There are three main energy auditor certification programs for home performance contractors:
- BPI Certification
- RESNET HERS Rater Certification
- HEP Energy Auditor Certification
In this article, we’ll explain what each is and why you might choose one over another.
Since August 2022, when the Inflation Reduction Act became law, we’ve heard from many people looking for information on Energy Auditor Training and Energy Auditor Certification. As an IREC Accredited green jobs training provider and BPI Test Center, Everblue is the right place to get your Energy Auditor Training and Certification, but if you’re wanting to take advantage of the federal grant funding right now, there are some things you need to know…
Jump to a section:
- Which Energy Auditor Training Should You Pursue?
- Energy Auditor Certification Qualifications
- Available Grant Funding & Rebate Programs
- Timeline for Grant Funding
Which Energy Auditor Training Should You Pursue?
In the home performance industry, there are multiple training programs available that will certify you to become a home energy auditor. The most popular programs are BPI Certification, RESNET HERS Rater Certification, and HEP Energy Auditor Certification.
BPI = Building Performance Institute
Those who are new to the industry will likely start with BPI Certification. This is where you’ll gain the basic building science principles knowledge and learn the “house-as-a-system” approach to home energy auditing. Earning BPI Certification is the fastest way to become a home energy auditor, as you simply pass a written and/or field exam (depending on which and how many BPI certifications you pursue).
There are several certifications in the BPI family, but the most popular ones are:
- BPI Infiltration & Duct Leakage – blower door and duct leakage testing
- BPI Building Analyst – whole-house energy analysis, including blower door testing and combustion safety testing
RESNET = Residential Energy Services Network
RESNET is a competing organization that also offers home energy auditor certification. Instead of splitting knowledge among multiple certifications, RESNET leads with the HERS Rater Certification. This all-encompassing certification covers blower door and duct leakage testing, whole-house energy analysis, combustion safety testing, and energy modeling. Because of the wide range of knowledge and expertise of the RESNET HERS Rater, this certification process is much lengthier than its BPI rival.
To become an energy auditor under the RESNET program, you must:
- Complete RESNET HERS Rater training with an approved provider (which Everblue is)
- Pass 3 exams
- Sign up with a Quality Assurance Provider
- Complete 5 energy models
HEP = Home Energy Professionals
The Home Energy Professionals program was created by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to set a standardized certification for home energy auditors. (To be clear, the BPI certifications and RESNET HERS Rater are nationally recognized so the introduction of the HEP certifications creates an interesting niche in the marketplace). Specifically, the HEP certifications are designed for home performance professionals participating in the federal government’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). Any state that uses federal money to fund its WAP program must have an HEP-certified contractor on staff.
The most popular HEP certifications are:
So Which Energy Auditor Certification is Required by the Inflation Reduction Act?
The Energy Auditor Training Grant Program does not explicitly state BPI, RESNET, or HEP. However, the strong implication is that the Department of Energy will require HEP Energy Auditor (its creation), particularly because the grant program is a federally sponsored program.
During a webinar with the Building Performance Institute in early Feb. 2023, their CEO indicated that they petitioned DOE (more than once) to explicitly specify BPI Building Analyst Certification for the Energy Auditor Training Grant Program and/or the other contractor training programs listed in the federal legislation. BPI did not hear back from DOE about these requests.
This is important because HEP Energy Auditor Certification is not an entry-level designation. There are a variety of prerequisites that must be met (BPI Building Analyst being one of the ways to qualify!).
Energy Auditor Certification Qualifications
The HEP Energy Auditor Certification (created by the Department of Energy and assumed to be “the one” that people will need to use the Inflation Reduction Act grant money) has a slew of prerequisites that someone has to meet to qualify for that exam.
The HEP Energy Auditor Certifications prerequisites are as follows:
- Minimum 1000 hours of related trade experience in the last 5 years
- Energy modeling experience within the last 5 years
- A combination of building trades experience, training from an industry-specific training center like Everblue, and/or related industry certifications (BPI, RESNET, NATE, EPA, etc.)
For many wanting to take advantage of the Energy Auditor Training Grant, in particular, it may be overwhelming at first glance to see these prerequisites. But don’t worry, we can help you qualify!
