Going green has affected every industry and it is logical that it would play a vital role in how we live within our homes. Initially, recycling was everyone’s main and often only concern when it came to going green, but as time as passed homeowners have come to realize that having control over efficient energy is also a key factor. It helps the environment and can generate hefty savings. More and more homeowners are opting for energy inspections which offers a lot of potential for income for home inspectors.
This opens the doors for home inspectors to have another avenue in which they can specialize and/or offer additional services. If you’re a home inspector longing to know how to get into energy audit inspections you’ve come to the right place! This article will list the certifications and their definitions. It will also supply you with a practical process for getting started in energy audits.
Let’s start with certifications and their meanings
While additional training programs are continuously showing up within the field of energy auditing, there are several certifications that have already become well known. Below is a listing of the ones you should consider going for and be familiar with.
Now that you’re venturing into the area of energy audit inspections a name you will hear often is the Building Performance Institute also referred to as BPI. Being certified by BPI means you are not obligated to attend any classes. However, it might be a good idea to take the week-long BPI certification prep course since it will increase your chances of easily passing the field examination and the 100 question, two-hour written exam (with a minimum passing score of 70%).
Once you’ve passed the exam and are a BPI Building Analyst, you will be certified to administer conduct blower-door tests, air quality tests (which include monoxide and carbon detection), airflow and duct testing. In addition, you’ll be certified for combustion appliance inspections/repairs.
The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) also has a certification in this field. In order to become a Certified Energy Auditor (CEA) you will also need to pass a written exam with a minimum score of 70%; however, an auditing seminar is mandatory and their exam is four hours long. AEE also requires a recertification in three (3) years. Their prerequisites for education and experience are ten (10) years experience in the field of energy (no degree required), however, you will need an engineering degree (4-year) and three (3) years experience in the field. If you have an unrelated degree, you’re required to have at least eight (8) years experience in the field of energy.
If a four-hour written exam sounds a bit daunting you might be interested in the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) exam, which is two (2) hours in length and 50-questions long. Your score for this exam will need to be at least 80% and once you’ve passed, you’ll be able to list your company as a HERS – Home Energy Rating System rater, meaning you are a RESNET certified auditor. RESNET requirements will include having conducted a least two (2) supervised ratings by a RESNET trainer and three (3) additional probationary ones within a year of having passed their examination. You will need twelve (12) hours of continuing education classes after becoming certified, but will not have to take any courses as a prerequisite for the certification itself.
RESNET provides a free PDF of their National Energy Audit Standard for those interested, and since their certification will allow you to do the combination of energy audits and home energy ratings, reviewing their information to see if it is a perfect fit for you will be well worth the read.
While these are just a few organizations offering certifications, there are numerous others. Keep in mind that while some might not require any prerequisites, they typically are established under the assumption that you are someone who is already working in the field. If that is not the case, be sure to take any and all courses they offer to prepare yourself for the examination and for the job itself. Those working in the field who decided to become certified in energy audits will now have another service to offer to current and potential customers.
Additional Important Information
If you’ve made your decision or would like a bit more information before you do, check out Home Performance with Energy Star. They list energy auditors and energy retrofit contractors. Obtaining an energy audit yourself is a great way to see the process by someone who is already certified and working in the field.
Of course cost always plays a factor eventually. While adding this to your list of specialties, it will hopefully increase business opportunities; you should be aware that basic energy auditing equipment could amount to $5,000(+). That figure would include a blower door (cost: $2,500-$4,000), a combustion analyzer ($1,200), an ambient CO monitor ($150) and a gas leak detector ($150). These are just basic additions and you might want to consider additional equipment. These are estimates so when you’re shopping keep them in mind, but know that the prices may vary slightly, hopefully in your favor!
No matter what you’ve heard about how to get into energy audit inspections, be sure to do your own homework, get the training and credentials you need to be successful and soon you’ll be joining other professionals in the field of energy audits.