How much longer till folks can make a living off energy audits alone?

Yes, I realize that some companies already do energy audits full time but I’m referring to “in gerneral”.

I feel like most folks would go broke if they got BPI or RESNET certified and only offered energy audits. I’ve been thinking for 2 years there’s gonna be big potential for energy auditors but I’m kinda beginning to wonder.

Do any of you have any 3-5-10year predictions of where most energy auditors will be?

Will energy audits ever be considered just as important as the appraisal and the inspection?

Are home inspectors gonna take up the slack and become an inspector, auditor, and upgrade adviser?

Where are we headed?

While Europe is a full generation ahead of us in establishing energy efficiency as a lifestyle … we are still arguing the value of PEX versus copper when it comes to energy efficiency in our country.

It will come … but there are things that have to happen first.

To begin with, there are dozens of different products and services that are presently being presented to the public that are all being referred to as an “energy audit”. One can hardly blame a consumer for being confused and unenthusiastic about something that the industry providing it has yet to define.

The service that BPI certified building analysts are trained and certified to provide is NOT a commodity to be offered every consumer who lives in a house. It is simply impractical for them … and unrealistic for us … to expect to pay $600 and more as a “first step” toward energy efficiency. It is not until the consumer is preparing for major upgrades and remodeling that a complete diagnostic home performance evaluation is necessary and practical.

The remaining “energy audits” range from free on-line checklists to “rating systems” assigning simple numbers to a home. Even NACHI is getting into the game with its rating system … all of these being convenient ways for people to begin to think about energy efficiency, but none of them being able to provide much as an end product or to justify any significant expense.

Today, there are government incentives in the forms of tax credits and deductions. Utility companies are using rebate programs and simple energy audits as a public relations gimmick to ease the pain of their rate increases … but consumers in the coming decade will find actual penalties (higher taxes, higher utility bills) as a negative motivator to improve their energy efficiency.

No one should become BPI certified with the intent of getting rich off of energy audits right away … but should take the steps to get the certification and training to begin to build their businesses for the certain demand that is coming.

Not until the federal government realizes that the only data that really matters is the cost-to-consumer/useful-information ratio. Get that low enough and consumer demand pours out of the woodwork.

BPI and RESNET’s numerator is so huge, that it almost doesn’t matter how big their denominator is. They’ll never reach a value proposition that generates organic consumer demand. I called this one years ago on this message board… and today I can say without hesitation “I told ya so.”

InterNACHI has come up with a scoring system that has the lowest cost-to-consumer/useful-information ratio by far. Nothing even comes close. The Feds have recently come to realize that they picked the wrong horses at first… and they’re slowly coming around to InterNACHI’s way of thinking. And if they take too, too long, I already have a funded program (Plan B) in place which drastically lowers the cost-to-consumer/useful-information ratio by inserting as our numerator… zero. Do the math.

Thanks for the update! That would be awesome if InterNachi grabbed the bull by the horns. May have to add EA after InterNachi(EA) but then again, home inspector covers a broad area.

The only rare requests I’ve gotten for energy audit is from very wealthy folks. I get so few requests that I simply give them over to a BPI certified inspector and help him out for training.

It would take me 2 years to pay for the $1800 class at this rate.

Is BPI pretty much here to stay as the foundation? Is BPI gonna still be required to offer the InterNachi audit or is InterNachi gonna eventually offer an all-inclusive energy audit training package?

There are 30 to 40 coal plants nationwide that will soon shut down, because they pollute “too” much. More are closing in the coming years. Blame the EPA for setting pollution standards; IE cars, factories, etc. This will only increase energy costs greatly, and your utility bills. Energy audits will save energy usage in any home, but as far as saving you money, that is yet to be seen, and most likely will not. As utility rates increase, people will complain, but may not spend money on these audits, when they can spend that money on their utility bills. There is free stuff on line, and distributed by utility companies that will help save energy. Insulation, HVAC, utility companies, will all offer them for free. We must wait.

Do both the BPI and RESNET certifications. Cover all bases and grow your business during the slow periods. Big money is starting to wager on housing. Things will pick up next year. More info.

It’s based on the price of oil (energy in general).

I don’t know if you remember back when gas prices shot up and General Motors quit making big SUVs for a while (you should have with all the monster SUVs in Salt Lake City). When gasoline got to five dollars things went ballistic around here. Then it settled down a little bit and everybody went right back to the same old stuff.

There is a magic number out there, but I don’t know exactly what it is where people will react significantly. It has to do with income and outflow ratios.

One thing you should consider if you want to be on the leading edge of the industry when it does evolve (because I can guarantee you the price of fuel will go through the roof sooner than later) is that this energy auditing stuff is about giving a building a mile per gallon sticker like you get on a new car. It means absolutely nothing.

These numbers are needed to collect government money, but if you are working in this scope of the energy business you are working for less than minimum wage.

The ultimate goal is to be able to fix people’s problems, not just identify or rate them.
Buying new windows and air conditioners have no payback. They cost too much, interest rates on loans are too high (even at 3%), maintenance or replacement is needed before you get your money back. If you want to save energy, quit using it.

I have been living off of energy auditing pipe inspections for the last eight months. A basic home inspection is in the ditch! The issue is that energy auditing information is directly related to building destruction and health issues. The big commercial jobs I work on are about building destruction, but I use the energy efficiency criteria in the process of identifying and correcting their problems.

It is my opinion that no one is going to make any significant money on a traditional energy audit program. The learning curve and equipment costs are prohibitive.

When someone calls you because they can’t afford their fuel bill, how can they afford an odd it and then how are they going to afford to fix it?

Government rebates: don’t even scratch the surface in reimbursement though they give a perceived notion of getting something for nothing.

I had a job last week where they went through all the government programs and were about to have the government do a test out on the building to get their 500 bucks back. There were still uneven temperatures experienced within the building. The client, though rather anal was unsatisfied with the results. In actuality they did a very good job finding problems and trying to fix them. But they left behind a couple of issues difficult to identify which I was able to, document and recommend repair. This was significant enough to not satisfy the client. It cost the client his 500 bucks that he is getting back from the government to figure out the final information which required the use of $27,000 worth of test equipment.

You are not going to pay back $27,000, $150 at a whack. Equipment replacement will be necessary before you finish paying off. However, if you have it and you do $6-$8000 jobs with it you may as well use it on the little bitty residential projects. People that live in those little bitty residential projects work at the big projects. Advertising expense…

We can chat more about this in New Orleans, Brandon.


I personally do not think the future of this industry lies within what we view as an energy auditor, today. I also do not think it will lie within what we see as a home inspector, today. Keep in mind that the majority of home inspectors are not like the ones that come to these boards. They really just offer a straight home inspection.

I see the future within the building codes…I have actually always thought this. IECC and maybe Energy Star, both of which now require duct leakage to the outdoors or total duct leakage at rough in.

So what does the future hold then? Well for new construction and relating to this crowd…well David Anderson is going to have a very good next 20+ years…if he doesnt mind traveling for the next few. His HVAC and building science background is exactly what will be required for the IECC stuff.

So if you want to prep for the future get some HVAC knowledge. Even if I am wrong the HVAC industry as a whole is a lot more recession proof than any other construction or real estate related industry.

As far as remodels…who knows. Maybe it is BPI, but going forward the NAHB and the ACCA were not happy about where the government money went last time. Both of those organizations dwarf BPI in membership.

Join Efficiency First if you really want to stay up on this stuff.