Good morning How do the NEW certifications affect those of us that are certified as Building Analyst? Will we need to be re-certified? A bit of confusion in Chicago

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Hi Randy,

Great question!

The Energy Auditor certification is not replacing the Building Analyst certification. Rather, it will be the next step in the career ladder from Building Analyst. The BA certification verifies that the worker has a foundation in diagnostic and analytical building science needed for a variety of career paths in the home performance industry. The Energy Auditor certification will be specifically tailored to the job task of energy auditing.  The EA verifies the diagnostic/analytical skills needed to perform an energy audit, and then goes further. Among other things, it also verifies through prerequisites that the worker has software modeling skills, previous work history in doing energy audits, and can develop a scope of work to implement home performance measures in the home.

Thanks for your question!

 

 

I was certified in 2009 and early 2010 as a BA and then as an Envelope Professional, which permitted me to perform the whole-house energy assessments (Energy Audits) and have been doing so.  This is a little disingenuous to now creat a certification called Energy Auditor.  So, what does that say for all the audits that were done by all of the BA/EPs?  I think this is turning into a money mill.  I know a lot of people who are getting turned off to BPI because now it keeps them having to constantly spend more money even after they obtained certifications, to get more certifications to do what they have been doing, and time, when we could just upgrade or update the people who are already certified and now make the BA/EP the Energy Auditor certification for new people.

Randy...

Debra Monte is right...

If BPI wants to create an Energy Auditor certification, that's fine, but those of us who are BA/EP certified and have been doing energy audits (I have been doing them since 2007) should be grandfathered into the certification.

When a homeowner feels their energy bills are too high and wants an energy audit, are they going to call a Building Analyst and Envelope Professional, or are they going to call an Energy Auditor???

BA/EP certified people will be forced to go for the new rating to stay in business!

Has anyone looked at the criteria on BPI's website that a candidate has to meet to qualify for Energy Auditor?

It has 30 pages single spaced of requirements, including being judged on "Dedication to the cause", and "Penmanship".    How many hours will a field test for all that take?    Now we have to have software modeling skills.... Where is the software we are supposed to be using to do that?    How much will that training class cost?

You have to run faster and faster just to stay in place.   As Debra said, a lot of people will fall behind and decide it's not worth it and drop out.   Those will be the experienced people, and it will be a loss to the industry.

I have held BA, Envelope (back when it was Shell) and Heat for 10 years.  I have two guys on staff with BA and Envelope.  I figure between Accreditation Fees,  Certification Fees, staffing expences to keep track of BPI & Program recordkeeping,  lost production and direct costs of maintaining the 30 CEU requirements I am spending nearly $1000 per month to maintain BPI affiliation. 

Adding another level of Certifications and testing to my pile doesn't excite me at all.  Spending hours dealing with minutia like monthly job reporting doesn't help. 

Complicating that  is the overbearing necessity to make a profit.  When these various fees force contractors and consultants to become non competitive due to cost structure everyone loses.  I think we are already there when the limit is 10 year payback to qualify for the funding programs. 

How much does BPI pay its inspectors and administrators?  If that paycheck is better than the pay available after payback to the workforce,  then why work? 

Exactly when does an employee with multiple certifications realize (s)he doesn't want to be in the attic any more and by the way I am worth another 10K per year?   Without thinking of how they got the certifications in the first place? 

There is nothing wrong with profit, but everyone has to have some. 

Have a look at the RESNET Accredited Contractor stuff, and the ACCA weatherization standard.  There is competition, and I am glad for it. 

All of this may be mute if the Federal Government finds out they actually are broke or simply decides it isn't worth funding.  That will be decided in about 8 months. 

Question? I am about to be re-certified, should I forget about having a BA,EP certifacation and just go for the new types of certifacations. What is the advantage of maintaining your other certifactions and what will they mean in the future? Tests do cost a bit of money, would it be better spent on the new certs.

Very interesting question.... If the Energy Auditor and other new certifications are at a higher level, then what do you need the BA/EP for.  You already have the benefit of the training....  

I encourage all of us auditors to weigh in on this forum and send your thoughts to BPI.  I for one am going to rewrite this post in a letter to CEO Larry Zarker and to each member the BPI Board of Directors.     Leslie, I am sorry you are going to be the target on this but you need to carry this message back to BPI.  Debra, Ira, and Pat are absolutely right, BPI feels like a money mill.  Do you have any idea how much each of these certifications cost through the training agencies that BPI has accredited?  Some of those training agencies aren't even that good. As an auditor instructor myself, they appear to be here just for the money grab.  Not to mention recertifying every 3 years in multiple certifications, the field test proctor fees are staggering and going up because of the new video recording requirements.     

