Penn State Mark Facilities Engineering Institute

Customer Services

As part of The Pennsylvania State University, the Penn State Facilitates Engineering Institute (PSFEI) provides training and continuing education to facility managers and trade personnel. PSFEI serves as an extension to our clients' staff by assisting with a broad array of energy management, facilities engineering, and information management services.

Training and Education


Bob Nelson, PSFEI Electrical Engineer, teaching a Short Course.
PSFEI conducts short courses and workshops on a variety of facility-related topics. Short course program titles include:
  • Effective Facility Management
  • Fundamentals of Medium Voltage Systems
  • Electrical Safety and Arc Flash Training
  • HVAC System Operation and Maintenance
  • Central Boiler Plant Operation and Maintenance
Contracted instruction titles include:
  • Facility Infrastructure Fundamentals
  • Fundamentals of High Performance Buildings
  • Smart Building Operations Training


Participants consistently give high marks to our programs in their course evaluations.

"The instructor was very knowing and made everything very easy to understand. First class that I have been to that kept my attention all the way through the course."

"This course was a very educational experience for me. I have been in the business for over 10 years and still learned a vast amount from everything the instructors taught. They are very knowledgeable in the areas and strive to share their knowledge. It (teaching) wasn't like a job to them, it was their passion."

Pennsylvania Short Courses

Short Courses


2017 Educational Programs Brochure
  • Boiler Plant Operations and Maintenance

    Please check back in February 2018 for new Boiler Operations and Maintenance training course information.

  • Electrical Short Course

    Please check back in February 2018 for new Electrical short course information.

  • Effective Facility Management

    Please check back in February 2018 for new Effective Facility Management - Year I course information.

  • HVAC Technical Conference

    July 26-28, 2017
    Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center

    The HVAC Technical Conference is a two and one-half day course designed to benefit heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technicians, facility managers, general maintenance technicians, and other facility maintenance or management personnel who need a basic understanding of HVAC system operation and maintenance. Students completing this program will earn a certificate of completion.

    Register today: HVAC Technical Conference

Course Schedule


2017 Educational Programs Brochure


HVAC Workshop


Mi A Kim, C.E.M., HVAC Systems Specialist


2017 HVAC Workshop Brochure
Northeast April 19, 2017 Clarks Summit State Hospital
Southeast April 20, 2017 Wernersville State Hospital
Central April 25, 2017 PSFEI Office (State College, PA)
Northwest April 26, 2017 Polk Center
Southwest April 27, 2017 Torrance State Hospital


Electrical Workshop


Brian Johnson, Electrical Field Engineer


2017 Electric Workshop Brochure
Northeast April 19, 2017 Clarks Summit State Hospital
Southeast April 20, 2017 Wernersville State Hospital
Central April 25, 2017 PSFEI Office (State College, PA)
Northwest April 26, 2017 Polk Center
Southwest April 27, 2017 Torrance State Hospital


Boiler Plant Workshop


Wayne Macafee


(Fall Boiler Plant Workshop announcement will be emailed July 2017)
Central September 7, 2017 Selinsgrove Center
Northeast September 13, 2017 White Haven Center
Southeast September 14, 2017 Wernersville State Hospital
Northwest September 27, 2017 Polk Center
Southwest September 28, 2017 Torrance State Hospital


Water Workshop


Robert Bruce

All water instruction is provided as onsite, site-specific workshops. This format enables hands-on participation and provides greater opportunities to address particular areas of interest and concern that might otherwise go unrecognized in the usual classroom setting.

To arrange a Water Workshop for your facility, contact the instructor listed above.

GSA Contracted Instruction


Contracted Instruction Our courses are intended for the person who may or may not have a technical background and has a need or desire to understand the operations and maintenance of the systems within their facilities.

If you are interested in learning more, we are currently offering the following courses:
  • Facility Infrastructure Fundamentals Training (FIFT)
  • Fundamentals of High Performance Buildings (FPHB)
  • Smart Building Operations Training (SBOT)
If you would like more information please contact us. We would be happy to fulfill your training needs. Our team of dedicated instructors are ready to provide you with a top quality training experience.

