Several accreditation and certification programs exist in California that evaluate the function of installed systems for energy efficiency, air quality, health and safety, water conservation and renewable energy. The following list describes certifications currently being used in the California retrofit industry.
Home Energy Rating System ( HERS)
The Home Energy Rating Service provides administration and oversight of field verifications and diagnostic testing services by the California Energy Commission ( CEC) and approved Training Providers. Field Verification and Diagnostic Testing Raters, also known as HERS I raters, perform third-party inspections to verify efficiency of installed duct sealing, thermostatic expansion valves (TXVs), refrigerant charge, airflow measurement and building envelope sealing measures in compliance with Title 24, Part 6 of the California Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential Buildings. When the HERS II approach is adopted by the California Energy Commission in mid-2011, Whole House Home Energy Raters, also known as HERS II raters, will have to opportunity to be certified to provide whole home energy efficiency ratings for existing and newly constructed residential buildings, including single-family homes and multifamily buildings of three stories or less.
Training Requirements: Approximately five days of training and exam
Cost for Training: $1,000-$1,500
Training Providers: CalCERTS, California Building Performance Contractors Association (CBPCA)
Prerequisites: None. However courses are best suited for people with a background in residential construction, contracting or inspection industries
Building Performance Institute ( BPI)
The Building Performance Institute provides building performance industry credentialing quality assurance training programs. BPI provides certification of individuals in building analyst, mechanical, envelope and multifamily designations. BPI has a strong emphasis on safety, especially in the area of combustion safety. BPI-certified contractors can perform energy audits and install or oversee the installation of energy efficiency improvements for the same project.
Training Requirements: Approximately six days of training depending on certification, mentorship and exam
Cost for Training: $1,500 to $2,500
Training Providers: CCSE, Clean Edison, CBPCA, Energy Conservation Institute, JTRL, Everblue, Greener Dawn
Prerequisites: None. However courses are best suited for people with a background in residential construction, contracting or inspection industries.
Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (HPwES)
Home Performance with ENERGY STAR is a national program from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy ( DOE) that offers a whole-house approach to improving energy efficiency, comfort and the environment. The local sponsor/administrator for California’s HPwES is CBPCA. HPwES starts with a whole-house energy assessment that includes heating and cooling systems, windows, insulation and flow of air into and out of the house. HPwES-certified contractors can perform energy audits and install or oversee the installation of energy efficiency improvements for the same project.
Training Requirements: Nine days of training (Level 1, 2, 3), BPI mentorship and BPI exam
Cost for Training: Approximately $2,025
Training Provider: CBPCA
Prerequisites: None, however, training series is designed for remodelers, HVAC contractors, solar contractors and insulation contractors.
Build It Green created the Green Point Rated system. Using a Green Point Rated Checklist, raters provide independent assessments of a home across five categories: community design, energy efficiency, indoor air quality/ health, resource conservation and water conservation. It offers a consumer label that verifies the green features in a home. GreenPoint Rated certification is available for both new and existing homes.
Training Requirements: Three and a half days training and exam
Cost for Training: $500
Training Provider: Build It Green
Prerequisites: Must have one of the following credentials: licensed general contractor, architect or engineer, International Code Council (ICC) building inspector certification, California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) certification or American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) certification or four years of master-level experience in residential construction (letter of verification). Participants must hold one of the following certifications in good standing and show experience in performing testing procedures: HERS ratings or CBPCA training certificate.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Homes Green Rater Program
( LEED for Homes)
The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) created Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED. LEED for Homes is a rating system that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes. LEED for Homes raters oversee all verification services on a project and work directly for a LEED for Homes provider. Providers are responsible for working with eligible LEED for Homes projects and administering a team of raters who, together with the provider organizations, verify that homes are built to meet the LEED requirements. LEED for Homes requires that a home meet the performance requirements of ENERGY STAR homes for optimizing energy performance.
Training Requirements: Two and a half days of training, exam and mentorship
Cost for Training: $825
Training Provider: (USGBC)
Prerequisites: GED or high school diploma, three years minimum experience in the field of residential construction (e.g. HERS rater, general contractor, building inspector, etc.), eight hours of education covering residential green building strategies and four hours building science basic education.