Become an Energy Efficiency Consultant

 

The above video is from the US Department of Energy. Although meant for homeowners, it shows what a qualified energy auditor can do for his/her client.

Why is the Government Promoting Energy Audits?  People are becoming more and more concerned about energy efficiency.  There are two factors behind this concern.  First, we realize that it is not possible to keep on using resources at our current rate.  We are pumping too much “bad stuff” into the atmosphere, and there are no easy answers.  Alternative energy seems like a great idea, and we all have been amazed by the windmills near Palm Springs.  But there are drawbacks.  The cost of producing power with windmills or solar panels is expensive.  Dams hurt the environment, and we have exploited almost every river we could.  And after the milt-downs in Fukushima Japan, it doesn’t seem like too many new nuclear plants will be built.  Secondly, at some point we will start running out of capacity, and the cost of power will shoot up.  So the best thing you can do for the environment and you pocket book might be to beter utilize the energy you use.  But most people are not engineers and are not sure how they can best spend their money on improvements.  For instance, you might get more for your money if you do boring stuff add attic insulation and weather striping rather than upgrade to a tankless hot water heater and add PV panels to your roof.

Most of the Southern California building stock homes built before the 1980’s when the builders thought insulation and  dual pane windows were a needless extra that homebuyers wouldn’t pay for.  So there is a big market in Southern California.

So what business are you really in?  There are three ways to look at this business.  First, you could be considered an independent advisor to building owners.  It’s easy to say you should put in solar and change out your windows, but art the cost savings worth it?  And if you have a limited budget, what’s the most cost-effective way to bring down your energy bill.  Second you will certify that buildings meet standards for mortgage programs or local governments.  Third Contractors can use this business to educate consumers on why they should spend money on upgrades–in other words SALES. 

Become a Certified Home Energy Rater/Auditor

As a Certified Home Energy Rater, you will visit people’s homes and evaluate how well these homes use energy.  The business involves:

  • Use an infer-red camera to see where hot/cool air is leaking from the house.
  • Doing a leak test by blowing air into the house and measuring how much air is leaking out.
  • Use software to analyze how energy is being used in the house.
  • Certify new buildings for Energy Star Rating, National Association of Home builder’s Certified Green Building, and LEED certification.  These certifications help with sale value, getting certain tax credits from the federal government and help with qualifying for some mortgage programs.
  • Write a report for the home owner or builder to explain what improvements would be cost effective to reduce energy usage.  Recommended improvements could include adding insulation, calking around windows door openings, upgrading windows and doors, upgrading heating and cooling equipment, upgrading water heaters, and use of solar equipment.

There are several certification programs that will educate inspectors.   There does not seem to be one standard that is endorsed by the state.

Home Energy Rating Systems (HERS)

In an effort to make energy efficient affordable, the FHA offers an Energy Efficient Mortgage Program (EMM) based on Section 513 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992.  A certified auditor evaluates the energy use of a home, and this allows the buyer to get more home than they would otherwise qualify for.  Additionally, the borrower may have energy improvements paid for out of the mortgage rather than out of pocket.  This benefits the borrower who cannot pay for energy efficient improvements out-of-pocket or would have to pay for improvements on a higher interest credit card.  Based on the recommendations of the energy auditor, the costs of energy improvements are put aside in an escrow account by the lender.  As they are completed, the contractor is paid out of this escrow account.  This also benefits the home seller whom would not have to make the improvements to sell the home.  The Energy Efficient Mortgage qualifies for the FHA’s good terms including a low 3.5% down payment.  Program link http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/sfh/eem/energy-r   From what we understand, these improvements are finance based on HUD’s 203(k) program.  According to HUD’s website:

Can an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) be allowed using the 203(k) program?

Yes. A borrower can finance into the mortgage 100 percent of the cost of eligible energy efficient improvements, subject to certain dollar limitations, without an appraisal of the energy improvements (We believe appraisal refers to the change in the home’s market value) and without further credit qualification of the borrower.  (Site)

The energy auditor must be have RESNET Accreditation to recommend improvements, and cost estimates of these improvements for these HUD/FHA programs.