Testimonies from Our Students

  • "I liked the information about new and innovative technologies or techniques to improve dated technologies. Also, both instructors were extremely knowledgeable and made the classroom environment laid back and fun. Students were encouraged to participate and ask questions."
  • "The knowledge of course materials, patience with questions and answers were the things I liked best about this course."
  • "I enjoyed all of the examples of how all lighting and water conservation, etc is related to the work we do."
  • "Really liked the visual aids and 'real life' examples given during the course."
  • "Every subject covered within this course was considered to be relevant to my job. I don't believe there is much more that could be added without sacrificing quality/time on each indvidual subject."
  • "The instructor was very knowledgeable on the subject and provided websites to utilize."

Overview of Courses

FIFT: Facility Infrastructure Fundamentals Training

FIFT Course Today's facility professional is challenged with a new wave of catch phrases such as demand control, air balancing, indoor air quality, universal certification, and vertical transportation. If a person does not have a technical background, these terms are likely to make them cringe. Chillers, boilers, ventilation systems, building automation, fire protection, electrical distribution, and vertical transportation issues often seem to be beyond the understanding of the layman.

The Facility Infrastructure Fundamentals course is the perfect solution for helping today's facility professional grasp these issues. This course provides an overview of the building systems often perceived to be the most complex.

FHPB: Fundamentals of High Performance Buildings

FHPB Course Today's facility professional is under constant pressure to 'go green' and 'be sustainable.' So what does this mean for their buildings? The Fundamentals of High Performance Buildings (FHPB) course was originally developed for the General Services Administration (GSA) to explain how to make their facilities high performance buildings and the high performance building's part of the sustainability pie. This three-day course is intended to train facility professionals and provide fundamental knowledge to understand the green evolution with which GSA and the entire facilities industry is (or will be) dealing.

The FHPB course provides an overview of the building systems, emerging technologies, and building operations most targeted as energy conservation measures used to create the High Performance Building.

The course is taught in a relaxed atmosphere by instructors who pride themselves on their ability to translate engineering concepts into layman's terms.

SBOT: Smart Buildings Operations Training

SBOT Course Do the terms 'industry-leading' and 'cutting edge' excite you, but the thought of technology leave you hesitant to join the crowd? Then the Smart Building Operations Training Program is just the course for you! Even if you are not tech savvy, this course will give you the tools, terminology, and reassurance you need to effectively communicate with your peers while moving ahead in a highly technical workforce.

The Smart Building Operations Training Program is designed to teach you the ins and outs of how to use the data from the building systems in your facilities to save you and your employees valuable time and money by using technology to your advantage. This leading edge technology and its concepts will guide you through the process of finding ways to make your facilities more energy efficient and helping you educate your tenants in the effort to reduce energy across your portfolio.

Facility Infrastructure Fundamentals Training

The FIFT course is divided into four sections

  • HVAC Fundamentals
  • Elevator Sytems
  • Electrical Fundamentals
  • Fire Protection Systems
Each presentation leads the participants through theory and practical application including visual demonstrations and a tour of an actual facility system.

The goal of this class is to teach concepts in a way that will enable students to understand and speak the same language as the contractors and technicians who maintain their facilities.

This course is perfect for the property management professionals, maintenance specialists, contracting officers, or anyone who may not have a technical background, but has the need or desire to understand the components, operation, and maintenance of these building systems.

