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Mar 24, 2023

Installer Badges Toolkit and Visualization Resources

Imagine entering the retrofit industry and trying to navigate the range of certifications, prerequisites, and continuing education credits for the first time. Where would you start?

By: Cory Chovanec and Jal Desai

Person blowing insulation into an attic

Historic funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is poised to accelerate the clean energy transition and amplify the need for a credentialed workforce that is already in high demand. The broader home performance industry will need innovative ways to train and build the skills of retrofit installers joining the energy efficiency industry as many weatherization, utility, and industry programs ramp up.

To address this challenge, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance program (WAP), offers a variety of resources to support high-quality home performance energy upgrades.

Imagine entering the retrofit industry and trying to navigate the range of certifications, prerequisites, and continuing education credits for the first time. Where would you start? You are in luck; welcome to the Installer Badges Toolkit. This skills recognition option consists of 25 Badges, each representing different energy efficiency tasks that an installer could perform on a home. Each Badge defines the desired outcome, criteria to verify the work, material requirements, and references to DOE’s Standard Work Specifications (SWS) or other relevant standards. Workers earn Badges by completing each task and receiving approval from a qualified supervisor. The Badges provide a consistent approach to on-the-job training by ensuring that installers are learning the same skills nationwide. Organizations can also customize the Toolkit by choosing only those Badges that are relevant to their work.

To further support workforce development, DOE and NREL developed a series of weatherization job aids and an interactive Single-Family 3D House to provide step-by-step visual guides to assist home energy professionals with effective, durable, and safe energy efficiency upgrades. Each guide includes an easy-to-use checklist that can be used to verify installation quality or support skill development of new staff. The interactive 3D house links the job aids to various locations in a simulated home. Energy professionals can explore the attic, main level, and subspace within the home to locate job aids where common energy efficiency upgrades are performed. The 3D house can be used as a self-guided learning tool by anyone interested in learning more about retrofit strategies for common weatherization measures.

Join NREL on Thursday, April 20, 2023, from 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. PST, at the National Home Performance Conference & Trade Show in Seattle to hear more about these exciting resources to support high-quality measure installations. This session, “Installer Badges and Visualization Resources,” will engage participants in sharing their experiences in worker training and approaches to bringing employees up to speed in building envelope-related programs.

Cory Chovanec and Jal Desai

Cory Chovanec is an Energy Market and Policy Analyst with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) providing technical assistance and support to the Department of Energy. Prior to joining NREL, Cory worked at a weatherization training center where his primary responsibilities were developing, maintaining, and delivering building science training as well as conducting quality control inspections of retrofit upgrades. Jal Desai is a researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). He provides technical assistance to local communities and federal clients through renewable energy feasibility studies. He has been at NREL for over four years and has been providing assistance to the U.S. DOE WAP for more than three years through the Guidelines for Home Energy Professionals (GHEP) project.

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