Guide to Energy Audit Certification

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By Energy Circle Staff - August 18th, 2009

Energy Circle's comprehensive guide to energy auditor certification programs, with a state by state list of resources for homeowners looking for an audit.

Not long ago, Energy Audits were virtually unknown. Now, there's a good chance you know someone who's had a home energy audit done, and a decent chance you've sipped a cup of coffee next to an auditor. The question we repeatedly hear from home owners is this: "Is this auditor any good?" and, perhaps more importantly, "How would I know?" We talked to a lot of people who are hungry for this information. In response, we have compiled a state by state list of auditor certifications and programs, pulling together the most up-to-date information we could find. We don't have answers for every state yet, so we've designed this list to be interactive. Please read it. Make comments. Ask questions. Let us know what you think. We will constantly update this list. This is an important and quickly growing field, and our goal is to ensure that you, wherever you are, will be able to have an audit that is not only competent and thorough, but also helpful. We'll keep you posted about new developments. We look forward to hearing from you.

In this Guide:

I. Auditor Certifications & What They Mean

II. Taking it on: What You'll Want to Know Before Hiring an Auditor

III. State by State Guide to Energy Audit Resources

I. Auditor Certifications and What they mean.

When choosing a home energy auditor, word-of-mouth recommendations are key. But it's also helpful to know what training your auditor has undergone. Below you will find the most common certifications, and the training each certification requires. By no means is this list exhaustive. Auditor training programs are popping up like tents in a gold rush. Those listed below are, however, the names you're most likely to come across. Keep in mind, too, that an audit need not necessarily be conducted by someone using "auditor" as a title. In your state, home energy audits may be performed by Home Performance Contractors, Building Analysts, Energy Inspectors or Home Energy Raters. All of these titles are used to describe qualified personnel who can competently perform an audit.

The Building Performance Institute (BPI):

An energy auditor certified as a BPI Building Analyst has passed a two-hour, 100-question, written exam with a score of at least 70%, in addition to passing a field exam. BPI does not mandate formal training prior to the exam, but a classroom or online course is highly recommended. A typical prep course for the BPI certification exams is about a week of full-time training. A BPI Building Analyst is certified to conduct blower-door tests (which should be done both before and after upgrades), combustion appliance inspection and repair, air quality testing including carbon monoxide detection, duct testing and airflow testing. For more information about BPI's standards, take a look at their Technical Standards for Building Analysts (PDF).

A BPI analyst needs to be re-certified every three years, either by re-taking the exams or by providing proof of continuing education from a BPI affiliate. BPI training may seem short - a week's worth of classes - but bear in mind that most contractors seeking BPI certification already have extensive experience in the building industry. For this reason, most businesses with BPI certified contractors will market themselves as Home Performance Contractors rather than Energy Auditors. Auditing may be just one of the services they offer, and many Home Performance Contractors prefer to make the improvements suggested by the audit themselves. As you evaluate your options, keep in mind that the competencies to perform an audit are not necessarily the same as those required to execute an effective energy efficiency retrofit, and selecting the individual to perform the work indicated by an energy audit is entirely up to you. As in any sales pitch, if a contractor tries to pressure you into having work done, (or whistles at your daughter), hire someone else.

You can find a directory of BPI-certified Building Analysts here. Note that all Home Performance Contractors affiliated with the Home Performance with Energy Star program are BPI-certified Building Analysts.

The Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET):

A RESNET-certified auditor, or a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Rater, has passed a two-hour, 50-question written exam with a score of 80% or better. RESNET qualified auditors have performed two ratings supervised by a RESNET training provider, and three more "probationary" ratings within 1 year of passing the written exam. ALL ratings done by a HERS Rater are submitted to a RESNET affiliate for quality control and approval. A HERS rater also takes approved continuing education courses throughout the year, totaling at least 12 hours of classroom instruction. Like BPI, RESNET does not provide or mandate formal training as a prerequisite for taking their certification exam, but it comes highly recommended. A typical RESNET training course is about a week's worth of 8-hour days in the classroom and the field. According to RESNET's National Energy Audit Standard (PDF), in addition to evaluating a home's energy consumption, an auditor should inspect - and, if a health hazard is detected, repair - combustion appliances.

Note that a HERS Rater is trained to do both home energy audits and home energy ratings. You will probably want an audit rather than a rating. Whereas a rating results in a number (some compare a home energy rating to a car's fuel economy), a home energy audit will result in a prioritized list of improvements and a projected cost/benefit for each of the improvements. Most raters are trained and willing to do both; just be sure to make it clear what you're looking for. A RESNET-certified auditor should be willing, furthermore, to direct you to a qualified contractor to implement the improvements suggested in the audit. A directory of HERS Raters is available here.

The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE):

Certified Energy Auditor (CEA), is an accreditation awarded by the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE). CEAs have completed an auditing seminar and passed a four-hour written exam with a score of 70% or better, in addition to satisfying stringent education/experience prerequisites, which are: either a four-year engineering degree plus a minimum of three years of work experience in energy management or auditing, a four-year degree in an unrelated field with five years of auditing or energy management experience, a two-year degree with eight years experience, or ten years of work experience in the energy field. CEA's must be re-certified every three years.