FIFT Brochure

Day 1

FIFT Day 1 Introduction of Instructors, Class Members, and Class Objectives

HVAC Fundamentals, Part 1/2

  • Objectives of the HVAC System - The Comfortable and Healthy Environment
  • Temperature, Humidity, Filtration, Circulation, Ventilation
  • Refrigeration Principles
  • The Refrigeration Cycle
  • Hydronic Air Conditioning
  • Walk-Through of Building Systems
  • Chillers, Cooling Towers, Fans
  • Refrigerant Management and Environmental

Day 2

FIFT Day 2

HVAC Fundamentals, Part 2/2

  • Boilers and Fuels
  • HVAC Controls
  • Control Components
  • Control Systems
  • Walk-Through of Building Boilers and Heating System

Elevator Systems

  • The Elevator Industry
  • Elevator Components
  • Types of Elevators
  • Architectural Considerations
  • Maintenance and Maintenance Contracts
  • Codes
  • Other Resources
  • Walk-Through of Elevator Machine Room

Day 3

FIFT Day 3

Electrical Fundamentals

  • Basic Electrical Principles
  • Electrical Grid
  • Electrical Distribution Systems
  • Single-line Drawings
  • Transformers
  • Service Entrances and Substations
  • Fuses and Circuit Breakers
  • Grounding and Ground Fault
  • Feeders and Branch Circuits
  • Emergency Systems
  • Electrical System Maintenance
  • Electrical Safety
  • Electrical System Walk-Through

Fire Protection Systems

  • Fire Detection Systems - Types and Technologies
  • Fire Suppression Systems
  • NFPA Codes
  • Field Survey of Building Fire Protection Systems

Fundamentals of High Performance Buildings

The FHPB course is divided into eight sections

  • The High Performance Concept
  • Building Envelope
  • Water Conservation
  • Lighting
  • System and Equipment Efficiency
  • Energy Market
  • Building Automation
  • The Smart Building
Each presentation guides the participants through theory, practical application, and a tour of a host facility's relevant systems. The emphasis is to have students understand the concepts so they can 'speak the same language' as the engineers, contractors, and technicians with whom they interact when caring for their facilities.

This course is intended for the person who may or may not have a technical background and has a need or desire to understand the High Performance Building, such as Facility Managers, Maintenance Specialists, Contracting Officers, Auditors, Interns, and others.

FHPB Brochure

Day 1

FHPB Day 1 Introduction of Instructors, Class Members, and Class Objectives

The High Performance Concept

  • Sustainable Design Principles
  • Laws and Executive Orders
  • Information Technology Revolution
  • The Energy Industry
  • Certifications and Programs
  • Types of Commissioning
  • The Energy Star Process

Building Envelope

  • The Whole Building Concept
  • The Building Envelope
  • Cool and Green Roofs

Water Conservation

  • Why Conserve Water
  • Best Management Practices
  • Opportunities for Water Conservation


  • Lighting Design
  • Lighting Types
  • Lighting Economics
  • Lighting Control Systems

Day 2

FHPB Day 2

System and Equipment Efficiency

  • Objectives of HVAC
  • Design Conditions and Effect on the Human Body
  • Understanding a Basic HVAC System
  • Air Distribution Systems
  • Optimizing HVAC Systems
  • Heating and Cooling Equipment
  • Air and Hydronic Balancing
  • Heat-Energy Recovery
  • Economizers
  • New Energy Alternatives
  • Motor Efficiency

Day 3

FHPB Day 3

Energy Market

  • Regulatory Agencies
  • The Electrical Grid
  • The Electrical Market
  • Programs
  • Tools of the Energy Manager

Building Automation

  • History of Building Automation
  • Basic Building Automation System Terms and Operation
  • DDC (Direct Digital Controls)
  • Graphics
  • Other Systems and Software

The Smart Building

Smart Buildings Operations Training

The SBOT course is divided into eight sections

  • The High Performance Concept
  • Building Envelope
  • Water Conservation
  • Lighting
  • System and Equipment Efficiency
  • Energy Market
  • Building Automation
  • The Smart Building
In today's world of mobile technology and cloud computing, we can have all kinds of data at our fingertips any time of the day or night. We are in the perfect position to take this world to the next level by opening doors to Smart Building Operations. This new technology will allow us to analyze data faster and make more informed decisions when it comes to efficient facilities operations. Dashboards will be introduced to share important information and metrics with your tenants so that they too may participate in your organization's goals to reduce energy consumption and increase efficiency.

Come join us on this exciting adventure as we take the world of facilities to a new standard of operations that will benefit not only us, but future generations!

