As many green certification programs as there are in the residential building and remodeling realm, it’s likely we’re going to see more as specialists emerge to serve various sectors of the industry.
On Tuesday, for example, the nonprofit Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) announced that Home Energy Team Institute, which trains and certifies home-energy auditors, has become the first such training group approved by RESNET to offer its “Home Energy Survey Professional” certification to trainees.
A training certifier, in other words, was certified that it meets RESNET’s training standards, which are based on its National Home Energy Audit Standard. The NHEAS provides the technical and procedural guidelines for various categories of home energy audits, including in-home comprehensive audits of the sort that would be provided by HETI-certified auditors.
An impartial approach
HETI was founded in July 2008, so it is indeed an emerging service. Its growth is pegged to what RESNET’s executive director, Steve Baden, described as homeowners’ “increasing concern” about energy efficiency in the home. “RESNET created the National Home Energy Audit Standard to provide confidence to homeowners that an inspection conducted under the standards is credible and unbiased,” Baden said in a press release.
HETI currently has affiliates in eight states, including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Maryland, Iowa, Virginia, and Alabama, and in the District of Columbia. HETI candidates who earn RESNET certification are trained to consult with homeowners on energy efficiency improvements.
RESNET, the developer of the HERS Index for measuring energy efficiency in a home, is as well positioned as any organization to accredit training programs offered by companies in the energy-audit business. But accreditations in this category do add another layer to an increasingly large assortment of certification programs focused on green residential construction.
The confusion factor
Some GBA advisors have been greeting the proliferation of certification programs with a combination of astonishment and concern. “There are dozens of building certification programs that the public is challenged to distinguish from one another,” GBA Advisor Carl Seville wrote in a blog (“Green Fatigue”) posted on July 6. “Green products and product certifications, many of which are of dubious value, are choking the market. To add to the confusion, we have green designations for individuals.”
And back on May 11 (in “Designation Exhaustion”), Seville noted that industry professionals who want the marketing advantages of certification – the term “designation” is used by some groups that confer these titles – could well spend an inordinate amount of time earning accreditations that may never really resonate with consumers or other industry professionals.
“I am very concerned that the wide range of requirements will add to marketplace confusion, not unlike what is currently happening with green-home certifications,” he wrote. “Maybe one day we will see training and designations for professionals that are both comprehensive and have a strong market presence. Right now, however, we have one or the other, but not both.”
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