 

BPI Building Analyst Professional

California Building Performance Contractors Association now called Energy First California http://thecbpca.org/ offers courses to get peoples certified.  Energy auditors/raters who go through their program have the ability to certify that a home meets Home Performance with “Energy Star” criteria.  They offer four levels of classes.  http://hpwes.cbpcatraining.org/index.php/training-2/training-2/  These numbers are based on their old webpage.  When we checked their new page hadn’t been updated.  Each class is about three days long and costs $850.00  The exam costs $450.

So to become certified as a BPI Building Analyst Professional it would cost about

$850 x 4  =  $3,400  classes

$  450  exam fee

$4,000 Specilized equipment and software

$1,500 first year’s insurance cost

= = = =

$9,350

 

Clean Edison

This company has a boot camp that combines certification and testing.  Their cost for a week long intensive course and testing fees is $2,400 The set up classes in hotel ball rooms and have field training near by.  Classes are up and down the state.  There are special discounts for vets and the long term unemployed.  Click her to see more about CleanEdison

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Residential Energy Service Network (RESNET)

Certification is offered through the Residential Energy Service Network (RESNET) http://www.resnet.us/ Pro Site http://www.resnet.us/professional

According to RESNET the costs involved with becoming a Certified Home Energy Rater are:

$1,200-$2,500 for training, equipment $3,600-$4,600, insurance $1,500/yr.  So the first year start up cost would be between $6,300 and $8,600.  You will also need to spend money on marketing.  And these numbers assume that you have the basic equipment—a pick-up truck, office space, computer.

To get started, you need to pass a test that.  It’s strongly suggested that you take a training program.  There does not appear to be any local training programs.  Here are some training programs nearby:

ACC Consulting

http://www.accconsulting.net/Training.html of Los Vegas

 

American Energy Audit

http://www.americanenergyaudit.com/

Becoming a rater/auditor http://www.resnet.us/become-an-auditor-or-rater

 

Franchise Opportunity

 

Pro Energy Consultants http://www.proenergyconsultants.com/ Using thermal imaging and a proprietary reporting system, Pro Energy Consultants provide energy assessments to consumers, businesses and builders to help them identify sources of ‘energy leak’ that result in high energy bills and poor indoor comfort.  The Initial Franchise Fee is $29,900 and includes training, an equipment package, preparation for RESNET and BPI Certification, marketing materials and launch coaching.  Training consists of 30 days home study; 3 days field and classroom in Cleveland , OH ; and 5 weeks of advanced learning modules.   This company has a great website that your customers will find easily on google/bing.   And they are focused on doing independent energy audits as opposed to some companies that do energy audits free or cheap, just to up-sell other stuff.  You don’t need to be a professional contractor or have previous experience to get involved with Pro Energy.  [This posting is not an offer to purchase a franchise; the company is currently filing to sell franchises in California .  They should be available by the end of June 2011.]



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Dr Energy Saver DEALERSHIP 

“Dr Energy Saver DEALERSHIP   Unlike some of the other opportunities, Dr. Energy Saver has been around for over 20 years.  They are currently selling exclusive dealerships in our area to licensed contractors.  Fee$995/MO.   For that, you get a week of training for five people in Seymour Connecticut, BPI (see above) certification and continuing support.  You can have your business up and running in 60-90 days.  Also, as a licensed contractor you will be able to sell other services to your customers such as insulation, caulking, furnace/water heater upgrades, window door replacement…  Their software will show your customers that improvements are cost effective.

 

One of the main advantages of this company is their marketing.  Just try searching for energy audits or something like that on the web.  You will see this company dominates in search results and advertising.  They send those leads directly to dealers.  Dr. Energy Saver is a great name and their website looks great.  They provide marketing materials for you to present to potential customers.  Marketing is the main reason you would want to pay to be part of an existing company rather than get certified and start an independent business.

 

 

If you are interested, call David Iannone, Director of Business Development, at 877-479-3637, x-7017 davei@drenergysaver.com.”

 

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