Home Performance with Energy Star Programs:

Home Performance with Energy Star is a subsidiary of the EPA's Energy Star program. The Home Performance Program, as opposed to Energy Star Homes (which is a label for new buildings), is focused exclusively on upgrading the energy efficiency of existing homes. The program operates through a system of regional partners, some of which are independent, and some of which are sponsored by utility companies or state agencies. The programs listed below in the state list, though each independent of one another, have a degree of uniformity in that they all require affiliated contractors to hold a certification from the Building Performance Institute (BPI).

Other Programs and Certification processes:

There are other certifications out there. In a relatively new field, you want to be wary of "fly by night" auditors whose qualifications are slim to none. That said, there are good training programs that are not affiliated with the organizations we've detailed above. The Maine Housing Authority, for example, provides an in-depth, two-week, 8 hour/day course followed by a written exam and a field test. Other states provide similar programs, which we've listed below. In addition to states, private, independent organizations offer certifications such as CMC Energy Services and Denby Energy, to name a couple.

II. Taking it on: What You'll Want to Know Before Hiring an Auditor

Before hiring an auditor, be sure to ask what certifications they hold, what kind of training they have undergone, and what their audit will entail. Among other things, a good complete audit will involve a blower-door test, a duct leakage test, leakage assessment using an infrared camera, and a written report detailing the auditor's findings. Find out if the auditor is also a contractor who intends to fix the problems he or she uncovers. For some homeowners, this is a benefit. Once you have found a trustworthy individual, you need not seek out another to do the work. This can be an advantage because a typical audit uncovers a laundry list of actionable items, some big and some small. Comprehensive documentation in the audit report is often difficult. If the auditor returns to do the contract work, he or she will have a clear memory of every issue uncovered during the audit, even if some of those issues didn't make it into the report. That said, for some homeowners separating the person conducting the audit (collecting and analyzing the home's data) from the person doing the work is the best way to eliminate any chance of a conflict of interest.

Your audit will only be valuable if you take action steps to improve the energy efficiency of your home after the audit is completed. In order to ensure that you will have the information you need in order to take those steps, you will want a report at the completion of your audit that is helpful to you. Ask your auditor to provide you with a sample report. Does the report mean something to you? Are recommended retrofits or renovations prioritized based upon estimated return on investment (ROI) or need? Ask the auditor if she will take time to walk through the recommendations and if you will be able to retain a copy for your records. (Some auditors provide home owners with a small portion of the report, and keep the rest on file in their own offices, and make it available upon request).

Go ahead and ask for a couple references, too - it won't be an unusual request in this field, and will help to insure that you are making a good investment. Before your auditor arrives, read our articles on home energy audits and how to prepare your house for an audit.

III. State by State Guide to Energy Audit Resources

*As you can see, this is a work in progress. We will continue to add to this list, and we welcome your input. Please let us know about resources in your area.*

Alabama - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

Alaska - The Alaska Building Science Network (ASBN) oversees state certification for Energy Raters, who are qualified both to perform energy ratings on new homes and energy audits on existing homes. An AKWarm Certified Energy Rater has undergone 2 years or 4,000 hours of relevant education, taken a Cold Climate Home Building Course or its approved equivalent as well as an Air Tightness/Blower Door Certification workshop, all followed by a comprehensive Home Energy Rater course conducted by ABSN. An AKWarm Rater's first five audits or ratings are reviewed by ASBN, and 16 credit-hours of continued education approved by ASBN is required every two years for re-certification. The ABSN website provides a list of AKWarm-certified raters.

Arizona - Arizona has a Home Performance with Energy Star program. They have lists of certified energy auditors for customers of the utilities APS and SRP.

Arkansas - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

California - California has a Home Performance with Energy Star program through the California Building Performance Contractors' Association.  CALCERTS, HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Rater.  Another program, unique to California, is CHEERS  (California Home Energy Efficiency Rating Services), a non-profit certification provider that follows RESNET's HERS (Home Energy Rating System) standards. (NOTE:  "CHEERS had decided to stop accepting new projects that are subject to California regulations effective as of midnight, October 4, 2010, in consultation with the California Energy Commission.  CHEERS is taking this action because CHEERS is not in compliance with regulations for the CHEERS registry and database.")

Colorado - Colorado has a Home Performance with Energy Star program, which provides a list of certified contractors

Connecticut - The state of Connecticut subsidizes energy audits provided by the state's utilities - Connecticut Light and Power, and the United Illuminating Company. The Home Energy Solutions program, administered by the utilities, oversees the certification of "vendors" (auditors) for participation in the HES program, in collaboration with the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management. Contact your utility for more info on finding an auditor.

Delaware - Delaware has a state Home Performance with Energy Star program with a directory of home performance contractors here.  

Florida - Gainesville Regional Utilities is currently on track to become a Home Performance partner, although there is currently no program in place. We'll let you know when they follow through.

