RESNET joins forces with InterNACHI.

RESNET and InterNACHI form strategic alliance.

Good for you Nick!!

Dont mean to pee in anyone’s Cheerios, but what is this MOU about, anyway? All it says is they we will be Resnet trainers who will train NACHI members. It says nothing about teaming, and nothing about discounts.

We’re meeting with the Department of Energy in a couple weeks regarding providing this training to our members via www.nachi.tv so that members can offer it as an additional service (and thus an additional revenue stream). RESNET is helping us with the project by providing the trainers.

I will be very disappointed with both RESNET and USDOE if they allow TV training to certify energy auditors. Having worked in and around the residential energy conservation field since 1977, I have seen how poor some of the “training” is, let alone learning it on TV.

Canada has had a federal “Certified Energy Auditor” training program since about 2000. Most auditors have not come out of the residential energy retrofit field but from other building related fields that have no building science or energy training. Therefore, IMHO, 4-5 days training is very minimal and will lead to many poor or incomplete recommendations. Hell, the general knowledge of the energy audit and retrofit field is so poor that one long serving HI did not pass a pre-qualification test to become an auditor-in-training… and the test wasn’t that hard with only a 70% pass.

In Fall 2077, I was hired by the provincial energy efficiency and conservation agency to help in a pilot project to set up a low income residential energy retrofit program.* The program was going to accept the reports of the federally certified energy auditors as a basis for the retrofit work to be carried out on each home.

Mid-last January, I got a call from the program asking if I might be available essentially right away to to do some QC for the program…Inspect and complete reports within 30 days…No, I couldn’t due to time constraints.

In late February, another call… do I have time now to do some inspections…they were not happy with the reports of the consultant hired previously when I had no time for the contract. I barely had time to fit this time-limited contract in to my regular work over a period of 4-5 weeks but took it… had to work 6-7 days/week up to 12-14 hours some days travelling to all ends of the province.

What was most appalling was the lack of quality reports and knowledge of some of the energy auditors… and even some of the retrofit contractors’ work. Complete misses in defining the most efficient and cost effective energy envelope in more complex homes. Mostly lip service to HVAC system duct leakage sealing and insulation…very uneven blown insulation in attics (IMO, 1-2 inches uneveness is acceptable if, on average, it meets the specified R value to be installed but 5-6 inches is not)…airsealing failing only 4-5 months after being done…on and on.

In December, another request… I have already submitted a price for work that will begin this month…awaiting confirmation.

I am sure Peter Russell will see this thread. It will be interesting to hear his opinion of TV energy auditor training!

*Within a couple of months, it became evident that one of the better goals of the program (help local contractors around the province improve their energy efficiency/conservation knowledge & techniques including IAQ/moisture/interior ventilation while helping those in need) would have to be changed.

The program morphed into a large bid program for house retrofits in batches of 25 to 50 homes with values in the $100’s of thousands. Only 5-6-7 larger contractors now share the millions being spent per year… the smaller local contractors are shut out of the bidding process…period. Some of these successful bid contractors now send men up to 200 miles out of home base to work while local companies in these communities lose out. SAD!!

Well, there is always going to be some hands-on portion to stuff like this, but of all the types of training in the industry, none… and I mean absolutely none… can compete with hi-def, interactive online video. Online video is perfect for training inspectors. Hands-on training is also very good, maybe even better (because it is more interactive) but not quite as efficient (financially difficult to get the world’s leading experts to come to your town and take you on 25 different projects in one day, like online video training can). Online non-video is fine, but has some disadvantages (it’s too boring IMHO). Chalkboard (classroom) education is the worst and is harmful to consumers: http://www.nachi.org/classroomsharm.htm

As per usual NACHI continues to out shine all other association put to gether .

Man, you really take it to extremes sometimes…

" In some cases, the harm may result in the actual death of either the inspector or the consumer."

Got any real life examples?

From the EXTRACT of the study (their Italics):

The meta-analysis found that, on average, students in online learning
*conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction. *The difference between student outcomes for online and face-to-face classes was larger in those studies contrasting conditions that blended elements of online and face-to-face instruction
with conditions taught entirely face-to-face. Analysts noted that these blended conditions often included additional learning time and instructional elements not received by students in control conditions. This finding suggests that the **positive effects associated with blended learning **should not be attributed to the media, per se.

Read the “Conclusions” of the executive summary and you will find these:

[FONT=TimesNewRomanPSMT]*"In recent experimental and quasi-experimental studies contrasting blends of online and face-to-face instruction with conventional face-to-face *
classes, blended instruction has been more effective***,** providing a rationale for the effort required to design and implement blended approaches.** Even when used by itself, online learning **appears *to offer a modest advantage over conventional classroom instruction.

