There are hundreds of certifications for the professionals, products, and processes involved in home performance, and there is – or there was – one notable omission. At the ACI Home Performance Conference in Austin last week, leading building performance training organizations announced certification programs for the hands-on contractors who install the products, seal the penetrations, and otherwise carry out the recommendations of the home-performance auditors and analysts.
New certifications from the Building Performance Institute (BPI) are for air-sealing and insulation installers and crew chiefs. BPI has long had certification programs for individuals who assess and prescribe improvements for existing homes, building envelopes, and HVAC systems. Tremendous growth among auditors has outpaced development of a workforce trained to do the work.
“With a lot of audits, especially those done by utility companies, the auditor walks through the house, writes his report, hands it to the homeowner, and says ‘Good luck,’” says Larry Zarker, BPI’s CEO. “As far as I’m concerned, that’s a waste of time and money. If it doesn’t lead to work, it’s not worth doing.”
The new certifications will help remodeling contractors to fill that existing gap. “We think remodelers should get this very quickly,” Zarker says. “They already treat the house as a system, but there are certain elements of building science that they don’t know. They can pick up [the new training] and follow the standards.”
BPI plans to roll out the new certification program through its 171 training affiliates, which also set the training costs. Click here to identify providers near you.
The second organization to announce a contractor certification program last week is RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network). Best known for the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) for new homes, RESNET’s new “contractor qualification program” is an eight-hour training program for remodelers, plumbers, electricians, insulation providers, and other trade professionals who perform retrofit work.
Laurel Elam, RESNET’s program manager, says the program responds to the same dilemma that motivated BPI’s new certifications. “We have professionals who are certified to do home audits, but there was a disconnect in getting homeowners in touch with the certified professionals who can come in and do the work,” she says. “Qualified contractors” must be trained by a RESNET-accredited provider.
Click here to find out about RESNET training providers.