Building Performance Contracting Raises the Bar

January 01, 2006
January/February 2006
A version of this article appears in the January/February 2006 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
Click here to read more articles about Training and Certification

        The Building Performance Institute, Incorporated (BPI), is providing its accredited contractors and certified professionals with new opportunities to distinguish themselves from their competition in the building performance marketplace. BPI now has 2,500 professionals who have been certified in at least 26 different states; 150 organizations have achieved BPI accreditation. We expect these numbers to increase in response to the new services that BPI is in the midst of launching nationally (see “Double the Services”).
        BPI now offers three professional certification tracks: Evaluation, Mechanical, and Envelope. Each of these tracks requires a core understanding of building science; to earn a credential, the professional must pass both a written and practical examination in his or her specialty area.
        Anyone involved in upgrading the performance of a home can achieve professional certification from BPI. A remodeler, for example,may choose to become a BPI Certified Evaluation professional. The skills provided by this certification will enable remodelers to expand their business models to include whole building performance assessment and upgrades. Some certified contractors are taking this expansion one step further, moving out of their existing trades and concentrating their business strictly on home performance upgrades.
        An HVAC professional with a BPI Certified Mechanical designation will have the skills to help customers understand the interaction between mechanical system performance and other factors—insulation levels, window quality, and air infiltration, for example—that affect the comfort and energy performance of the home. This certification also enables HVAC professionals to identify safety issues that need to be corrected. Certified individuals may still perform only their specialty services, but they can help their customers understand what other work needs to be done to improve the comfort, safety, and performance of a home. Other industry professionals such as weatherization staff, HERS raters, and home inspectors can also benefit from obtaining a BPI certification and being able to expand the range of services they can offer.
        Expanding services often means a contractor is taking on bigger jobs with bigger budgets, and BPI stands ready to make financing these bigger jobs a whole lot easier. BPI can now offer accredited contractors financing at attractive rates so that customers can complete comprehensive packages of home performance work.
        BPI is also eager to help accredited contractors and organizations get their messages out to consumers. BPI has been developing new marketing and promotional materials that will assist BPI Certified professionals and BPI Accredited organizations in their outreach and education efforts. If you are seeking to enhance your building performance credentials, you should investigate becoming certified. Similarly, businesses looking to truly distinguish themselves from their competition in the home performance marketplace should earn BPI accreditation and participate in the BPI Quality Assurance System.
        We at BPI are always interested in refining and improving the services we offer.To that end, we have an ongoing BPI Technical Committee that is open to industry participation. The committee meets twice each year for three days to discuss the development of BPI Technical Standards, professional certification, accreditation of organizations, and the BPI Quality Assurance System. In addition, this group develops and reviews the examination statistics and test items. Subject matter experts from all aspects of building performance are encouraged to take an active role in the BPI Technical Committee.

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