Georgia - Although there is no statewide program, a number of Georgia utilities offer Home Performance with Energy Star programs, including Southface, Georgia Power, and Jackson Electric Membership Corp. Home Performance contractors working with Southface can be found here. Georgia Power associated Home Performance contractors can be found here.

Hawaii - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

Idaho - Idaho has a Home Performance with Energy Star program. You can find a Home Performance contractor with the Idaho Home Performance with Energy Star contractor search.

Illinois - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

Indiana - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

Iowa - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

Kansas - The Kansas Building Science Institute offers an intensive two-week Weatherization Inspector/Auditor training course that covers building science principles, combustion appliance inspection procedures and blower-door air leakage testing, which is also intended to serve as preparation for BPI's Building Analyst certification exam. Because the state weatherization program does not require BPI certification, some auditors may have taken this class, or KBSI's RESNET Energy Rater class, without obtaining an official certification from either of those organizations.

Kentucky - Kentucky has a Home Performance with Energy Star program, and provides a directory of home performance contractors by county.

Louisiana - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

Maine - Maine has a Home Energy Savings program supported by Efficiency Maine. Efficiency Maine participating Energy Advisors are certified by BPI

Maryland - Maryland has a Home Performance with Energy Star program. Their website provides an interactive map to locate a qualified auditor in your area.

Massachusetts - Massachusetts has a Home Performance with Energy Star program through MassSave. Information about how to find an auditor is on their site.

Michigan - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

Minnesota - The Minnesota Building Performance Association, an Energy Star partner, has a list of home energy consultants categorized by certification.

Mississippi - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

Missouri - The MO Department of Natural Resources manages Energy Auditor Certification. More information here. To qualify, an auditor must be BPI or RESNET certified or, at the DNR's discretion, trained by another approved program. Also, energy auditors in business prior to 2009 can receive a one year provisional certification. A Fact Sheet on the MO certification program is here (PDF). The list of Certified MO Energy Auditors is here (pdf). In addition, the MO Home Performance with Energy Star program lists auditors through their partner organizations.

Montana - Montana currently has no statewide or regional certification or Home Performance programs. The state's website recommends a do-it-yourself audit, for which we can presumably credit the yet indomitable frontier spirit of Montanans. Respect.

Nebraska - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

Nevada - Nevada has a Home Performance with Energy Star program called HomeFree Nevada

New Hampshire - There is no state-run auditor certification program in New Hampshire. There is in New Hampshire the Residential Home Performance Association, which is an organization made up of independent energy auditors and weatherization professionals in New Hampshire. They offer a list of certified auditors in the state, conveniently grouped according to what each company offers for services (audits only vs. audits and products, etc).

New Jersey - New Jersey has a Home Performance with Energy Star program through NJ Clean Energy. Here is a list of contractors (you'll be prompted to agree to a disclaimer before you can view the list).

New Mexico - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

New York - New York has a Home Performance with Energy Star program through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Find an auditor here.

North Carolina - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

North Dakota - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

Ohio - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

Oklahoma - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

Oregon - Oregon has a Home Performance with Energy Star program through the Energy Trust of Oregon; a list of Home Performance contractors is here.

Pennsylvania - Pennsylvania has a Home Performance with Energy Star program through PA Home Energy. Find a Home Performance contractor here .

Rhode Island - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

South Carolina - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

South Dakota - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

Tennessee - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

Texas - Texas has a Home Performance with Energy Star program in the Austin area through Austin Energy. A list of certified contractors is here.

Utah - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

Vermont - Vermont has a Home Performance with Energy Star program through Efficiency Vermont. There is a search page on Efficiency Vermont's website - just type in your zip code and select "Home Performance Contractor."

Virginia - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

Washington - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

West Virginia - No immediately identifiable web information. Got references? Please help us make this complete.

Wisconsin - Wisconsin has a Home Performance with Energy Star program through Focus on Energy. Here is a search page for certified contractors.

Wyoming - The Wyoming Energy Council has a Wyoming Home Performance with Energy Star program. For a contractor to be involved in the Home Energy with Energy Star program he must first be a Wyoming Energy Council "preferred contractor," and then attend the six-day training course provided by Wyoming HP with Energy Star.

VERSION:

Updated: 4/1/09; added 50 states.

Updated: 10/13/09; fixed broken links for the state of California; removed a link that, upon further inspection, we ultimately deemed unhelpful for homeowners.

Updated: 11/16/09; fixed broken link for list of auditors in Missouri. 

Updated: 1/12/10; added HomeFree Nevada Home Performance program, fixed broken links throughout.

Updated: 2/6/12; fixed links for Delaware, New York, Maine, Wyoming.



