Energy Audits in TN?

Do you have a “sick” house?
Clarksville - Nashville, TN.

Well “Beck” just slammed the weatherization community by pointing out another one of our fantastic Obama appointments!

One of the chief personnel in the Department of Energy (who most energy auditors quote extensively) just stated that we need to attack the weatherization issue with SWAT teams across every neighborhood of the United States!

Sounds like some great marketing stuff that people propose around here?

Well it turns out that her husband is the number one (alleged) window manufacturing companies CEOs in the United States.

There’s no conflict of interest because she disclosed it at the bottom of a 27,000 page job application.

As we all don’t know, Windows do not cause most of the air infiltration or energy loss problems in our homes. It’s the old window framing and the building structure or that allows the most air infiltration into the house. Also, the HVAC air duct systems leak probably about 60% or better. The 30% that the Department of Energy claims is way below what I see on a daily basis.

So if you’re considering energy audit work, it doesn’t seem like it’s panning out very well. At least at the government level.

I decided to break down and “relearn” everything that I learned in a degree program in college and practiced for 41 years and attend a BPI course in Nashville Tennessee. Well guess what? Not enough interest and the course is canceled.

Another point of interest is I decided to take a wild hair endeavor and call the local low income housing people in my locale who are advertising “become an energy auditors/contractor” on the home inspection state licensing board website.

It turns out that they do not recognize any of the national education programs to be, “certified in the entire state of Tennessee” in regards to low income housing (which I really don’t want to go to without a sniper back up anyway)!

Turns out you must be TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) educated and certified. I was directed to their site. Upon arrival there is a notice that all classes have been completed and they will put me on a list if they need us in the future.

Another government contact indicated that they are not advertising the government programs because they would be overcome with requests and could not fulfill the obligation.

What!? So where is this government Bull Crap coming from for new jobs in the green industry fields?

There are 18 sub-controllers controllers for the money given to the state of TN for weatherization projects throughout the state. No jobs available!

So it looks like I will stand by my position and not be certified for any reason, mostly because I don’t need certification in the first place.

As you all know I do thermal imaging and the blower door and duct blaster facilitates diagnostic imaging well below the 20° temperature differential required to do normal testing. This equipment also overcomes the natural building pressures that prevent adequate identification of thermal anomalies to be identified during an IR only inspection…

Before you go out and spend all that money on equipment and training and expects a turnaround on your investment, as Peter Russell has already informed you, do your homework!

Things are not working out as predicted.

Oh Gee whiz, as if that’s news today?!

Welcome to the machine Dave! :slight_smile:

I found out last year what you have recently learned.
“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain… The great and powerful Oz has spoken…” :wink:

I was scheduled to take the BPI Building Analyst Certification Course this week. Friday afternoon I got a call from Clean Edison (BPI) informing me that the class has been rescheduled for March. Turns out only 2 of us signed up and a minimum of 8 students are needed to run the class. I can take it earlier if I want to travel to Cleveland…Yeah right!!

Dave, I’m sorry to hear that things in TN seem to be behind the eight ball. Up here in NH the weatherization program is in full swing and working, only problem is there is not enough workers to do the work. I started out a year ago jumping through all the hoops to get qualified and it’s just now starting to pay off… For my construction company that is. I would have never got into the audit business if it wasn’t a profitable path for my construction company.

As far as the future goes the Home Star program looks promising. Especially for independent auditors. One problem I see is the local community action programs will never fulfill what the government has laid out because all of us will jump ship and work directly for home owners who will pay better and not have all the red tape.

As I said before, there is a lot of people out there selling snake oil designed to make you think you can into this business quick and cheap and all I have to say about that is it’s just ain’t gonna happen. Do your homework, Nothing in this life is easy especially when it involves a government program.

‘‘As we all don’t know, Windows do not cause most of the air infiltration or energy loss problems in our homes.’’

Really, Damn, I thought I could hang a fancy window blind and double the R value of any window :twisted:

Oh man… That’s funny! :twisted::smiley:
I’m cleaning my screen now.

