Linus - I somewhat agree, that is why I asked the question. Fortunately I have the inside track to a VERY large grant. The powers to be at the grant want me BPI certified and maybe HERS rated. Payback on the investment will be aobut 3-4 months - soooooo - I know you do not need the $ training for the test, but has anyone taken the written test and the NACHI course and found that the NACHI course is sufficient to pass the written BPI test. That was my original question for which I have yet to receive a yes or no.
Resnet = HERS rater = EnergyStar standard. So you just saved $3k there,
As far as no national standard that is somewhat true, and somewhat not true.
Let me give a very local type of typical situation that arrises. The federal funds are dispersed to the state. The state is told to get the funds out there as soon as possible to create more jobs. The state then finds their local “expert” or whatever you want to call it. That “expert” has a high probability of being BPI or Resnet just because 98% of all “certified” energy auditors are one or the other. The “expert” will probably have other certifications, which is usually of the LEED type(s). So now this “expert” advises the state on how to do their programs, and that is why you see such a huge variation on how things are done throughout the different states.
One other huge factor is where you are located in the country. The north east is dominated by BPI because BPI is based out of NY and has spread its web everywhere in those regions. CA is very HERS oriented, and there is a seperate chapter of HERS in CA called CalHERS. I know the president of CalHERS and he has stated there is a huge demand for HERS raters in CA right now, and many are backlogged for months at a time, and that was before the new Title 24 requirements on HVAC upgrades/installs/repairs, etc. Which requires an independant auditor to come in a do a duct test as well as a flow hood type of air balancing test on most HVAC installs (new, upgrade or repair). These audits HAVE to be done by a HERS rater, and that rater has to be a 3rd party to the job.
Then if you do some searching of the minutes from congress on different energy related bills, including the current HUGE one (cash for caulkers) they explicitly mention standards and how they should be handled. During a conversation that went back and forth about 4 times both BPI and Resnet were mentioned. The senator during this conversation asked if the current means of BPI and Resnet were good enough, and the other speaker basically said yes. I posted a link to those minutes in another thread somewhere on here.
The only other standard I would say that has a chance to really get in to the current game would be the NAHB Green Building Standard. The NAHB is a huge lobbying force, I believe they have upwards of 750k members. Because of that huge voting pool and lobbying power, I really think their standard will become the residential rebuild standard and LEED will remain the commercial alternative to the rebuild process.
currently the green industry breaks down like this:
BPI = auditor/inspector
Resnet = auditor/inspector
LEED = design, rebuild and new construction of commercial and residential
NAHB Green Building Standard = design, rebuild and new construction of residential
There are others out there, but they are very small in size. Keep in mind, anyone can pave their own path via hard work and results. So although there is not an actual national standard per say, normally the money flows a certain way and follows the path of least resistance, which currently are those 4 avenues. And as far as local and state standards…there are some types of work and applications that requires a certain standard. The Title 24 laws in CA are just one example.
Although it is a very small community, I invite any of you that are serious about this business and want opinions and results of current guys in the industry check out www.energyauditortalk.org.
Great, hope to make time.
Aboit halfway through the INACHI course and I found it to be very good. Not totally comprehensive, but very good with a lot of data and ideas.
I would suggest that anyone who takes it to do the math, That is what it is, and will become. Quantitative numbers to show energy savings. That is essential.
Hope this helps;
On Monday morning, I met with two men: Sean Zobaa of Home Energy Team and one of BPI’s board members who owns a 60 employee energy audit company in California. Yes, I said 60 employees! He admitted that none of his clients come to him because of some tax credit nonsense. Surprisingly, he also admitted that they didn’t come to him for energy savings either! Why do they hire him then? His clients are in 2 main camps: Those trying to solve health issues by looking at indoor air quality… and those who are interested in improving comfort. Health and comfort… not tax credits or energy bills. I learned more from that meeting about the future of energy audits than I ever learned prior to the meeting. A real eye-opener.
That has been my experience as well. While the energy tax credits are nice, they help to pay for any improvements, it is mainly about health and comfort. Most of my callers are young mothers and are concerned about their new kid, mold, cold drafts, colds and the flu and all. The energy savings and the tax credits are, mostly, just cream.
One other avenue that I have been persuing. For new construction, many times the insulation was installed improperly. The builder claims that they used the proper materials, with regards to R values. I am hired to do an independent evaluation of the functional R value and find air intrusion problems (easy to do with just the IR camera) and document it. If given to the local building dept guys, they can (and do) order the builder to make the insulation compliant.
