The inefficiencies in homes and residential structures are resulting in an increased demand for home energy audits which require professional and qualified home energy auditors. If you Google on how to become a certified home energy auditor you quickly realize that there are only two legitimate certifications that are recognized nationally and the rest are just scams. So in this article, we are going to focus on these two certifications by RESNET and BPI which are what you should aim for if you want to become a certified home energy auditor.
Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET)
RESNET offers the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Certification. It regulates energy efficiency in a building or residential structure. A rating of 100 on the HERS Index constitutes the use of energy of a standard building whereas a 0 rating represents a new building which does not make any use of net purchased energy. In order to become a certified HERS rater, you need to undergo a written exam of two hours that has 50 questions and pass with 80% or more. In addition to the written exam, you also need to finish five provisional ratings within one year of passing your written exam. Of these five provisional ratings, two are to be supervised by a RESNET training provider while the last three are probationary. All these ratings are then to be submitted to a RESNET affiliate for approval and quality control.
Training is not mandatory to become a HERS rater, but it is highly recommended. There are a lot of training providers that you can find from the directory of RESNET that can help you in preparation for your test and probationary ratings. A HERS certification provides you with knowledge and capabilities to perform a home energy audit, conduct an energy analysis by using an energy efficiency software program and find out energy efficiency improvements that are needed in the case of a home audit to meet the ENERGY STAR guidelines.
Building Performance Institute (BPI)
Unlike RESNET, for a certification from BPI, you need to clear a written as well as a field exam. In order to become a BPI Building Analyst you need to undergo a written exam of two hours just like RESNET but BPI has 100 questions and requires a passing score of 70% or more as opposed to 80% by RESNET. The field exam is also for two hours and it requires you to show how competent you are with the energy audit process and the equipment to be used for carrying out various efficiency processes. Every country or city may have different rules regarding the energy audits and in case there are additional qualifications over and above these certifications, then you need to clear those too.
A BPI certification program certifies you to perform blower-door tests, duct testing, airflow testing, energy modeling, heat pump, building envelope, heating, and other such procedures that are critical in the performance of an effective home energy audit. Additionally, a BPI Building Analyst also needs to re-certify in every three years.
Difference between RESNET and BPI
While both these certifications aim at diagnosing the problem with the energy efficiency of a home and recommending solutions to the problems faced there are also differences between them. While RESNET puts too much emphasis on energy modeling, BPI focuses on combustion safety testing. You also often hear that while RESNET is more apt for new homes, BPI takes care of existing homes. Some part of this may hold true as the HERS index used by RESNET qualifies for ENERGY Star new homes whereas the BPI protocol forms part of weatherization programs that take care of low-income families by providing energy audits to their existing homes.
Another difference in the approaches is that while BPI focuses on helping homeowners reduce their energy bills by diagnosing energy-related issues, RESNET ensures an environment for the homeowners where they can pay a comfortable energy bill, given that energy efficiency measures were implemented at the time of the building process of their residential structure. The goals of BPI are a little more straight-forward in this case.
Get Started and Build Experience
Whatever certification you may choose to become a certified home energy auditor, your journey does not end there. Your passing grades on the BPI Building Analyst or the RESNET HERS program are the basic indications that you are ready to begin your practical work in the industry. You have to continue to develop your skills as a certified professional in order to become an expert in your field. If you are thinking of making a career as a home energy auditor then it may take additional credentials based on where you are located. We wish you good luck on your journey to becoming a certified energy auditor.