You are not joking with that comment. I bet 1/2 of the blower doors and combustion analyzers we sell are to guys that were in a community action type program (it isn’t always called that in every state) and is now branching out on his/her own.

According to BPI the pay back time (10 years usually) on windows is only cost effective in less than 1% of all rebuilds. As David pointed out, 60+% of most energy loss comes through the duct system. Another interesting stat I recently saw was that 80% of our carbon footprint comes from our buildings (residential/commercial/industrial). 10% comes from livestock. Only 7% came from autos. I would of thought the auto number would have been higher.

David, it is different in every state. We sold a lot of systems in TN 4-6 months ago. Which means the state was getting geared up and spending its stimulus money back then. It could be worse, in Indiana the money was funneled through the Indiana Home Builders Association. I have heard from several contractors that they are not getting paid for the work that has been done.

As you already stated, blower doors are still a great tool to use in conjuntion with infrared outside of what we would consider an energy audit. They basically negate stack effect, lessen wind effects and can “amplify” the heat/cool signature in the camera, without changing the Delta T.


There is money to be made in this, but don’t follow the yellow brick road! :slight_smile:

I am following Peter’s plan and will be contracting the repairs exposed through this equipment.

I get calls all the time for major building problems so the marketing part is already in place.

I bought out that guy in Florida who quit before he got started and upgraded my blower door and gained a duct blaster which is my primary endeavor which coincides with my background in HVAC systems design.

I got a little peeved today when I got home from doing an infrared audit and saw that spot on Glenn Beck. I just wanted to remind any of you considering this endeavor to do your homework. Understanding energy audits will make you a much better home inspector even if you don’t specifically do energy audits for a living.

I did a job today with a 2° Delta at 12 Pa depressurization (there was no wind) and the air leakage was amplified like it was a 15° Delta! Set your camera low temperature alarm to the outdoor ambient and doubletime through the house!

No regrets, just know what you’re getting into!

My area is a bit different. All of the major Utilities have programs or have plans to build programs. My phone and “contact Us” form continues to bring in inquiries.

Heck, I’ve even started to market “Combustion Safety Testing” to my home inspection clients. I’ve had a few take me up on the service and I’m sure there will be more.

I’m sitting in the air port waiting to fly back home from the ASHI Show in Vegas. The keynote speakers were from DOE. Very interesting what they have planned.

I would not be so negative. It works if you works it!!!


Great stuff. I am doing my homework

Man you got that right Kevin, CAZ testing is a must if you want to do an audit right.

The State of NH is working on writing a bill to license auditors and I will be attending the committee hearings. In this case I think a license may not be a bad thing because everyone and their uncle does energy audits. There is a HI company near me that charges 350.00 for a audit and all it is is a visual inspection. If we go through with licensing I am going to push for a strict SOP.

The last part of your statement is right on too, I’m hanging in there because this is going to pay off big time, and for years.



I’m not being negative, I’m being a pragmatist and I want to pass that information on to those that do not have the money to waste on a program that doesn’t exist or work for them.

I just now completed a whole house air leakage tests,.blaster test with infrared and I just received another telephone call on the way home for another one on Tuesday of next week. I’m not saying it doesn’t work, I’m just saying that you must understand what you’re getting into.

As far as the Tennessee government program is concerned, it’ll be a cold day in Cuba before I decide to get involved in that type of work condition. You guys talk about crack houses all the time, I’ve never seen one! I came close to that neighborhood one time and almost turned around and left, turned out to be the wrong directions on the MLS sheet!

If the community organizers program does not acknowledge any of the major training and certification institutions recognized throughout the United States and the world, I tend to raise questions.

I personally believe that the home owner wants more than a passing or failing grade on their home when they call for an energy audit. They want something fixed! If you are interested in picking up another bag of tools and making a bad situation better, I think there is a market for your expertise.

I personally believe in giving the client want they want or can afford. I offer full BPI compliant Home Energy Performance Audit as well as a scaled down entry level Home Energy Survey (RESNET HESP). Sometimes people just don’t want to get the full BPI Audit or they are working with a strict budget.

I try and keep an open mind…