I have been auditing for over 9 years and I got the building analyst (BA) certification 3 years ago because I could see the writing on the wall. BPI has enough name recognition that if I don't have it by my name people will doubt my ability to do an audit.  But the actual content of the class, other than the health and safety protocols, was weak and I had enough experience to know it was weak.  Cursory mention of lighting and a little on refrigerators and washing machines and that was it for the electrical side of building analyst.  The message from BPI for a long time has been: “Get BA to get the basics of energy auditing, specifically the health and safety protocols, then get envelope and heating professional to get serious about auditing.”  Now this, a belated recognition that BA, envelope, and heating professional certification isn’t truly enough to provide comprehensive audits so we’ll just tack on another certification to make up the difference.  Fess up to lack of foresight BPI, you had no idea you were going to get this big or popular when you started.  That’s forgivable.  Just piling on more complexity and regulation without rethinking the whole program when you have the means to do so, that is typical bureaucracy. Americans no longer have the stomach for it.  Our tax code is a classic example of complexity on complexity and no ability to turn back. BPI, rethink your strategic plan while you can and build something that really works rather than just another bureaucracy.     

I recently got certified in envelope because, again, I could see the writing on the wall.  I had a terrible experience with the accredited training company. I wasted a week with them and gave up.   I ended up passing both tests based on my own experience.  Yet, the envelope content isn’t really top notch, it’s OK, but not top notch.  Much of the envelope technical standards are a repeat of the BA standards.  The zone pressure diagnostics and the leakage area matching protocols are not fully explained including the limitations of these tools.  And for all their importance, why is there no mention of them in the envelope standards?  Out of fairness to BPI, some of these accusations are the fault of the training organization for putting together a bad training manual and program. Still, the disconnect between what is taught (i.e. duct blaster testing, air leakage matching, advanced understanding of the blower door, and zone pressure diagnostics) and what the technical standards emphasize is puzzling. 

I know regulation and certification is the wave of the future for the energy auditing and energy management profession.  It happens in every profession that gains status and acceptance, it’s a way of vetting the practitioners out there. Lawyers have the bar and doctors and nurses have the boards, I get that, but I don’t like the way BPI is leading this process to an ever complex system of multiple certifications, some of which are redundant with other certifications.  My fear is that BPI, who has the state and federal government’s ear, is going to push for requiring multiple and redundant certifications for auditors to practice their trade rather than one well designed general certification with clear specialty certifications.   

Finally, I keep getting emails (as I am sure everyone does) from BPI inviting me to apply to be on some technical committee or to be a subject matter expert to help write or revise standards or write new test questions for BPI.  These opportunities demand my time and travel and the most I have ever seen offered for them is up to 5 continuing education credits.  This is insulting considering that, from my perception, BPI is enjoying national name recognition, government approval, and a huge influx of cash.  Using volunteer subject matter experts and “crowd sourcing” to generate patented programs and standards may be part of the problem.  It is hard to make definitive and clear protocols and standards when you have so many experts involved.  Effort in coordinating all the volunteers saps energy from the process and using a different round of experts on each project stymies efficiency. Maybe it’s time to hire that board of directors and some additional powerhouse talent (Building Science Corp for example) to review your standards and programs. 

And I have to agree with Jon on these points.  The fact that there are these certifications with all the testing standards to be met and no one standardized training and course materials is a bit ridiculous.  I could see why Jon and many others don't always have a good experience with the training aspect.  There should be one set of standard curriculums and training materials, not just for the practucum exams but for all of the training.  Leaving it up to the various training institutes and/or trainers leaves too much room for errors, omissions and misinformation and perhaps makes it more difficult or problematic for students to pass the exams.

I have been a Paramedic for 30 years as well and the NYS Dept of Health EMS programs is the certifying body.  They set the standard, criteria for training and testing.  This way everyone is learning and testing on the same material.  

It's all nice to have these standards and testing scheme handbooks, etc.  but it doesn't do anything for the training aspect.  Training needs to be standardized.  Why should curriculums be written over and over again. What is the real purpose to all of this, let's not lose site of why we do what we do.

There is a disturbing line from Leslie in the answer to my question "It will be the next step in the career ladder from building analyst" How tall is the ladder?  to be determined at a later date?

I have to agree with you.  Perhaps for the younger folks entering the Green Industry it should be a career ladder, but I kind of resent that at 52 years old and established in what I believed was a career. I agree there are many ways to grow and change and improve, but I am not looking toward climbing an ladder with infinite rungs either.

Jon, great post and I fully agree.

I am unlikely to renew my BA when it expires next year. I do a small amount of work in one program that requires the cert, but I am going to lobby them to either drop the requirement or reimburse me the cost of maintaining it. BPI seems to have very little consumer recognition and I have yet to work for anyone who actually knew what it was. For that matter, no one has ever asked me if I was a licensed contractor either.

New certifications, higher fees, endless emails from BPI... I'm underwhelmed.

Your comment "Lawyers have the bar and doctors and nurses have the boards..." reminds me of an old joke. Know what they call the guy who is last in his class at medical school?  They call him Doctor. Same thing applies to the guys and gals BPI is churning out as certified whatever. I had a newly minted professional help me on an audit the other day who, after 30 minutes or so of painstakingly setting up the blower door according to his cheat sheet, came up with a number that I knew intuitively was wrong. I discovered he didn't understand how to set the manometer to correspond to his ring selection.

I got certified a few years back as a BA / EP because of BPI's emphasis on combustion safety, hoping it would set me apart from the riffraff. So far, no one's impressed, especially other whole house professionals. 

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