Comments

I'd be especially careful of giving support to a 5 day, 40-hour class. A fairly large crew of us here in Maine have taken a 90 hour class (2/3 classroom, 1/3 real live field work, over a 3 month period with lots of homework, plus test times and 2 days at a national conference). It's obvious to us that no one can learn this stuff well in 5 days. It's just not possible. We've talked to a few who have taken the Efficiency Maine course and the Maine Housing Authority courses ... and they agree that they were unprepared for the real world. A good example of this, is a case our teacher offered. He was called to a Maine school with a large and old multi-story building that was using way too much fuel oil for heating. He quickly determined that there were many air leaks that could be remedied and a new more efficient heating system was in order. But he had a premonition and called in a Professional Engineer. The PE quickly pointed out that had the work been done, the roof would likely have collapsed!! The problem was that the roof structure had been underbuilt and the leaky building had, for years, been melting the snow off the roof at a rapid rate. How many new energy auditors would be smart enough to catch this? It's worrisome and the moment something like this happens (a roof falling on a batch of students) the laws will pour out of the state legislature and our credentials called into question. It's not a simple business and DOES approach rocket science. 5 days is nowhere near enough. The 90-hour course cost $4300. Not cheap but well worth it (and it included many books, a smoke puffer, a Kill-O-Watt, a temp and humidity gauge, and more). Posted by Dirk Faegre on Mar 23, 2009 8:46am
I agree that it would be highly unusual for an individual to learn all of the necessary information in five days. However,many states such as Tennessee, require attendance of a five day course before allowing an auditor to even sit for the certification test. Clearly, auditors who pass the State Certification exam have previous training and experience in addition to the five day course. Be careful not to imply that auditors who take five day courses don't have additional education and experience. Posted by Lizajean Holt on Oct 19, 2010 2:56pm
Five days is too short for beginner with no experience or additional education. At least it take 2 weeks for newbie who ever been to university. I don't have any data for High School background. Posted by Jeco on Feb 14, 2011 11:14am
Priority Energy in Chicago offers RESNET & BPI Training in IL, MI, WI & Iowa. Our training program is one week long also, but we offer 'ride-along' options and on-going support and report reviews on our team site. As you probably know, this is a requirement of RESNET & BPI. Questions? Give us a call at 800-737-2299. Posted by Anonymous on Jul 25, 2011 5:31pm
I plan on taking the AEE Certified Energy Manager and Certified Energy Auditor exams this year. The CEM exam is either 5 or 2 days and the CEA is 2.5 days. If I was a customer who understood the process I would prefer to see the CEM and CEA credentials over anyone with a 100 hr course, because even though these are shorter courses they require a four year degree in a related field (mine is mechanical engineering) and 3 years experience in energy engineering. So the length of the course is not the only thing to consider, but requirements to even take the exam are also very important. Posted by Jim on Nov 9, 2010 4:58pm

Here are two awesome sites for information on rater training, etc... in North Carolina

Home Energy Partners HERS Training-
http://homeenergypartners.com/pages/menu-links/hers-rater-training.php

and the Western North Carolina Green Building Council - http://www.wncgbc.org/

Posted by kyleaustinbrown on Feb 7, 2011 9:40am

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Posted by Spencer Blank on Dec 28, 2012 1:30am

But as simple an explanation as "the prices are higher" is, it is
a devilishly difficult problem to fix. If you can afford it, and
not many can on the salaries their making, good for you.
Wages have remained more or less flat for several years, while housing prices continued to spiral during the same
period.

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Posted by lynnraedesigns.com on Apr 24, 2013 2:01am
While I do agree that the Maine Housing course is very condensed with it's 10 8/hour days (totaling 80 hours). I don't understand how the extra 10 hours offered from the course mentioned above adds significant value. Could you please explain it further? I am interested in entering this field, and agree that truly understanding the building is the only safe way to provide this service. What frightens me further than the of the auditor example above is that Maine requires NO license to become a "contractor"! So anyone with a hammer could build your home! Posted by Ty on Mar 23, 2009 2:50pm

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writing at this place at this webpage, I have read all
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Posted by empower network on Nov 19, 2013 4:36pm

Dirk--thanks for the comment. As you know, we've been very forthright on EnergyCircle about our belief that a professional audit by a certified energy auditor is the first place to start when tackling energy in your home. Many people, in response, have asked us about how to identify qualified auditors and, in particular, what the various certifications mean in the real world. Your comment, and Ty's response, are good indicators of the level of debate and ongoing discussion that exists amongst professionals in the field. Imagine how confusing this is for the homeowner who is just looking for a qualified person to assess their home. The inspiration for the article was to try to provide some basic information and links so people can do their own homework.

What has become clear since we published it is that the difference of opinion about what constitutes proper training and certification in Maine is a discussion being repeated in 49 other states as well.

We've decided to make this article a living document, and are currently in the process of building out the details on as many of the 50 US states as we can find information for. It is turning out to be a formidable task, but we're on it and expect to publish an update shortly.

And for the benefit of everyone, the training program Dirk refers to is run by Evergreen Building Science.

Posted by Peter Troast on Mar 24, 2009 12:24pm
Can anyone give me a name or place where I can find a certified energy auditer in southern New Hampshire. I am having trouble finding anyone Posted by Dominic Guerriero on Mar 26, 2009 11:57am

Dominic - There's an organization called the New Hampshire Residential Energy Performance Association that's made up of independent auditors and weatherization professionals in New Hampshire. If you scroll down a ways on their Consumer's Guide there are a couple companies based in Manchester, which should be far enough south to cover your neighborhood.

