Should I Become an Energy Auditor?
Energy auditors inspect homes to determine ways in which energy could be used more efficiently and encourage homeowners to make changes to that end. These auditors primarily work for energy companies. The position tends to involve a lot of field work, since auditors visit homes and businesses, and some travel may be needed. Energy auditors will need tact and people skills when dealing with consumers who might be discouraged about high energy bills.
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|Degree Level||High school diploma or some training, associate's or bachelor's degree for some jobs|
|Field of Study||Construction or building science|
|Certification||BPI certification is usually required|
|Experience||1-7 years of experience in estimating, site auditing, construction, energy conservation, building diagnostics or engineering|
|Key Skills||Knowledge of lighting and control systems, applicable codes, rules and standards, building performance, HVAC, residential electrical systems, construction methods, materials practices and site surveying techniques, familiarity with software programs in auditing, residential construction and building energy modeling, ability to conduct Energy Star tests using duct blasters, familiarity with infrared cameras and blower door equipment, using basic power and hand tools, trained in handling lead-based paint|
|Salary (2015)||$45,742 yearly (median for energy auditors)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale.com
Step 1: Complete a Training Program
Employers usually seek energy auditors who have a high school diploma or some training in the field and who are certified. Although BPI does not have specific training or education eligibility requirements for its certification exams, it encourages interested individuals to obtain some sort of training prior to sitting for an exam.
Energy auditor or BPI auditor training programs are usually offered by schools that operate departments focusing on work training programs or have in-house workforce development centers. These programs include lectures and hands-on training on how to conduct home energy audits and use computerized energy audit software programs. Other topics covered in these programs can include building science, energy conservation strategies, building assessments, diagnosing air leaks, water heating, thermal imaging, blower door testing and calculating heat loss.
- Consider attending a program that performs BPI certification testing. Some schools authorized by BPI offer energy audit training programs that are geared to prepare students to take certification exams after graduation. Graduation from one of these programs may give aspiring energy auditors an advantage when it comes to taking the certification exam.
Step Two: Take the BPI Building Analyst Certification Exam
BPI's building analyst certification is the basic level of certification for energy auditors. Passing this exam identifies an individual as being able to perform comprehensive home energy audits and identify solutions to energy problems based on building science. The exam includes 100 questions and a field test. This certification must be renewed every three years; BPI encourages certified individuals seeking renewal to complete 30 continuing education credits prior to renewal.
- Seek more than one certification. BPI offers several certifications, some of which are specifically sought by employers. For example, BPI's Envelope certification identifies an individual as being capable of identifying ways to control air leaks. Each certification requires passing a 50-question exam; some certification exams may only be offered to individuals who already possess another type of certification.
Step Three: Consider Earning a Degree
Although the majority of employers seek candidates with training and experience in the field, some seek candidates who possess an associate's or bachelor's degree in building science, building construction technology or a related field. Associate's degree programs in building science typically require two years of study. These programs include classes in topics like construction materials, CAD documentation and construction math. Bachelor's degree programs in these fields, which normally require four years to complete, include classes in commercial construction technology, building law and building equipment.