MORE employees will learn to track and manage energy use in the workplace, as the labour movement has pledged to boost training that will help companies go lean and green.

The National Trades Union Congress' Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) is setting aside $1.3 million to train more than 300 professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) in energy management over the next two years.

"Energy efficiency makes business sense. Every dollar saved is one extra dollar for the bottom line," said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan, who announced the plans yesterday. 

Mr Gilbert Tan, e2i's chief executive, said: "With structured training and techniques, professionals can improve energy efficiency and ensure that their companies are more competitive."

The funds will go towards subsidising two training schemes.

One is the Singapore Certified Energy Manager programme, a 2008 initiative co-administered by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Institution of Engineers Singapore. Participants are equipped with the technical skills to manage and track energy use in their organisations. The training costs roughly $5,500 a person; about 70 per cent will be subsidised.

For the Energy Efficiency (Monitoring, Analysis, Planning and Solutions) programme offered by the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology, e2i will fund up to 50 per cent of the $19,000 in course fees. Workers learn about the hardware and skills needed to monitor energy use at various stages of the manufacturing chain.

Dr Balakrishnan said: "The first step in improving your energy efficiency is to understand your current energy usage... This tool will give further insights into your energy usage and, from there, you will be able to decide how best to improve your efficiency."

Yesterday, he gave out 16 awards to organisations, public agencies and individuals at the annual Energy Efficiency National Partnership (EENP) Awards ceremony, held at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability in Jurong.

Four companies, including health-care technology player Abbott Manufacturing Singapore and home-grown construction firm HSL Constructor, won the Excellence in Energy Management award.

In the Best Practices category, five projects were recognised, including one by steel recycler NatSteel Holdings which converts waste heat from its furnace to electricity used to run its rolling mill equipment.

Four public agencies, including the Housing and Development Board, were commended under the category of Best Energy Efficiency Practices in the Public Sector.

Three people were named Outstanding Energy Managers of the Year, including Mr Wong Tat Choon, assistant vice-president of Singapore Press Holdings' production division (engineering).

NEA chief executive Ronnie Tay said: "The EENP Awards not only recognise deserving organisations and individuals, but also serve as a platform on which to build new knowledge and promote sharing of best practices in energy efficiency."