Hope that's helpful. If you end up getting an audit and have a spare minute to check back with us, we'd love to know how it goes. Thanks for the comment and best of luck with the house.

Posted by Will on Mar 26, 2009 12:47pm
Yes, there are courses out there that will train you in a week but you still have to pass the independent RESNET or BPI exams, including field exams, to qualify as an auditor under those programs and there is no guarantee that the one week course will enable you to pass. I think you really need to have some significant related experience to find these exams straight-forward. I would love to know the percentage of people who do pass the BPI or HERS exams after a one week (often expensive) course. Posted by Amanda Evans on Mar 31, 2009 9:53am
Don't overrate certification and standards which are often substitutes for real-world knowledge and experience. No two week course "qualifies" anyone to be a "building expert". Its value lies, instead, in it being a refresher, a guide to apply prior knowledge and experience a trainee already has to a building as a syetem. It is not surprising that many graduates of such courses don't feel they know the first thing about where to begin on a real job. Energy auditors (by whatever label) must also be educators, because most people know pitifully little about how to operate the buildings they occupy. No exam qualifies you to effectively explain something to someone who did not pass the same (multiple choice) exam. You must undersatnd the underlying principles and tailor what you know and say to your audience. This is important because occupants are as much part of the system called "house" or "building" as the heating equipment in the basement or the insulation in the wall. How a building is operated will have a huge impact on performance (and longevity), especially as we tighten it up. Sometimes, of course, it is easier to count beans than it is to make a judgment of someone's true qualifications and capacity for good judgment. Nevertheless I have yet to find a substitute for interviewing someone and judging his/her capability to do a job for myself. Only after I have done that will I ever look at a resume or a certification by some third party. (I don't want to prejudice my judgment by some score) Energy auditing and weatherization are class examples of a trade best learned through practice, i.e. apprenticeship: trailing someone with experience until one gains the knowledge and confidence for going it alone. How long that takes depends on whom you follow and how fast you gain understanding. A highly individual matter. . Too bad that this kind of essential training is not offered by anyone with the power to certify others. Could it be that they themselves lack the "mastery" it takes to take on an apprentice? Posted by Paul Kando on Apr 2, 2009 10:30am

We are a gaggle of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.
Your site provided us with helpful information to work on.
You've done a formidable job and our entire neighborhood will probably be grateful to you.