*However, several caveats are in order: Despite what appears to be strong support for online learning applications, the studies in this meta-analysis **do not demonstrate that online learning is superior as a ***[/FONT]medium, In many of the studies showing an advantage for online learning, the online and classroom conditions differed in terms of time spent, curriculum and pedagogy. It was the combination of elements in the treatment conditions (which was likely to have included additional learning time and materials as well as additional opportunities for collaboration) that produced the observed learning advantages. At the same time, one should note that online learning is much more conducive to the expansion of learning time than is face-to-face instruction."

Pretty simple…this last sentence sums up why good, well planned online training (yes there can be big differences in online training!) can be better than limited-time classroom training but, as noted in both the Abstract and Conclusions of the study, blended training is the best solution.

Yes, a NY inspector improperly set up his ladder a couple years ago. He fell and died. He would be alive today if he had taken our online Inspector Safety course. He didn’t because NY State didn’t approve it for continuing education.

Here is another real life example from last month: http://www.nachi.org/forum/f19/thanks-international-association-certified-home-inspectors-tv-home-inspection-videos-55674/

I can dig up others.

Many inspection schools have tried selling classroom safety courses in the past, but inspectors won’t take a day off, drive, and pay tuition to take them. The likely reason so many more InterNACHI members take them is that we make them convenient (online) and free. InterNACHI’s average bloodline is superior to non-members because the financial and logistic barriers to improved competence have all been removed for members.

Everyone has their own opinion; from what has been recounted to me from a client that used my services about 3 weeks ago after having an INACHI inspector do a previous inspection when I was unavailable due to other booked inspections…locally there is a problem.

I also have a regular repeat client (income property investor) for whom I did my last pre-Xmas inspection. We had a longer than normal chat due to the season and the nature of business relationship becoming more friendly (having done at least $13,000+ work for he, his wife or brother-in-law [a realtor/income property investor also] over the past 1.5 years). He revealed to me that he had dealt with an INACHI inspector previously and, obviously, would not use him again.

When both of the above stories came out, I was actually a bit surprised as most folks don’t want to tell you they made a bad decision about something like this!

I think anyone can dig up stories that support one opinion over another. That being said I have experienced the effects of under trained auditors first hand and these are classroom trained!!!

The biggest problem with energy audits and retrofits is the lack of construction experience. Most of the auditors that are out there, mostly at the state level, have little or no construction back ground. All of what they know came from a book. So, even if they know what balloon framing is they cannot understand how to blow a wall that has been altered by Joe Homeowner. There are plenty of examples but you get the point.

I’ve never been a fan of mentoring but in this case it may be a good idea, especially when life/ safety for the auditor and consumer come into play.

As far as online training, if it’s a basic beginners course than OK but any kind of certification, no way. There is no way you can set up a blower door and a manometer online. Also, you can’t gain the knowledge of the other trades people in your class, such as the HVAC, thermographers or senior auditors.

Brian, I believe the agreement that Nick is working out with RESNET is a basic energy survey certification, similar to the one RESNET is working on with ASHI and Home Depot. I haven’t seen the details of it but I believe it’s just a walk through survey with no testing. HD is starting a pilot program in Detroit to see how it works.

By the way, most of the RESNET raters are up in arms about this. Personally I think it’s a good idea. I will let INACHI, RESNET and HD spend marketing money to get me leads all day long. The thing most have to keep in mind is when a homeowner goes to HD for a energy survey they will initially be looking for the cheapest way out, it’s up to you to up sell your services. Getting face to face with the consumer is a very good way to sell more work. They will see you as the expert, not HD, build trust with the client and not only will you receive more business from them but referrals as well. Time will tell.

This is going to help too. In my area #2 fuel oil is $3/gallon, gas is $3/gallon, propane is $3.90 per gallon and close to $5/gallon down on the seacoast. Homeowners will be scrambling to save money, prices will continue to rise this year. I have a client, remodeled his house himself, who just burned almost 200 gallons in two weeks. Currently spending about $800/month on energy and is not comfortable.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Oils-surge-in-2010-paves-the-apf-1258480888.html?x=0

Some day…maybe not in our lifetimes, but some day…we might be able to see home inspectors and energy auditors who do not insist on being minimally qualified.

By that, I mean the guy who goes out and buys a camera and then insists that…at a minimum…alll inspectors must have a camera. He is BPI certified…so, at a minimum…all inspectors should be BPI certified. He has a background as a builder…so, at a minimum…all inspectors should have a background as a builder.

