Byron Benton is a 30-year veteran electrician and electrical training professional with
specialized expertise in energy conservation and renewable energy. As Training Director
for the Alameda County Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, he
oversees all aspects of the program and training center for IBEW 595 and the Northern
California Chapter of NECA.
Mr. Benton led the design and construction of IBEW and NECA’s innovative new training
facility, the “Zero Net Energy Center” (ZNE Center) in San Leandro, CA. The first retrofit of
an existing commercial building to meet the U.S. Department of Energy standards for “zero
net energy”, the ZNE Center also exceeds the State of California’s 2030 energy efficiency
goals an impressive 17 years in advance. Additionally, the ZNE Center exceeds the energy
conservation goals of the Obama administration’s Better Buildings Challenge. The project’s
renewable elements were commissioned in the fall of 2012 and the building was completed
and opened to great fanfare including Governor Jerry Brown cutting the ribbon in May
2013. The building celebrated its fourth year of full occupancy at the end of September
2017, sustaining zero net energy status since inception.
Mr. Benton and his team accomplished their goals for the project by utilizing new
technologies and advanced building designs and construction methods. The ZNE Center
achieves a dramatic and unprecedented 75% reduction in energy use when compared to
similar existing commercial buildings in the country. This energy savings lowers the ZNE
Center’s carbon footprint by 175 tons of CO2 per year, equal to the carbon emitted by 30
passenger vehicles annually as well as a savings of 500 barrels of oil each year.
Before joining the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee in 2002, Mr. Benton worked as
General Foreman for Cupertino Electric, one of the country’s largest electrical contracting
companies. He is a graduate of the IBEW-NECA electrical apprenticeship, where he was
recognized as the “Apprentice of the Year”. Mr. Benton has also completed the IBEW-NECA
Master Instructor program held at the University of Tennessee. As part of IBEW-NECA’s
leadership, Mr. Benton serves on two National Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee
(NJATC) groups. He chairs the Education Committee’s, Building Automation Sub-Committee
and is a member of the Interview Advisory Committee. Mr. Benton has also recently
completed another important project, his BA degree in Human Development at California
State University East Bay.