Posted by sleep aids on Aug 1, 2013 4:22am
For Michigan, the Department of Human Services offers the Weatherization Assistance Program for income eligible residents http://www.michigan.gov/dhs/0,1607,7-124-5452_7124_7211---,00.html. The weatherization field manual is available at this site as well. Posted by Patrick Hudson on Apr 9, 2009 5:46am
I agree with Paul Kando's comments. While certification is important, most certification classes including RESNET and BPI woefully prepare a person to do the actual work in real life. Many of those taking these classes have little or no experience in the construction field or much less in that of building science. A one week class will not prepare that person to go to someone's house and recommend changes. These days, there are far too many raters and auditors working that really do not have a clue. The ramifications of their recommendations is scary. In the end, nothing can replace experience and this should be stressed. This can be difficult for a layperson to effectively vet. Word of mouth recommendations, calling your local rating organization or provider and asking for auditors with experience can be effective. You should add a section which addresses liability insurance. RESNET for example requires their raters to carry a certain amount. Posted by Justin Jones/@bps_consulting on Apr 9, 2009 6:31am
The comments so far have all been very interesting and poignant -excellent discourse. I do agree that a one week class does not necessarily prepare someone for conducting a thorough and quality energy audit, plus weatherization/other follow-up work, I would add the caveat that it does so only in the case of those with little to no prior experience -or in addition, little to no interest in providing good service to a customer. That is, the auditor sees it only as a means to make another buck/add to business revenue. I recently went through RESNET/HERS training in March 2009. The instructor was excellent, and all 12 of us in the class had backgrounds in architecture, construction, HVAC, and/or building science. I myself am an RA with 20 years in the field and have been researching and implenting sustainable building/building science tenets into my practice throughout. I found the final exam we took was rigorous as well, and on par with a few of the architectural registration exam sections I took. And while I agree with Dirk's comment that no one can learn the stuff in five days, I would venture to argue in return that my 20 years experience as an architect is equal to the 90 hour/3 month course offered in Maine. I would say the same about the gentleman I sat next to throughout the week, a builder who has extensive experience with building Energy Star homes, is an architect (not yet licensed) and is very commited to sustainability. So in reality, it is all very subjective and thus dangerous to generalize about any of the programs. It also follows that it is critical to understand the context and background of anyone taking either RESNET's or BPI's course. Posted by Sara Sweeney on Apr 11, 2009 8:48am
Training and experience should be required to get Certification in anything. I have 25 years experience as a Contractor and 15 years at Appraising homes(inspecting and measuring). To get Certified as an Appraiser you have to have 200 hours of classroom for Residential Certification and 300 hours for General Certification plus 2 years as a trainee working under a Certified Appraiser who has to sign off on your work. The Energy Rating Certification doesn't even require that a Provider be present during your first Rating. Five Provisional practice ratings on the computer and then a field exam and you're Certified. The BPI Certification was a one day field test. I don't think that you can learn this stuff overnight if you don't have a construction background. I can't believe anyone can do a home energy audit in less than a day. It takes me a whole day working hard to do a 2,500 square foot house and I've been doing existing home audits for two years. I think any other type of energy audit is a waste of money no matter how cheap it is. The North Carolina Professional Directory is a good place to find a Energy Auditor/Rater. RESNET has a list of Energy Companies but make sure you are looking at the list of Raters and not just members. BPI dissapointed me when they stopped listing all their Certified Members. Eneryg Star website has a list of Raters but anyone can become a partner with a desire. I hope that mandatory experience training comes soon but I expect the individual states will eventually require licensing. Taxing us even more. Home Inspectors in NC have to be licensed. Licensing and Certification doesn't make people be honest though and that's the difference between people trying to make a buck and people with a passion about the industry. Chris Posted by Chris Folse on Apr 15, 2009 5:28am
Check out the website linked above for "Residential Energy Auditor Certification" courses, and links to jobs. The founding for this new training program came from the US Dept of Energy and the MN Dept of Energy [I probably didn't get the names of the agencies correct] and the training is designed to prepare auditors for stimulus plan weatherization audits for low to moderate income housing Posted by SUSAN DAVIS on Apr 16, 2009 12:22pm
sorry ....here is the website: http://WWW.DUNWOODY.EDU Posted by SUSAN DAVIS on Apr 16, 2009 1:17pm
Er... that was suppose to read 'funding', not 'founding'... the ability to edit comments would be a nice addition to this website ;-) Posted by SUSAN DAVIS on Apr 16, 2009 1:59pm
I started doing energy audits way back before the blower door was invented in 1981. Actually, I worked with Midland Energy Institute, the weatherization training facility for 40+ CAP agencies in four states. We had a lot to learn before we could teach anybody anything. The standard at the time was a little booklet called Retrotec (a DOE publication). It had places for notes about what we found in the house- insulation, vents, window conditions etc. It also had an infiltration measure; auditors had to pick a number - 1, 2 or 3-- to represent air changes per hour. If I were to teach a class now in Energy Auditing, I would have to cover theory -conduction, convection and radiation- and practice- how to fix the house. My students would learn how and where to caulk, weatherstrip, blow insulation into attics, high density and standard sidewall insulation, floor penetrations and insulation with slats for support, duct analysis and repair (sealing and insulating), attic ventilation (low and high). They would learn to use a blower door to evaluate a house, a digital manometer to perform Worst-Case Depressurization tests and a duct-blaster to evaluate a duct system. If money is available, using the infra-red devices to view and show homeowners temperatures in attics, floors, walls, around lights, appliances, etc. is quite impressive and informative. Students would learn to identify types and R-values of different kinds of materials, foresee difficulties in installation of materials, and specify provisions for contractors. Safety is a huge issue. Paying attention to recessed light fixtures, can lights, furnace flue connections, backdrafting, duct leakage and asbestos can make big difference in health issues within the home. Students need to know their heating system types: furnace and boilers, hydronic systems, air systems, radiant heaters, combustion efficiency measurement and testing for carbon monoxide production. Energy auditor students would learn to detail which measures are effective and cost-effective. This requires a pricing of each measure and a way of figuring pay-back as well as return on investment. So energy auditors need to be good in math analysis and in relating information to a variety of levels of homeowners. Kindness and concern for the state of the homeowner dictate how well the audit will be received. This is a sales job as much as anything I've ever done. Convincing people what to do and why takes patience, understanding and motivation. I think it's a year long class. Posted by Joe Lamy on May 5, 2009 10:11am
I forgot windows and doors. Energy auditors would need to learn to analyze these items, measure for replacement, install and price. Soft energy auditor skills include the big one -relating facts to the homeowner - as well as skill in making detailed, accurate and succinct descriptions of what is to be done. Such skills as map reading, conversing with the homeowner and dealing with contractors will need to be addressed thoroughly. I liked to phone the customer the night before the audit just to remind them and check for any cancellations or anomalies. I performed several thousand audits and almost never was stood up at the door. Posted by Joe Lamy on May 5, 2009 10:25am
Your Connecticut information is slightly off; the PDF you link to is the list of contractors authorized to perform the Clean, Tune & Test on Oil and Propane heating systems. There is minimal overlap with the (smaller) list of BPI trained HES auditors, for various reasons which constitute a long, boring story. If a customer wants a HES audit, they will want to contact their electric company, who approves the lead and assigns it to a "vendor". Posted by Will Wesson on May 7, 2009 7:31am
