OK, would someone please explain the purpose and function of the following: Resnet, HERS, BPI and LEED. There seems to be different standards for energy inspections. The start up costs for energy type inspections are very high by the time you purchase an infrared imager, blower door, duct blaster, etc. And then the needed training adds several thousand dollars to the equipment costs. Also, you will need to advertise. How many trained and fully equipped inspectors will actually recover their investment when some contractors are offering free or reduced pricing for the energy audits?
I own an infrared imager and completed Level 1 certification, but now I am looking at investing a lot more to become “qualified” for energy audits. Is it truly worth the investment?
HERS is a home energy rating index for new construction and Energy Star and recently a rating for existing homes. Only a RESNET or BPI trained/certified rater can give a HERS rating. It requires a blower door and duct blaster but not an IR camera. The training is around $1500 and the equipment is approximately $5000. If you are not doing Energy Star/HERS ratings that equipment might not be a good buy. LEED is basically a Green Building standard and requires one to be LEED certified.
Anybody can call themselves a home energy auditer in most jurisdictions! Some areas like Austin, Tx require you to be RESNET or BPI certified before doing energy audits.
If you want to ask more questions give me a call. I am RESNET certified.
ICASTusa.org (hope i got that right) have free online classes on energy auditor and even solar installation, etc. I am presently taking a free week long class that certifies me as an energy auditor (certified by OSHA). I found out about it from the workforce center here in colorado springs. Thru the BRAC program they pay for everything and even pay me…SWEET!..I think the only catch with that program is that i’m a retiring army vet but its worth a look.
I had heard that HERS raters charged upwards of $800 for evaluations/audits. I am curious as to exactly how they cultivate this business. Most people I encounter are very cost conscious, and would seem very reluctant to spend this kind of money.
We have nothing like this in the north bay of San Francisco… I think people would like to have this info… but its not going to work in this economy… no way. we have some insulation company on TV. With free Energy audits as part of there sales program…
I think we will have a wave of free IR Work to put up with for a time that is going to put a damper on IR Work…
For those interested in getting into energy audits you are going to have to do a ton of reading. Start with the Energy Star page, and go out from there as you learn stuff.
To properly do an energy audit, it is going to be very difficult to get in to it for less than 10k, and that is without infrared. I will probably get a bunch of replies to this saying you can get in to it for less than $2500. I can call myself a framer with a hammer and a box of nails.
Infrared is going to be a standard very soon. My guess is October of this year. Not only will it become a standard, but it will lend itself to yet another large revenue stream in this business. It might even be possible that you will only need infrared for that revenue stream. It is possible, but I seriously doubt it. We will know more in the coming months.
Currently you can use a conversion to get to 50 pascals. That may not be the case in the future. A leak may not present itself at 25 pascals, but will at a higher (lower) pressure. So when purchasing your equipment make sure you do the research. Spending $2800 today to save $1000, might cost you $2800 and $3800 in the future. (This is only an example of one piece of equipment.)
You need a heck of a lot more than just a blower door to get in to energy auditing. Do the training first, it will teach you exactly what you will need to do a real energy audit. Good news is as an HI you have most of the smaller items already. Get BPI and Resnet, BOTH! These two groups are currently in talks for merging. The million dollar question is, if/when that happens what happens to each side. No one knows, so you should just do both. Add on LEED while you are at it.
Having the ability to get some sort of license where you can sub out work (IE: General Contractors license) is a big plus. When people call me for consulatation, I normally tell those that do not have this type of back ground or ability should probably wait on energy auditing. Currently the bulk of the money in energy auditing is in the improvement, and the kickbacks for doing such improvements. If a contractor can bring a structure a savings of 50% vs the 2004 energy codes, that contractor gets a $2000 kickback on residential, $1.80 a sq on commercial/industrial, and .60 a sq on split commerical/industrial. That kick back is on top of the work.
With number 5, marketing this service is absolutly cake. I know of several companies that started off small doing this type of work, and have now blown up. To the point that they run upwards of 18 crews doing this work (biggest success one I have personally seen thus far).
There is no one direction with this. Meaning once you figure out who/how to market this service don't stop there, there are many other avenues. For example, most companies out there are marketing this to low income housing because the audit and the upgrades are basically free to the home owner/renter. Those programs are time sensitive, so look in to other avenues as well.
The Austin TX Point Of Sale energy audit and home inspection goes in to effect tomorrow, June 1st. Currently, the only piece of equipment needed for this energy audit is a duct blaster? (duct mask, manometer, etc for a duct leakage test). Go figure. I would not bank on this being the standard in the future for POS energy audits. I would expect to see something more like the Canadian POS as more cities and states adopt these laws.
