The Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) and the Department of Correctional Education will give prisoners the opportunity to get valuable job training in energy efficiency through its Green Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Vocational Program.

Located at the Indian Creek Correctional Center in Chesapeake, Virginia, the program is designed to provide prisoners with the education and experience they will need to enter careers in energy efficiency when they are released.

Energy efficiency solutions company Johnson Controls developed the HVAC Vocational Program, which includes a training facility, state-of-the-art HVAC equipment and a complete curriculum taught by experienced instructors. The program will give offenders training in HVAC-related skills and careers such as service mechanics, controls technicians and maintenance specialists.

“Not only is the Virginia DOC committed to managing an environmentally and fiscally responsible organization, they also understand the important role they play in their offenders’ future lives,” said Joy Clarke-Holmes, regional VP and general manager for building efficiency at Johnson Controls. “Our job training programs can help these inmates create a more sustainable community.”

The HVAC Vocational Program is part of VDOC’s overall commitment to energy, water and operational efficiency. Johnson Controls is working on an energy and facility improvement initiative at more than 20 correctional facilities. With HVAC and lighting upgrades, the department is expected to see substantial cuts in its electricity use. Water conservation measures are expected to result in similar reductions in water use, and a 300-panel solar thermal system will be used to heat water at another facility – which is projected to cut propane use by 25%.