Proposal for a new RESNET® Accreditation – Residential Energy Modeling Professional

Attached as a PDF as well…  REMP Proposal

Proposal to RESNET

Creation of new RESNET Acceditation:

Residential Energy Modeling Professional (REMP)

Purpose:

To provide a RESNET accreditation designed to meet the needs of the design community.

 

Rationale:

Over the past several years, we’ve trained a large number of design professionals as HERS Raters in lieu of an accreditation that would more adequately meet their needs.  We estimate that approximately 20 to 30% of our students fall into this category.  These individuals are seeking access to the knowledge base of a HERS Rater (i.e. building science, understanding diagnostic testing, etc.) and/or access to the HERS energy modeling tools.

Who

These individuals are broadly covered by the following groups, though there are often unusual avenues that aren’t described here:

  1. Architects
  2. Engineers
  3. Builders
  4. Trade Sub-contractors
  5. Estimators
  6. Code officials
  7. Consultancy
  8. Advocacy groups

Why

By and large, these individuals have no desire or need to become HERS Raters.  Yet they are compelled to take HERS Rater training in order to access the knowledge base and/or the software.  It is an exercise in frustration for these individuals as they know they are taking training that isn’t going to meet their ultimate objective.  We find that the training itself is appreciated and is largely relevant to the needs of students that are approaching the industry from a design perspective.  However, subsequent requirements of the HERS Rater path are inappropriate for these groups.

How

We propose that a new accreditation be created, the Residential Energy Modeling Professional. The objective is to create a pathway for design professionals to participate with RESNET, HERS Providers and HERS Raters without following the Rater pathway, but their own pathway.  This pathway can be easily adapted from the Rater pathway from both an educational and a Provider/Quality Assurance perspective.  In the short term, we believe that the same training and same test can be used.  However, the subsequent accreditation requirements would be different.  For example, probationary ratings would all be Projected Ratings.  The HERS Providers could provide software access as they currently do without providing Print permissions.  This would allow the design professionals to “design to the index”.  Quality assurance could be just as it is for HERS Raters, but without the requirement for on-site verification.

Benefits

There are manifold benefits for the industry as a whole.

  1. Greater adoption and exposure of the HERS Index.  The ability for design professionals to “design to” the HERS Index should drive even greater exposure to and consequent adoption of the use of the index.  The more parties that use and consider the HERS index as part of their design process the more widespread will be acceptance and understanding of the index.
  2. Greater understanding of building science and related issues.  The ability to train design professionals to an accreditation that is appropriate for them will drive greater penetration of basic building science training across a wide-range of our industry stakeholders.
  3. Additional training opportunities for HERS Training Providers.  This designation will give training organizations an appropriate tool to market to new and formerly reluctant audiences.
  4. Better design processes for parties involved in designing homes.  Currently, design professionals can’t access the HERS index and thus have to engage in a costly and time-consuming iterative process with HERS Raters.  This proposal would demonstrate RESNET’s commitment to stakeholder needs and sensitivity to the cost of conducting energy ratings.  Most design professionals are highly trained and with proper training are more than qualified to perform modeling on their own projects.
  5. An additional revenue stream would be opened for RESNET.  Design professionals and others who currently are not involved or engaged with RESNET would be provided with a path for involvement that makes sense for their industry.

-The EnergyLogic Team

What do you think?  Interested?  Suggestions?  Let us know.  Here or on our LinkedIn group – Residential Energy Professional Training.

Don’t Look to the Feds – A Lesson in Terms You Should Know

If you are looking to the Federal government to provide leadership, funding, guidance, standards – really, anything that you might think is necessary to drive energy efficiency forward – stop kidding yourself. To be blunt, the Federal government is broke. Many downstream governments are broke as well.

This could lead to another conversation about the term broke, obviously related to broken. Bankrupt is a term that may refer to more than just money and that term probably applies equally well. Apologies in advance to those few who aren’t – but morally bankrupt would be equally appropriate. The system is broken; gridlock and petty partisan politics have completely circumvented leadership.

If you are building a business, a program, a utility DSM plan, etc. on the promise of legislation that has a financial mechanism to drive adoption, you are on a fool’s errand.  Not only is this legislation highly unlikely to happen, but even if it does, it is a crap shoot as to whether it works or not.

Here is the harsh truth. The one proven thing that moves consumers to change their behaviors is higher energy prices. California is the obvious example. Other factors may move the needle on energy efficiency and conservation, but they pale in comparison. As Winston Churchill said, and sadly, it’s true, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” I’m not the first to point this out or even to use this quote to describe our response to energy efficiency. But again, if you are building a business model on hoped-for legislation or mandates, you are misguided. The political climate for mandates is almost non-existent.

This isn’t the worst thing that could happen. At the end of the day, what is most sustainable is a stable market for our industries services. Show me a company that has built itself on the back of subsidies, tax credits and rebates and other give-aways and I’ll show you a company that is extremely vulnerable.  Markets are distorted by policy every day. Some distortions are less egregious than other, but all distortions confuse the value of services.

What is the solution? Set standards, demand quality and minimize market distortions. This industry is mature enough to succeed without government largesse. We should promote policy and programs that are designed to support long-term success and avoid short-term fixes that are simply window dressing and solve few problems, if any.

I’d love to engage in a dialogue on this issue, so let’s start here. What are your thoughts, solutions, or challenges? I am anxious to hear about them.

 

 

Faster, Less $, Easier vs Longer, More $, Tougher

Which would you choose? It should depend on the objective. Is the objective to, “get through it?”  If it is, then you should probably take the path of least resistance.

