By Michael Stuart, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Fluke Thermal Imaging Products
One evening last week, I had the pleasure to serve as a guest instructor for a group of about forty students (and faculty) in an energy audit/building performance course at the Georgetown Campus of South Seattle Community College. A friend of mine, who is one of the primary instructors, had asked me to come in and teach about the use of thermography for building science applications.
Often, the broader use of this technology is overlooked or not appropriately emphasized in its potential importance for the building inspection and diagnostics purposes… not to mention the obvious marketing possibilities for business owners. This is unfortunate, but also provides us all with a huge opportunity.
RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network), as John Snell has mentioned in the past, now has an “IR Guidelines” document that outlines the minimum requirements for training, methodology, and equipment A “certification process” is still in the works towards finalization and execution. However, there is often a lack of suitable “formal, standardized, and easily teachable and impactful” curriculum available to many who regularly teach HERS classes or BPI classes to individuals interested in an active career in building sciences. This is definitely something that many of us in the industry, and on the training side, are attempting to remedy. One way that we do this is by being active in organizations such as BPI, RESNET, ACI, Efficiency First, and ASHRAE. Fluke tries to develop and maintain solid relationships within each group at a national and local level. Partnership between manufacturers, organizations, experts, and individuals is the only way to make the building performance industry self-sustaining and profitable for the long-term.
Another way that we can often have an impact is by offering our knowledge and experience to some of the community colleges and trade schools that populate almost every medium to large-sized city. I try to do this as often as I can, and it’s not always just a case of teaching the theory and general applications. “Tips and Tricks” are something else that is always worthwhile to convey. Relevant stories and examples are critical as well. They really ground the knowledge in the real world and provide a context for the students to feel comfortable with both the practical knowledge and the technology. As many of you know… from being both students and sometimes teachers… that is a good step down the road to understanding and productivity. (This is actually something that many people at Fluke do on a regular basis… we like to provide a superior product, but also like to give knowledge of how to use it.)
For those of you who have legitimate thermography experience in various applications, industries, or businesses that employ this truly-amazing technology, I highly recommend that you consider stepping up to the plate. You might be surprised at how fulfilling it can be on both a personal and professional level… especially when you are teaching about a topic that you love, to an audience that wants to learn and is hungry for practical knowledge.
I will end this blog post with a question to everyone: Who else is already doing this? Speak up… we’d love to hear from you.