Some additional random thoughts: 1) BPI does require a score of 70 (out of 100) on their auditor test, but it's worth noting that they require an 85% on the combustion safety portion. 2) I believe there is a huge difference in training between an 80-hour course that is completed in 2 work-weeks (10 days) and an 80-hour course that is held in short sessions (say, 3-hours at a time) over a few months. In the latter case homework can be assigned with reasonable time to process it; the gray matter can sift thru the ideas taught whilst asleep (some of my best ideas have suddenly and miraculously occurred at 3AM from a deep sleep); independent study can be pursued (especially on the web); questions can be dreamt up; and outside discussions on the subject can be had with family, friends, students and professionals. All this can make two 'equal-length' courses very different. We even had students that purchased equipment like blower doors and cameras before the class had ended, so they could actually be using the stuff in the field sessions. Cool! 3) Lastly, the field work is indispensable. And how it's handled is ultimately important. For instance, are there 10 students with one instructor all trying to 'see' and 'do' something at one time? Or is it 2 or 3 students at one time? Is it only 1 student with one instructor, wherein their is no cross fertilization between students and the opportunity to learn from others? Is the field training held in multiple styles of housing (Victorian, ranch, cape, cottage, etc.) so that the vagarities of each can be realized? Do the students get to do hands-on work such as actually set up the blower door, run the IR camera, do smoke puffing in the attic, maybe even run a insulation blower? (yes, auditors should have an appreciation of the issues of blowing insulations) I stand on my comment that a 5-day course is almost useless even if the student is an RA or PE or a long term carpenter. Sure, it's orders of magnitude better than no experience, but they still have a lot to learn and it takes time -- esp. to overcome preconceived notions of 'the house'. A lack of field work is unacceptable regardless of experience. I say this because I watched fellow students with plenty of real world experience go thru lots of "ah-ha!" moments during our field work (including me). Especially when that darn reality is forced upon them by a blower door or a camera image. It's amazing. Oh! And one more thing. How many really, really good teachers have you had in your lifetime? Most answer this question with less than the fingers on one hand (and usually representing 12-18 years of educational experience). Now .... how good is thier energy auditor teacher? We all know that can have more of an effect than all the other parts put together. By far. Maybe we should also be rating the trainers, eh? Posted by Dirk Faegre on May 13, 2009 5:46am
If you put together the "perfect" certification requirements, you will have very few certified professionals. You can't teach common sense. Building styles and methods vary from region to region. That is why I believe that it is better to have a reasonable standard (such as BPI) as a starting point. Although there is presently no BPI requirement for using Infrared thermography in an audit, there is also no requirement for any training or "certification" in IR when it is used. I am disappointed that BPI does not list individuals that hold BPI certification. They only list BPI accredited contractors, not BPI certified individuals. They charge a minimum of $1,500 per year to be an accredited contractor. That is pretty steep for some of us small Home Performance Contractors (with a BPI certified person doing the auditing and overseeing the work). Test IN and Test OUT. I think that the RESNET/BPI proposal to combine certifications and create different, clearly defined, levels of auditing will help everyone. Posted by Brad Cook on May 15, 2009 12:17pm
TEXAS: Green Energy Audit Certification is a BPI Affiliate in Austin, Texas that provides the training and certfication for people interested in becoming Building Analyst Professionals. Live classes offered in Austin, Texas. Go to txgreenernergyaudits.com for more information, Green Energy Audit Certification can also bring the course to you! If you are interested in having a mobile team of instructors and field examiners certify your team, call us at 512-452-4461. Posted by Lynn Morgan on May 18, 2009 3:31am
I am a RESNET certified rater in North Dakota. How do I get my company listed here? Posted by Henry Borysewicz on Jun 15, 2009 6:47pm
Background experience in the building sciences is a must in the energy rating arenas. I'm a MidWest boy interested in adding energy rating to our services/knowledge base. In doing home work on this, by hitting various sites is simply confusing and staggering. But from what Brad Cook said makes tremendous sense. Combine Resnet & BPI under one governance. Does anyone have thoughts on Kansas Builing Science Institute and their program? (KansasBuildingScience.com ) Posted by Kevin Cuyler on Jun 16, 2009 8:59am
The idea that an energy autitor, rater, weatherization contractor should be making judgements about the structural integrity of a building is outside the stated scope of work under BPI Analyst or RESNET Rater. On the other hand, many building inspectors here in Colorado have added energy rating to their offerings, so I would expect them to be able to make a complete assesment of the building from a structural and energy performance standpoint if they asked for that scope of work. Still, if the client's goals are energy savings and sustainability, the aforementioned building inspector may be completely the wrong choice. In this case a client would be better with a LEED AP for Homes specialist, as they are also required to be a RESNET energy rater. Bottom line. Professionals who articulate their scope of services help consumers make informed choices for the services that offer them the best value. Posted by Brian Brainerd on Jun 24, 2009 2:10pm
Arkansas Energy Office offers certification training courses http://arkansasenergy.org/ Next class is July 27-31 http://arkansasenergy.org/media/258918/rater%20training%20little%20rock%... Posted by Nancy on Jul 17, 2009 4:58pm
http://www.natresnet.org/directory/raters.aspx for RESNET certified raters by state Posted by Tim on Jul 20, 2009 3:47pm
I'm another voice from Maine's energy efficiency/building science arena. I'm familiar with the training programs for residential auditing certification in Maine, having been at Maine's State Energy Program while the MESHA program was developed, and the (Efficiency Maine sponsored) Energy Star program, as well as having had the opportunity to audit the 90-hour program described by Dirk. There are huge differences in the the training. I have a clear favorite, but as mentioned, much of the value of the auditor is his background and understanding of building science. Does the auditor practice what he preaches? If he / she lives in a house that consumes lots of energy and then takes a week course and continues wasting energy in his home, I wouldn't hire him. (Hint: ask questions about the auditor's personal experiences with air sealing, appliances, heat recovery ventilation, renewable energy, indoor air quality.) As far as the roof of an old school falling in- I have major issues about this scenario. First, a residential energy auditor is not trained to be a commercial energy auditor. Commercial and residential buildings are different beasts. Professional engineers should be used to audit commercial buildings, and they should have commercial auditing credentials. A residential auditor is not allowed to perform energy calculations for commercial buildings, and the example is one of many of the reasons why. Sometimes a little knowledge and well meaning just aren't the right tools. If you want to be a commercial energy auditor, you should get the required training, and it is NOT a residential energy auditing course. Thank-you. Posted by Michael J. Mayhew, PE, CEM, GB on Jul 23, 2009 6:55am
I am considering taking this avenue and would like to get training in Illinois. Any suggestions? Posted by Chris on Aug 26, 2009 12:01pm
After reading all these entries, I felt compelled to share my recent experience in energy audit training. I got certified in Energy Auditing from The Energy Audit Institute (http://energyauditinstitute.com) in about 3 weeks for under $200. The training was straight forward and easy to pick up and learn. After I finished I had enough knowledge that I was able to start my own energy audit business in Austin, Texas. I provide "low-cost" energy audits to homeowners and focus on getting their homes more efficient (about 30%) while ensuring they get all the rebates they are due. We focus on lighting changes, HVAC upgrades, water conservation, and insulation which is where the rebates are. These are also the areas that homeowners are actually doing upgrades. I have a very lucrative business and we are booked out for the next 2 months due to the great word of mouth advertising that I get from all my satisfied clients. I'm sure RESNET and BPI offer great programs. At those prices, it better be, right? But before you make general statements that other energy audit training programs are worthless, you should realize that isn't the case. While I didn't spend months in a classroom or thousands of dollars, the education that I got was very "real-world" and ensures I save my clients money and get them their rebates. To me, that is the purpose of the training. To educate in a way that produces effective results. That is what I received from EAI. You all sound like a bunch of pretentious college graduates with degrees in Literary Studies complaining to each other about how the world is unfair on your shift change working at TGI Fridays. The sooner you realize the rules have changed and there are more and more people like myself out there having lots of success, the sooner you can put down your manometer and get over yourselves. Posted by JC on Sep 3, 2009 6:24am
We are a Heat, Air Conditioning and Electrical company in Batesville, Arkansas, that has been in business for almost 30 years. Recently we purchased an older commercial building that was previously a car dealership, but have made small adjustments to fit for our office and services. We are looking for a Licensed COMMERCIAL Energy Auditor and to possibly obtain a grant to upgrade this building to be energy efficient. Is there anyone out there in the commercial industry? Please advise! Posted by Gwyn on Sep 10, 2009 5:48am
Who let the 14 year old JC post? Posted by NK on Sep 10, 2009 11:09am
Illinois association: http://ilenergyraters.org/ Posted by Mitesh Bhalavat on Sep 23, 2009 10:14am
Nevada has an approved Home Performance with Energy Star Program called HomeFree Nevada; website HomeFreeNevada.org. Posted by tracyfoglesong on Dec 23, 2009 1:06pm

