Synergy:  the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc.  (

The value of credentialing for the clean energy sector is best understood when the individual credentialing elements are recognized as a synergistic system. Individual groups develop standards, guidelines, job task analyses, certifications and assessment schemes, but the strength and value of credentialing is in the system. A collection of interrelated parts that cooperate in a process, each component in this system adds value. Yet, it is the whole system working together that ultimately results in success.

In energy efficiency, we focus on a physical building working as a system.  The building envelope, heating and air conditioning, and the people occupying the building must all be considered to have a successfully functioning system.

 energy efficient house

In air travel, we think about the whole experience as a system:  reservations, check-in, baggage handling, take-off, flight, landing and arrival.  Each event impacts the next, and the success of each component determines the success of the whole.

We can think of credentialing in the same way. From setting standards and guidelines, to job task analyses and quality assessment, it is as a synergistic system that they provide the foundation for a growing clean energy economy, with high quality training, a competent workforce and effective equipment. While on its own each component must add value, together they raise the quality bar and drive successful growth.

It is a great achievement to have these basic system components in place for building our clean energy workforce.  The journey to get here has required vision, creativity, persistence and drive, and the coming together of the renewable energy and energy efficiency communities, including countless hours of volunteered time. And there is still much more to be done.

We are looking forward to continuing this effort in 2014. But before we begin, we need to say good-bye to one of our most treasured champions.  Richard Knaub, a key player in IREC’s standards and credentialing development initiatives, was a visionary with a keen wit who had tireless passion for this work.  He understood the value of credentialing and all of the components required for success.  Richard’s journey ended in December 2013, but we will always draw inspiration from his vision, and limitless drive to make a difference.