Remodelers and other contractors who work on home performance upgrades may soon have a whole new set of rules to follow. The Department of Energy (DOE) has thrown its support behind recently created standard work specifications in order to have a national credential to perform weatherization tasks.
The Workforce Guidelines for Home Energy Upgradeswere developed as part of the DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which mandated that to be considered for money from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, some or all of the contractors performing the retrofits needed to meet certain criteria.
The new guidelines, voluntary for the time being, are intended to establish a baseline for quality across the industry, according to Benjamin Goldstein, the DOE’s project lead. “Down the line, there are a number of DOE or other federal programs that may consider requiring a certified workforce,” he says. “Performing work in accordance with the Standard Work Specifications could become the prerequisite for receiving public funds. Of course, we are still only in the beginning stages of that conversation within the industry.” Goldstein added that in the home performance realm, it would likely be utilities or other state-run programs that would adopt and enforce these guidelines.
He feels that the Standard Work Specifications, in particular, are a means to get remodelers onboard with a standardized approach to weatherization and home performance since this is the industry where these projects have been taking place. “The majority of consumer spending is going to be in the remodeling and replacement industry for decades to come,” he says. “We’re really trying to provide the tools for savvy remodelers/replacement contractors to bundle efficiency upgrades with traditional remodeling activities to capture energy savings and the significant upsell opportunity.”
Due to the DOE’s lengthy public comment process, however, the guidelines are not scheduled for release until the fall.
There are no federal standards or criteria required for remodelers wishing to do WAP work.
The Workforce Guidelines are strictly voluntary.
The Workforce Guidelines for Home Energy Upgrades and the Standard Work Specifications are two separate components of this program.