Remember the old inspector verbiage, “Not performing as designed because of improper installation.”
Then, some times, the builder hires me to supervize the new install.
Hey, money is money.
I did an energy loss IR inspection just a few days ago. Here is the clients Home Guage response: “Excellent and professional. Thank you for taking the time to explain the what where how and why. I would highly recommend you to anyone”. He was concerned about cold spots and drafts which I pointed out as we went through the home. With the IR camera and a smoke tube he could see with his own eyes where his problem areas are.
Bingo, that is what I referring to when I said there is more money in paving your own path. Even if a company could completly survive off the stimulus money, what are they going to do in 2 years. The stimulus/tax credit business model is a horrible one. If you can get this type of work or incentives for your customers, then it is a great way to spring board your company, but over the long term it is not a viable business model.
Leave the Obama money to the government organizations that are doing the work for the states. The real business model should be to do amazing work and save people real money on a montly basis and make their home more comfortable. Write white pages on thsoe customers and also use them as references for future customers. Word of mouth is the best business to have in the world. Rewarding, larger margins and basically zero cost of advertising…among other things.
How are you finding leaks of warm air exfiltration at the leeward side of the house in winds, at the upper areas of house from stack effect, and at areas of the house where there exists a neutral pressure plane with no air leakage in or out. How do you find air leaks when indoor and outdoor temps are the same? It has been my experience that to find all air leakage with IR, you need the blower door to suck cold/hot air(depends which climate you live in) and make all leaks visible to the IR.
BTW, when I trained to be a US certified energy auditor (1981- Cornerstones School of Building, Brunswick, ME), there was a gent from a Chicago company (Potential Energy Incorporated) whose company was using IR with blower door to find air leaks…and that was 1981!!!
Throw in low delta T situations where a blower door would show a better IR signature where you might not even have one without.
Some say people doing energy audits without an IR camera are 1/2 blind, I believe the other way around holds true as well.
1981? Did that guy wheel that thing in on flat bed truck? I have seen the systems from the late 80’s and they were on a dolly.
It was probably a really big home.
The engineer we used in 1980 to scan some of the houses we blew with insulation had an AGA Thermovision 700 series unit. It was big compared to today and only gave a fuzzy black and white image.
It probably weighed 25 lbs. The front with a 4x4 inch screen was about 5"x12" with a depth of 12-14" that was supported by a chest/shoulder brace. The IR sensing device was super-cooled with liquid nitrogen before imaging began.
I couldn’t agree with you more! One thing I would like to add, as the consumer becomes educated through all this they will expect a certain standard of measurement.
This is the important factor I think most miss
Brian, aside from all the jargon, here is something that you have to realize, in our area. I have never seen a house (new or old) that had less than 15 ACH. No one, around here, air seals. A blower door is usually not needed. I just turn on the bathroom and stove vents and turn on the clothes dryer to air fluff and see many areas of infiltration. When there is no delta T (usually only for a month or two in spring and summer) I use a smoke pen and fogger. It does n’t take much to find air leaks when they are so many and when you are experienced with where to look, given the common building techniques in this area.
As I have stated, most customers don’t want an detailed, formal, quantitative audit. They want to know where the problems are, how to prioritize and fix them and where to find professionals who know how to fix them properly.
Also, many HVAC people around here are a joke and don’t know the proper way to install high efficiency furnaces (no combustion air intakes run). Doesn’t take a genius to call this out and save them 10% efficiency on the heating gas costs.
Hope this helps;
Check out David Valley’s blog over at Linked-In in regards to the use of blower doors.
I would particularly pay attention to the comments from:
L. Terry Clausing, P.E.
BPI Certified Building Analyst & Envelop Proctor/Instructor
ASNT Certified NDT Level III Thermal Infrared Thermography
Posted there. Thanks for the heads-up, Linus.
Don’t you just love it when P.E.'s speak down to us poor, lowly home inspectors? :mrgreen:
I don’t feel he was speaking down to anyone. His comments are on point!! Sorry Will, but your posts here and over at LinkedIn shows your ignorance on the subject of blower doors. On that thread you indicated that you have certifications from BPI and that you have done comparisons with/with-out the Blower Door per BPI Standards.
So, just to be clear…Are you a BPI Certified Building Analyst and do you own a Blower Door?
Can you take this course and then take the BPI exam without take the BPI course?