SBOT Brochure

Day 1

SBOT Day 1 Introduction of Instructors, Class Members, and Class Objectives

Introduction to Smart Building Operations Training

  • Business Goals and Drivers
  • Managing the Portfolio

The Case for Smart Buildings

  • GSA Smart Buildings History
  • GSA Policy
  • Levels of Optimization and Integration
  • Buildings, Technology and People

Building Control Systems

  • Building Automation
  • Advanced Metering
  • Lighting Control Systems
  • Analytics

Day 2

SBOT Day 2

Information Technology

  • IT Basics
  • Data and Software Programs

Building Management Systems

  • Computerized Maintenance Management System
  • Building Information Modeling
  • Geographic Information Systems

Day 3

SBOT Day 3


Optimizing Building and Operational Performance

Case Study

GSA Instructors

Carl Thomas 'Tom' Dowling

Tom Dowling

GSA Training Consultant

'Tom' Dowling has been with Penn State for over 25 years, most recently as an instructor for Penn State Facilities Engineering Institute (PSFEI).

Prior to coming to PSFEI, Tom worked as a project manager for the 22 satellite campuses and as a supervisor of the electrical, elevator, and electronics crews at the University Park Campus. Tom has worked on a wide variety of building infrastructure and energy issues and is regarded as an authority on virtually every type of building system. He has taught numerous seminars within the Penn State System and the General Services Administration (GSA).

His practical and unique knowledge of building systems and the elevator industry allows him to provide valuable tips to property managers and tradesmen to assist them in dealing with building and maintenance contractors. His experience has provided him with a strong knowledge and operational understanding of the many building systems used today. Tom is also very experienced in the energy savings project arena providing advice to others in an effort to reduce energy costs as well as educating others on best energy practices.

Cecil E. Johnson

GSA Training Consultant

Cecil E. Johnson is recognized worldwide as an author, instructor, and service technician in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC-R) industry. Cecil has a Masters Degree in Education from Penn State University and has been the HVAC-R instructor for the last 32 years at the Dauphin County Technical School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

He was influential in developing the HVAC-R course curriculum for a diploma, certificate, and Associates Degree at the Harrisburg Community College, where he has served as an adjunct professor since 1985. His association with PSFEI for the last 10 years has afforded him the opportunity to develop specialized HVAC-R training programs for the Pennsylvania Department of General Services and the United States Air Force (Pacific Command), which put him on the worldwide lecture circuit.

He was a primary instructor in the development of the initial pilot classes conducted by PSFEI for GSA Region 4 in 2004. Cecil is also the author of several books and videos geared toward the practical application and understanding of HVAC-R theory, operation, troubleshooting, and maintenance. These books include: "Practical Competencies: An HVAC-R Lab Book", 1998, Delmar Publishers; "Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning: A Residential and Light Commercial Text and Lab Book", 2005; and "Refrigeration: A Residential and Light Commercial Text and Lab Book", 2006. All of these publications are geared toward the practical application and understanding of HVAC-R theory, operation, troubleshooting, and maintenance.

Cecil was also the script writer and technical advisor for the 1999 Delmar Publisher and Bergwall Productions, "HVAC-R Service Calls", a 12-set video series. Carrier Corporation and many local contractors throughout Pennsylvania have utilized his specialized training and HVAC-R course development.

Susan A. Zerbe

Susan A. Zerbe

GSA Training Consultant

Susan A. Zerbe, F.M.P., has over 25 years of experience with Penn State University. Susan previously worked in Facilities Management overseeing the University's Facilities Information System (FIS). The FIS maintains over 30 million gross square feet of space at Penn State's 22 campuses integrating floor plans and facility data to provide reports and graphical representations for departmental analysis and management.

Under her guidance, the FIS moved from its early stages of development to a web-based interface, which is used by over 400 employees. Susan is a Penn State graduate and earned her Facilities Management Professional certification through the International Facilities Management Association.

She joined PSFEI's team as an instructor to develop GSA's Smart Buildings Operations Training Program.