universities, nonprofits and Fortune 500 companies are working together on the project.

“It’s a very unusual partnership,” says Kevin Abbey, education and workforce manager for the EEB Hub, whose office is just upstairs from Team Clean’s, in Building 101 — the temporary HQ for the hub and one of the nation’s most highly instrumented commercial buildings. “One of the good things we’re doing is working with Team Clean.”

The excitement of being a part of such a unique project — with educational opportunities available for people from around the world as well as her own staff — isn’t lost on Donna Allie.

“It’s so wonderful to work in here! There’s so much excitement going on. I’m learning so much just by being in the Hub building,” Allie says.

One of the EEB Hub courses being taken by two Team Clean managers is Building Occupancy Certification, which trains professionals about energy-saving strategies and technologies. The classes are open to those who design, own, construct, maintain or occupy buildings.

“The idea is for them to become more familiar with the building envelope, so they can teach the rank and file how the building operates — not down to the level where you have to be an electrician or plumber, but just things you need to know to be aware of the envelope of the building,” Allie says. “Our cleaners will be able to go into a building and say, ‘If you change out your light bulbs you could save x-amount of money just by lowering your electricity bill.’”

This education and training is helping Team Clean carve out another niche area of expertise, providing an avenue for future growth. To Allie, it’s just as important to provide avenues for personal and career growth for her employees, and that’s exactly what the EEB Hub opportunities allow.

“Really, the most important thing is to be of value to the client, themselves and the company,” Allie says.

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