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BPI certification options

I live in Oakland, CA, and am seeking BPI Building Analyst and Envelope certifications. I have three options:

1. Self study plus paid field exams
2. online training plus field exams
3. Classroom instruction

I am already conversant with many of the principles of building science and energy efficiency,having already taken a class, read a lot, and been a contractor for a number of years. I don't want to spend many hours sitting through introductory material. What I want is to learn the specific analytical and professional practices of the energy auditor, and I want to learn how to use the various test gear. If I am going to pay 2500.00 dollars to sit through classes, I want to sit through the best I can. If I do online training, I want to pay much less. If a few hundred in books suffices or even allows me to go deeper than a class presentation would offer, I would consider a curriculum in print, and then pay for field training and tests. I live in Oakland, CA, and will travel only travel if I can get much better training elsewhere than here.

If you are a training salesperson, please don't waste your time recommending your program. I already have been given slippery sales pitches. If you are a BPI instructor or building scientist, I would love to hear from you.



Asked by Michael McVey
Posted Sat, 02/01/2014 - 17:06


1 Answer

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IMO the field test is not easy--you have to go in with a solid strategy for hitting every single point and then follow it without getting thrown off track. I would say that an experienced energy auditor with some HVAC knowledge stands a fair chance of passing, but should put in a lot of hours of prep, using books and online materials.

I don't know what you have available to you for classroom training, but for $2500 I would expect to get top-of-the-line instructors and a detailed workout in at least a couple of test-house situations.

I was able to get classroom instruction, test prep, and my first field test through Washington State University Extension's Energy program, and the instructor was an A-list guy in building science. It was not a cram course, it was valuable education, and at the time I think I paid in the $1200 range but it's been a while, and it was partly subsidized. More recently I re-certified with a one-day prep class, then took the written and field tests, total cost about $900. The field test in that case was given in a prop house set up to create the most challenging conditions possible, and I had to sweat to get it done in the two-hour time.

So, I guess the question is, what is your skill and experience level with this stuff? How quickly can you nail worst-case CAZ in a 2500-square-foot two-story house?

Answered by David Meiland
Posted Mon, 02/03/2014 - 12:12

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