We’ve been running a pilot version of the PEAK program with a small and focused group and have worked through 4 of the seven courses. Here are some highlights to date:
Personalized learning plan.
Respecting the wide appeal of the program and topics, we have developed a flexible approach:
Courses can be taken individually, and completing all the courses earns an Energy Specialist Certificate. Enrolment is continuous, students join when they are are ready and work at their own pace within a 6-week period for each course.
For those needed CPD, any course can be taken as a stand-alone course. Eligible courses are listed on the BC Housing Education Registry. The building professionals, tradespersons, and staff who have participated in PEAK courses have benefited by the refresher and exposure to new ideas, and have also contributed valuable perspectives that other students benefit from.
Other students take the courses for personal interest, or for adding to or shifting their career. A careful inquiry into each person’s interests and educational needs delivers the best outcome, and course content and assessments can be customized to the individual. This principle works throughout all the courses, described below:
PEAK Foundations– This course is prerequisite to earn the PEAK credential, and is recommended for anyone entering, working in, or career-shifting within building-sector and built-environment occupations and interests. During development of this course, I became involved in supporting the roll-out of the BC Energy Step Code, and created, in a collaborative effort with Passive House Canada, BOABC, RDH, and Focal Engineering, the BOABC Energy Step Code Competency Framework. This deep dive into all things Energy Step Code related, Passive House principles, and current dialogue in responding to calls to meet Canada’s climate goals through changes to building practices and codes helped to make the Foundation course an important place to get grounded in the midst of turbulent changes in the industry. Here are a few topics we address in the course:
The PEAK Envelope course unpacks the science, strategies, and materials being used in modern energy-efficient, healthy building design. Some of the topics include:
The PEAK Systems course explores the current and emerging ways we are using to heat, cool, ventilate, light, and provide indoor environmental conditions in buildings. Some of the topics include:
The PEAK Economics course takes into account conventional means of accounting for and managing energy, materials, and water use. We also take a critical look at what is being measured, what is not being measured, and whether or not our metrics are aligned with our climate and environment protection intentions. Some of the topics and readings include:
The PEAK Comfort and Well-being course addresses indoor environmental quality and includes a survey of contemporary tools to define and quantify the many aspects of what constitutes a healthy indoor environment. Topics include:
In the PEAK Leadership course, we practice strategies for communicating, collaborating, and demonstrating leadership in transitioning to a more reasonable, knowledgeable, and respectful built environment-evidence of which currently exists in exemplary projects, organizations, and individual efforts. Topics include:
Of course, all of these topics are overlapping, and the theme of each course is simply a focus and starting point. For example, a group of students are currently working, with support and data provided by the institution, on a project to show the feasibility of adding heat recovery to a large server room, using NPV and other economic calculations. The project originated in the Economics course, and both builds on and contributes to content in the Systems course.
The Capstone course can be started mid-way through the program, and is comprised of guidance and feedback on a chosen real-world project that ties many of the program topics together for an individual student. Opportunities include:
- adding a new function to an existing business or place of employment
- contributing program-relevant volunteer work to an organization
- creating a portfolio of work done throughout the course that can be used in ones career