Some day, instead of minimizing himself in an attempt to eliminate others from competition…inspectors will take what the “other guy” charges and add additional dollars to his fee by advertising that his camera makes him WORTH MORE and his certification makes him WORTH MORE…and so on…and so on.

When that day comes, the inspector who charges $175 for his inspections or audits will, by virtue of his pricing, be identifying HIMSELF as inferior.

Some day…

Just requoting one of my paragraphs:

*“Canada has had a federal “Certified Energy Auditor” training program since about 2000. Most auditors have not come out of the residential energy retrofit field but from other building related fields that have no building science or energy training. Therefore, IMHO, 4-5 days training is very minimal and will lead to many poor or incomplete recommendations. Hell, the general knowledge of the energy audit and retrofit field is so poor that one long serving HI did not pass a pre-qualification test to become an auditor-in-training… and the test wasn’t that hard with only a 70% pass.” (PS Note…the HI has an architecural background)
*
I feel that at least 4-6 weeks of auditor training would be a good start and should include the formal classroom “academic” training, (BS, data collection/entry, report generation, etc), a solid week+ of supervised energy audits and 2 weeks+ of onsite work with a retrofit contractor dealing with different insulation types/systems, airsealin, IAQ, interior ventilation, moisture, etc.

As an energy auditor myself, and have been for nearly 20 years. I have been through the training and testing for the INTERnachi course. I would like to see this go forward. There are a lot of energy auditors out there that are either under qualified are over qualified. By being under qualified I mean that they want and have the desire to perform energy audits but just don’t have the background and experience to complete the audit correctly. The over qualified inspector (energy auditor) gets into the energy usage, o.k. but they take it to the next level. They want to test the home for electrical usage and then recommend LED and or CFL’s. There is a lot we can do for the consumer but there is a limit as well. Do you want an energy audit or do you want a complete building energy analysis? The inspection companies I have been with on other forums want to do the complete energy analysis. This way they can charge more and offer more. That’s o.k. But most consumers in my opinion want a simple energy audit to get the proper recommendations on how to save on energy costs. Bottom line if INTERnachi wants to get with RESNET. What’s the problem Brian? Sounds like we are trying to put you out of business. The more training we can get into the field and the more trained energy auditors we can get certified the better. With 100 million homes in need of energy auditing, there is a need for these inspectors to get certified, and get the experience that comes with it. There are pros and con’s for everything. But I think this is a move in the right direction.

I’m not in the energy audit business now. I was in on some of the first meetings with the feds on the program in 1998/9. Their representatives were young, bright eyed, degreed engineers with virtually no experience in the field. The program was not set up well… they did not want single person auditor firms…they wanted to get into the larger franchise companies and green NGO’s with an established presence. So now… I get to inspect some of the work being done and bring back the not-so-good news to those funding the program…and get paid well for that when a contract comes along.

Let’s get with RESNET on INACHI TV is definitely not where this field should be heading. I have been on these boards long enough to see that there are some very good, knowledgeable inspectors here (I am seeing some of the better HI’s leaving and/or criticizing though!) with the vast majority being newbies or others. Don’t take this field down any lower.

Brian, I agree with you for the most part but I would like to remain optimistic about the RESNET venture, not only with INACHI but they are working with ASHI and Home Depot.

My thought is that with rising oil and gas prices more homeowners will be looking for upgrades and if these organizations can get the word out about audits and options all the better.

Remember this is a Memorandum of Understanding only, it’s not a signed agreement and may never be. Time will tell.

Same applies…IMO, got to get more auditors in the field with extensive retrofit experience. As with all computerized programs…Garbage in = garbage out!

For example, I have seen auditor recommendations to rip out/rebuild the upper sloping walls (aka slopes/cathredral ceiling) of a 1+1/2 storey home so the owner can get extra space for R40 insulation + ventilation channels…all the stuff recommended in books or in the program! The ROI on that may be years and years down the road versus just filling the slopes with properly blown cellulose (R22-28) and forgoing the “required” ventilation…payback- 3-4-5 years at most!!

Remember The Law of Diminishing Returns…works in insulation levels also!

Well said Brian. Knowing textbook recommendations without the ROI and what is involved is totally useless. Usually, windows are the biggest culprit with energy loss, but as you said with the ceiling the time required for ROI is way too long. Most people move every 7 years or so and will NEVER see a return.

Windows are not the biggest culprit. Air leaks are far more detrimental in a home.