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Nov 27, 2023

Building the Next Generation of Home Energy Retrofit Contractors

Calling all home energy contractors, state energy offices, and related professionals! A new training and certificate opportunity for those interested in managing whole-home retrofit projects is coming soon.

By: John Balfe

Contracters listening to a trainer

Whole-Home Programs Are Evolving

The demand for comprehensive energy retrofit projects continues to grow across the country. States in the NEEP region are setting goals, developing programs, and completing retrofit projects that lead to reduced energy consumption, reduced emissions, improved housing quality, and increased job opportunities.

It’s no surprise, though, that states are in various phases when it comes to retrofit programs. There is, however, a general trend of interest in combining multiple measures into programs to improve the housing stock. For instance, New York state has a goal of achieving two million electrified homes by 2030, pairing heat pumps with other efficiency measures. Massachusetts has been running the Decarbonization Pathways Pilot project to help homeowners create roadmaps and take action toward decarbonizing their living environments. In Vermont, the Zero Energy Now Program has combined efficiency, electrification, and onsite renewable energy generation. The program has produced impressive results, including emissions reductions of 94 percent in homes that participated. These types of programs will only be further enhanced by opportunities such as those provided through the Home Owner Managing Energy Savings (HOMES) Program – one of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) programs that provide rebates specifically for whole-home retrofit packages.

Workforces Need to Evolve Too

Meeting the demand of these existing programs – while scaling up new ones across the country – will require a huge increase in the number of workers that can deliver whole-home retrofits. States are similarly setting goals and focusing on growing the workforce. Maine, for example, has the goal of doubling its clean energy workforce to 30,000 clean energy workers by 2030. New York’s building improvement plans will require 100,000 new jobs over the next decade. Additionally, federally-funded programs, such as the State-Based Home Performance Contractor Training Grants, will continue to enhance state efforts.

The TBP Certificate – A Path Forward for the Whole Home Retrofit Workforce

Achieving these goals will require many new policies and initiatives, and one key piece of this puzzle is growing, training, and diversifying the clean energy workforce – no small task. NEEP has been working with the Building Performance Institute (BPI), Energy Futures Group (EFG), and Building Performance Association (BPA) to develop a BPI Certificate of Knowledge for whole-home retrofit contractors. The Total Building Performance (TBP) Certificate will prepare professionals for whole-building energy efficiency work. The training curriculum covers the full array of whole-building retrofit components to equip general contractors to build trust with customers, optimize procedures and sequencing, and maximize cost and energy savings. Those who attain the TBP Certificate will be able to sell larger, more comprehensive projects to clients while contributing to a future with reduced emissions from the residential sector.

Anyone can access the TBP education resources online, and qualified individuals may take the TBP Certificate exam. This includes those who are currently home performance contractors, energy auditors, energy program administrators, and others in the energy efficiency workforce—as well as those who wish to enter or re-enter the sector. The training materials are available on-demand and can be reviewed at an individual’s own pace and based on their own professional goals. Those who review all materials and pass the exam will become TBP Certificate holders: workers prepared for a general contractor role that centers collaboration and executes each discrete energy efficiency task as part of a whole-building vision.

The Call to Action

NEEP is excited to announce that the project released training materials and the exam to a pilot group in early October 2023. Pilot participants have early access to the exam training modules and can be amongst the first holders of the new TBP Certificate. If you are interested in staying up-to-date and receiving a link to the exam and training materials, please sign up here. Similarly, if you are involved in workforce development programs at a state or utility and are interested in this program, let us know how we can collaborate. We are interested in motivated partners who can benefit from this program and help spread the word.

For more information about this program, please reach out to Andy Winslow or John Balfe.

This article was originally published in the NEEP Blog and is republished with permission.

John Balfe
NEEP Senior Manager, State and Community Solutions

John Balfe helps drive energy efficiency in new and retrofitted schools and public buildings throughout the region. John works with various industry stakeholders to advance public policy with high performance building standards in the region, including facilitation of information exchange and knowledge transfer between states and programs. Prior to joining NEEP in 2015, John interned at the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission located in Manchester, NH. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2014 with a BS in Community and Environmental Planning. Eager to have a positive impact on the natural environment, John is interested in advancing NEEP’s mission to improve our built environment and ultimately all of our surroundings.

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