This is my own opinion, but I really do not think this is a fad. Europe and Australia have been doing this type of work for upwards of 20 years. It is like anything else, companies will come and go. Ultimately, the strong and good will survive. I think this is how construction will be done in the future, and construction companies that do not go this route will probably be gone inside of 10 years.
Jason, I have one question. How does the $2000.00 kick back work and who pays for it.
I’m working on free energy audit seminars. The owners of the building where my office is located will rent me a very large conference room for $50.00 per day. I’m using my exsisting cutomer data base, from years of remodeling, and sending out invitations to attend a free energy audit seminar.
I should be able to speak to app. 20 people at a time. I figure I’ll hold one seminar in the morning and one in the afternoon. I hope to start by the end of June and have one every month. If it takes off, like I think it will, I’ll add on more.
I plan to have my blower door and IR camera there as well as other tools, a quick PP and free coffee.
I also plan on having free audit coupons, so if the client follows through and hires my construction company to complete the scope of work I will credit the audit on the home improvement contract.
My energy audits and thermal imaging inspections are all done by my construction company and home inspection will not be part of it. This way I will avoid any conflict of interest.
That type of plan is what I normally recommend to someone pursuing this type of business. The seminar approach is a great idea.
I think when I spoke to you several months ago on the phone I also recommended you check out your local power companies. I cannot remember if you are under the North East utility grid, but I know for a fact they are doing energy audits. They sub out that work. And even though it may look on the surface to be free, the contractor gets paid. Check out your state Weatherization programs as well. Once again, the audit looks free but the contractor normally gets paid. Keep expanding on your “green” construction marketing, once the stimulus money drys up, it is going to be about complete green construction. Get your LEED cert!
Once you do a couple of these seminars (just to get good and comfortable) you should call your local media. The media out here is eating up IR and energy audits.
I was invited to a panel this Friday in Colorado Springs to offer information from a home inspector view. Here is the invite. They are welcoming others. Get it touch with them and join the fun helping our Service men and women
Here is the one pager on the Career Panel and networking event for next Friday.
Residential Energy Efficiency Career Panelist
This is a new addition to the energy efficiency curriculum. This is an opportunity to represent your local industry and share your knowledge about the industry particular to employment trends and opportunities both current and future. When this is recorded and put online this will provide you with great visibility as an expert in the field. If you available Friday, June 5th, 2009 from 1pm to 3pm and interested in being a panelist we will pay you $200.00 for the 2 hour module. Please RSVP as soon as possible.
This Module will start with basic introductions about yourself and your company. You will describe your own career path and how you got into the efficiency industry. What was your motivation? What do you find rewarding in your career? What kinds of jobs are available in the industry? Finally, what advice can you give the group on choosing their career path and training?
Save The Date
BRAC - Residential Energy Efficiency Training for Military Spouses and Transitioning Service Men and Women
Friday, June 5th, 2009 From 3pm to 5pm
Located at the Colorado Springs Electrical JATC
414 W. PIKES PEAK Ave. Colorado Springs, CO 80905
Dear friends and colleagues,
Please mark your calendars for the EE Networking Event for industry professionals and graduates of the Residential Energy Efficiency Training on June 5th. This course is designed and instructed by top industry professionals, provides an intense 5 day introduction to installing residential energy efficiency solutions. Trainees learn Residential Energy Efficiency technologies, terminology, calculations, installation processes, receive hands on training and an OSHA 10 hour safety certificate.
This networking event will give you a captive audience to introduce yourselves and your companies to our graduates. You may inform the group of any potential employment, certification, or trainings that you may have or hand out any collateral promoting your company. Our skilled trainees will be eager to meet and network with you.
We would like to offer you the opportunity to take on a graduate for a no cost, no liability, working internship. iCAST has taken on all legal liability for the graduates for 30-60 days following the course to provide an opportunity for industry members to evaluate our course graduates at no cost or risk. If you meet the right candidate at the networking event you should consider arranging to have them come out to your company for a day or up to a week for an unpaid internship to evaluate them for jobs or training. Again, this is at no cost or liability for you.
If you would like further information about our training program or to RSVP for this event please contact us at 1.866.590.4377 with Mark, at extension 806.
Let me know if you need additional information and whoever else you know that might be interested.
Thanks Jason, I am about to start building a house I designed that will have R-24 walls, R-38 ceiling, triple pane windows and electric heat. We will also have a propane fireplace as a heat source too. I’ll check out the rebates and once I get started I’ll post some pictures. I really do need to get Leed certified but am so busy now I don’t have the time.