Historically, plumbing has been critical to protecting public health and safety. UA Plumbers Local 1, located in New York City, has integrated GPRO into their journeyman training to bring green building concepts and techniques into their work.
“For our members, GPRO is an extension of what our philosophy has been all along— we are working to protect the health of the nation,” says Artie Klock Jr., Director of Trade Education.
There are now over 20 UA Local Unions across the country offering GPRO, but Local 1 is where it all began. Ten years ago, they became the first union to introduce plumbers, steamfitters and pipefitters to practices that take a whole building approach to water and energy efficiency.
GPRO training enables students to stay ahead of the curve by bringing energy and water use issues into the discussion before they even get to the job site. “There is a certain amount of information that really wasn’t part of the general understanding of our trade,” says Klock. “The benefit was that we were able to learn about that green gap in knowledge and incorporate it into the training, so when our members are out on the field, there isn’t a learning curve.”
As of October 2018, nearly 400 students have taken GPRO at Local 1—and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Most people sign up [for GPRO] just for the certificate,” says Instructor John Sullivan. “However, during the course, they end up becoming really excited about what’s going on.”
Local 1 members connect with the idea that they are stewards of the environment. After the training, many students contact their instructors to tell them about situations they encountered on the job, and whether it was discussed during the GPRO course or is a process that could be improved by implementing a sustainable practice.
“This is important. GPRO goes back to Local 1’s purpose—for journeymen to be knowledgeable in all aspects of building and construction,” says Sullivan, noting that the practices introduced through GPRO tie back to the plumbers’ philosophy: to better health, wellness and quality of life for everyone. Urban Green looks forward to continuing our successful partnership and making a difference with the plumbers of New York City.