The Building Performance Institute recently hosted a webinar to address updates to the BPI Healthy Home Evaluator (BPI HHE) program. The webinar panel included:
- Larry Zarker, Building Performance Institute (BPI)
- Dr. Peter Ashley, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- Wes Stewart, Green and Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI)
- Matt Anderson, Building Performance Institute (BPI)
- Jack Anderson, Healthy Housing Solutions
Dr. Peter Ashley began with reiterating the importance of healthy home issues and putting the development of the BPI HHE credential into context.
It’s clear from the numbers that we must make healthy homes a priority. This can be achieved through better building codes, better enforcement of building codes, and – such as in this case – taking advantage of a network of building professionals who can perform home energy audits and healthy home assessments.
Government agencies have been working to create healthier and safer home environments for some time now.
Now let’s take a look at the biggest industry drivers for healthy home assessments…
Top 6 Reasons to Pursue Healthy Home Assessments
#1 – Expanded Career Opportunities
As Wes Stewart noted, the BPI HHE program is a great way to expand opportunities if you are:
- a post-ARRA weatherization program
- seeing shrinking funding
- looking for more opportunities
- a private-market home performance contractor
There is a strong need in several markets for this credential, including the public health arena, housing arena, and government levels. Instead of duplicating efforts and/or flooding the industry with competing contractors, the Green & Healthy Housing Initiative partnered with HUD to create an integrative approach. Thus, the BPI HHE Certification was born.
There are very few certifications for healthy homes, and BPI Healthy Home Evaluator is a first step toward cross-trained inspectors. These certified individuals will be able to perform energy audit assessments and lead risk assessments.
#2 – Qualify for Bids & Funding (Local Government)
The market is moving toward this comprehensive assessment approach due to procurement. It is becoming more common that contractors be cross-trained in order to apply for funding and bids for city, state, and county work.
#3 – HUD Priority Points for Health & Energy Integration (Federal)
At the federal level, HUD wants to encourage the integration of health and energy into housing. HUD wants cross-trained contractors who can service weatherization needs and health needs.
#4 – Non-energy Benefits of Energy Efficiency and Weatherization
The work of BPI-certified contractors has always contributed to the health and safety of our homes. BPI HHE is merely an extension of the work already being done. Some of these non-energy benefits include:
- reducing injury risk
- reducing carbon monoxide
- improving indoor air quality
- reducing asthma triggers and lead hazards
- reducing medical triggers
- lowering costs
- increasing productivity
- encouraging greater household income
As a result of these benefits, there is a lot of interest from Medicaid to look at how to pay for asthma trigger reduction. There’s no pool of contractors out there to serve that market specifically. Medicaid may very well pay for those healthy home assessments, such as in Michigan where the state got approved for $119 million of lead hazard reduction. We expect to see more of this with asthma reduction and healthy home assessments.
Within the hospital community, too – insurers and healthcare providers – there may be a need for contractors to fill a role.
#5 – “Pay for Success”
If not Medicaid, there is a lot of interest around the country in developing private market models where funding for asthma trigger interventions and healthy home interventions will be funded by the private market. There’s a return on investment for that that helps pay for the assessment intervention. Those are multi-million dollar projects, and there needs to be a market of certified contractors to fill that demand.
#6 – Aging Populations
As our population ages, there’s going to be a greater need to reduce home institutional care (that is, folks leaving their homes to live in facilities or medical rehab centers). This opens a great opportunity for BPI Healthy Home Evaluators to look for home risks or respiratory needs. The goal will be to look for those reasons why seniors don’t stay in their homes and age in place. From there, it’s very likely that a senior’s home could need weatherization services too.
The BPI Healthy Home Evaluator program builds on the knowledge possessed by BPI Building Analyst, HEP Energy Auditor, and HEP Quality Control Inspector professionals. If you want to become part of this industry, start with a BPI training course and one of these prerequisite certifications.
Keep checking back with us to follow our coverage of the BPI HHE program, including frequently asked questions and exploration of BPI HHE knowledge areas.