@tracyfoglesong -- Many thanks for the update and apologies for the delay (holiday season, you know). We have added the link to HomeFree Nevada, and hold highest hopes for a wildly successful new program. Thanks again!

Posted by Will on Jan 12, 2010 6:18am
Austin, Texas also has a number of energy auditors that are registered with the city. Here's the list: http://www.austinenergy.com/About%20Us/Environmental%20Initiatives/ordin.... I have a company that does these audits in Austin. Visit my website at www.austinauditors.com. Posted by willymars on Sep 30, 2009 4:53am
I am interested in getting certified, know of some plase close to South Dakota? Posted by burnzy on Oct 2, 2009 4:42pm
A good source for training programs nationally is on Home Energy Magazine here: https://www.homeenergy.org/contrainingguide/index.php Posted by energycircle on Oct 3, 2009 7:16am
I was recently trained by Priority Energy in Chicago. Excellent instructor, very reasonable price class, good training in the field. In addition, he has already given me referral audits for my area (South Bend, IN). Highly recommend! I thnink they also do on-site training if the demand is large enough and I'm pretty sure they teach throughout the midwest. Good well rounded program. I found them at www.priorityenergyplanning.com Posted by Mark Gowin on Nov 7, 2009 11:39am
Does anyone have any information for auditors in Louisiana (New Orleans) Posted by curious on Dec 5, 2009 9:15pm
There's also a great video study companion to help pass the BPI field exams and work towards becoming a home energy auditor no matter where you're located. Building Analyst Field Training Video: How to Perform a Home Energy Audit. It's available at www.buildingsciencetech.com. Posted by greenrater on Jan 7, 2010 1:01pm

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