The new Indoor Climate Research & Training (ICRT) program training facility was completed earlier this month and ISTC hosted an invitation only Grand Opening Ceremony. Dr. Manohar Kulkarni (ISTC Director) and Paul Francisco (Research Engineer and Program Leader for ICRT) kicked of the ceremony with welcoming remarks and short history of the ICRT program. Special guest Lt. Governor Sheila Simon was given the honor of cutting the ribbon for the official opening of the training facility.
In addition to the Lt. Governor, Naomi Jakobsson (Representative from the 103rd district) and Paul Faraci (local representative) were in attendance as well as Dr. Howard Guenther from the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Research (UI), members from the Prairie Research Institute, the ISTC Advisory Board, the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC), Business Innovation Services (UI), Masha Trenhalie (VP of Operations for Fox Development), Civil and Environmental Engineering Department (UI), Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department (UI), Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (IDCEO), Community and Economic Development Association (CEDA), and a number of training instructors and contractors.
The ICRT program does research and training on comprehensive building performance in residential buildings, including energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality. The program’s research has included air leakage, moisture issues, durability, ventilation, indoor air quality, and lead safety. ICRT trains and certifies assessors and other agency staff members from 35 local community agencies throughout the state who perform weatherization work such as insulation, air sealing, and HVAC work. The ICRT program also does training and certifying contractors who work in the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program. In addition, ICRT staff is involved in setting national policies and standards for residential building energy efficiency and indoor air quality.
The new weatherization training facility is 6,700 square feet and is located at 2111 S. Oak Street, Suite 106 in Champaign. The program is the only one in Illinois that includes space for both classrooms and hands-on training opportunities for the home performance industry. It is expected to serve thousands of trainees. Funding for the training center was provided by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program.