Not only can you get credit simply for taking an Everblue course, but you can also get credit for earning the following entry- and mid-level energy auditor certifications:
- BPI Infiltration & Duct Leakage
- BPI Building Analyst
- RESNET HERS Rater Certification
You don’t necessarily have to earn all three certifications, but each training course and each certification you earn quite literally gives you more points toward qualifying for the HEP Energy Auditor Certification. So if you want to earn the HEP Energy Auditor Certification as quickly as possible, you might consider pursuing multiple certifications.
In short, if your goal is to become a certified energy auditor using Inflation Reduction Act funds, consider first pursuing these entry- and mid-level energy auditor certifications before attempting the HEP Energy Auditor Certification.
Available Grant Funding & Rebate Programs
We’ve already written specifically about the various rebate programs and grants that are expected to launch from the Inflation Reduction Act and IIJA bills.
Here are some quick takeaways from each article, and if you’re interested in learning more, please continue on to the respective article for more details.
- Career Skills Training – no specific certification or training is listed, so for any contractor interested in upskilling or becoming more knowledgeable/marketable, you’ll be able to use this funding to reduce the cost of training. It should be noted that Non-Profit Organizations, Labor Groups, Employers, Educational Institutions, and Workforce Development Boards will be the “prime recipients” of this funding, so individuals will want to contact the appropriate organizations to get access to this funding. As of the publication date of this article, DOE and the prime recipients have not finalized how they will release the grant funding for use.
- Contractor Training Program – no specific certification or training is listed, so for any contractor interested in upskilling or becoming more knowledgeable/marketable, you’ll be able to use this funding to reduce the cost of training. It should be noted that State Energy Offices will be the “prime recipient” of this funding, so individuals will want to contact the appropriate organizations to get access to this funding. As of the publication date of this article, DOE and the State Energy Offices have not finalized how they will release the grant funding to companies, organizations, and individuals.
- Energy Auditor Training Grant – as highlighted above in the current article, we anticipate that DOE will require HEP Energy Auditor Certification, but since that is an advanced certification with prerequisites, we are encouraging people to pursue BPI Building Analyst and RESNET HERS Rater right now to start gaining eligibility for HEP Energy Auditor. It should be noted that State Energy Offices will be the “prime recipient” of this funding, so individuals will want to contact the appropriate organizations to get access to this funding. As of the publication date of this article, DOE and the State Energy Offices have not finalized how they will release the grant funding to companies, organizations, and individuals.
- HOMES Rebate Program – reimburses homeowners for making energy-efficient upgrades to their homes. Why this matters for contractors? There will be a surge in demand from homeowners seeking energy audits and home energy retrofits. They will be looking to hire certified home energy auditors. So although this bucket of money is meant for homeowners, there will inevitably be money going into the pockets of contractors who establish themselves as credible home energy auditing professionals. The best way to establish credibility is with a nationally recognized, industry-respected energy auditor certification.
- Energy Efficiency Tax Credits – the Inflation Reduction Act will modify and extend the 45L tax credit for builders and the 25C tax credit for homeowners. In both cases, there will be a surge in demand for certified home energy auditors to help the builders and homeowners qualify for the respective tax credits. For 45L, contractors should probably pursue RESNET HERS Rater, and for 25C, contractors should probably pursue BPI Certification.
Timeline for Grant Funding
When we first published information about the Inflation Reduction Act, all signs were pointing to the first quarter of 2023 as being when we’d have guidance on the grant funding.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the Department of Energy and the State Energy Offices are taking their time with thinking through how the massive buckets of money will be distributed. Of course everyone is excited to use the federal grant money; but thankfully, the powers that be at the top are wanting to make sure that they make the best use of the money and not just waste it. We can appreciate and respect that.
What can be shared now, however, is that DOE plans to offer three waves of funding for states, based on their readiness to deploy their rebate programs. This news came out of the NASEO Energy Policy Outlook that took place in early February 2022. For more details about the timeline for grant funding, check out that NASEO article.
The first wave of funding is anticipated to come out in November 2023. More than likely, this funding will be for the home energy rebate programs, as opposed to the energy auditor training and contractor training grants. But even so, those home energy rebates will undoubtedly jumpstart the demand for certified home energy auditors, so now is a great time to get trained and certified.
Everbue can help you become a certified home energy auditor in no time! Visit our course catalog and choose from the BPI Certification category or RESNET HERS Rater to get started. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 800-460-2575.