If there is a deeper objective than, “just getting through it,” may not be enough. In your race, do you have a single hurdle to leap over or several? In business, there are many hurdles. If you want to be an energy rater or energy auditor, it’s definitely a multiple hurdle race.  The first hurdle is the national test.  If you go for a training that teaches you simply to pass the test, are you automatically prepared for life AFTER the test?  We don’t think so.

Our experience has shown us that the, “firehose,” approach to training doesn’t work well for everyone.  In fact, it probably doesn’t work well for many.  Our “pass rate,” is acceptable, but not great. We are focused on something that lies beyond the test. We want you to succeed as a rater, not just help you pass the test. If we do a poor job of preparing you for the world of work in this industry, we are only hindering you and passing the problem on to your clients your provider or both.

This is why we have adopted the blended approach to training.  This is a term that’s becoming vogue and certainly we need more vogue in our world! In a nutshell, we have taken our classroom portions of the training to an eLearning platform. This platform makes extensive use of interactivity, frequent quizzes, multi-media, social interaction with fellow students as well as instructor guidance. We believe that this new approach addresses the variety of learning types of each student. This will allow us to deliver more effective, more durable and more relevant training. Our field portion will continue to be led by our highly experienced, “real-world,” trainers.  We believe strongly in having trainers that have extensive experience as Raters and Auditors.

The amount of time that it takes to work through our training has increased dramatically. We estimate that it will take the average student about 75-80 hours to complete the online portion of the training.  This compares to 27-30 hours in the old, “death by PowerPoint,” approach.  This allows us to go deep into the curriculum which is necessary to produce well rounded, “field ready,” Raters and Auditors. Then our students will spend three to four days with our field instructors. This is an additional expansion of the training to account for the need to have more time in the field.  Students will have more, “hands-on,” time with equipment, in houses and with the modeling software.

All of this additional time and effort on the part of the students and the trainers will get us to the place we want to be – graduating well-trained, competent Raters and Auditors that are ready to enter their respective industry pathways and succeed.  Nothing less will do.

 

Crazy times at EnergyLogic

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry I’ve been away from the blog for a bit. We’ve been on a bit of a tear here at EnergyLogic. New initiatives are always exciting. New launches are always nerve racking.  We decided to just go ahead and do three in the month of October just because we’re gluttons for punishment!

It’s actually just a coincidence that it’s turned out that way.  Perhaps we’ll try to space things out a bit more in the future.  For now though, here’s what’s up:

  • OptiMiser Version 2 (OMV2) – 10/11/11 LIVE!
    • State of the art energy modeling and analysis tool for conducting accurate home energy audits. OMV2 promises to meet the growing demand for flexible but powerful software for the residential energy retrofit market.  EnergyLogic is the exclusive distributor and presenter of OptiMiser.
    • http://optimiserenergy.com/optimiser-v2/
  • EnergyLogic Academy – 10/17/11 LIVE!  Classes ongoing…
    • EnergyLogic ushers in a new era in professional credential training with its blended approach that combines the best of online and live training. EnergyLogic Academy represents a comprehensive step forward in training delivery, philosophy and effectiveness.

 

  • EnergyLogic Energy Use Guarantee – 10/31/11
    • EnergyLogic brings a new level of commitment to our work by backing energy ratings with an energy use guarantee for the heating season. Coupling our deep experience in delivering services to progressive homebuilders with a dramatic value addition, EnergyLogic is positioned for even more growth.

So we’re hoppin’ around here!  Look for a ton more information; videos, reports and surveys.  Thanks for reading!  Let’s talk soon…

-Steve

 

 


 

A Commitment to Improve Training

 

Reflecting on the quality of your services is a positive and important part of running a business. How do you get better? How does that improvement impact your customers? Where can you strengthen your offerings? How do you continue to support an industry that you are already deeply committed to supporting and advancing?

EnergyLogic thought long and hard about our commitment to providing high quality training. Part of the evaluation was to compare our training practices to new data on adult education. When you compare the traditional week long certification training with best practices for adult education it became painfully obvious that we needed to change our training program.

Our commitment is to take the students out of the classroom and put them in the field with equipment. The classroom was accomplishing little towards the development of quality home energy professionals. The retention rate for adult learners in an 8 hour, “death-by-PowerPoint,” boot camp session is very low. Unfortunately, those 8 hour sessions remain an incredibly important part of the education process in the home energy industry.

Our solution is not new, but it is a different approach to what we have done until now. In our fresh approach, EnergyLogic will split training into two distinct areas:  e-learning and field training. The classroom will now take place online in a semi self-paced course designed to accomplish the, “book education,” side of certifications. These courses will include interactive narrated presentations; social interaction with instructors and classmates; activities and quizzes. Each module will ask students to study and learn the materials typically presented in the standard 8 hour classroom format, but online. We believe students will retain more information in this setting than in the traditional class. We believe this so strongly that students will not be able to join EnergyLogic, or a qualified proxy trainer, without passing the online portion of training.

The second phase of training will be four days dedicated to in-home practical application of the certification. This means more time in a home, using equipment and understanding the process. In addition to basic diagnostic testing we will be able to focus on more of the important field applications required to be competent home energy professionals. In our experience, nothing, “turns on the light bulb,” better than a student using the manometer in the field. This will include personal coaching, equipment certification, insulation inspections, and advanced diagnostics.

We are excited that our new training program will go live on October 17, 2011. On this date the first phase of learning on the EnergyLogic Academy course management system will begin. Students will have four weeks to complete 26 modules in a semi self-paced online course. This will be followed by field training November 28-31, 2011. The four day course is available to those students who pass our online course, are already certified and are looking for mentoring; or have passed the national exam but still need to complete their practice ratings for HERS certification.

This is the first step in a comprehensive improvement in training for our internal staff and our clients. Stay tuned, we will be detailing our success with this roll out in the coming weeks.

-The Energy Professional Services Team