With heating and cooling bills on the rise and concerns about global warming spreading, more homeowners than ever are looking for ways to make their homes more energy efficient. As a first step, many hire a home energy auditor.
What Do Home Energy Auditors Do?
Home energy auditors inspect and evaluate a home’s energy features and make recommendations for improvements that will save energy and money. Some home energy auditors are also qualified to administer Energy Star ratings for homes. Some home energy audit companies can also assist clients with finding tax breaks, cost-share programs, and other incentives to help cover the cost of energy-efficient renovations. Others can perform some of the renovations themselves. For example, it is not unusual for insulation installers and HVAC installers to offer home energy audits in addition to their regular services. Some home energy auditors also offer indoor air quality testing and recommendations, since poor indoor air quality can become a serious issue in air sealed energy efficient homes.
If you are interested in green buildings and construction, becoming a home energy auditor is a great green business opportunity that can easily be started from your own home.
Becoming a Home Energy Auditor
The first step to becoming a home energy auditor is to get certified. One of the most respected certification programs are the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), which focuses on training inspectors of new construction. RESNET also offers training for Energy Star raters. Once you have received your certification, you can apply with the EPA to become an Energy Star Partner. Becoming an Energy Star Partner qualifies you for listing on the Energy Star website. The program also offers marketing assistance to partners.
Another highly respected certification program is offered by the Building Performance Institute (BPI). The BPT program focuses on training inspectors of existing buildings, which tends to be more profitable than inspecting new construction because fewer inspections are required.
Once you are certified, you will need some basic equipment, including a blower door with a digital manometer, duct leakage testing device, combustion analyzer, gas leak detector, and carbon monoxide monitor. These typically cost about $5,000 total. An option, but useful, piece of equipment is an infrared camera, which typically cost $4,000 or more.
Because the actual work of inspections is done on-site, a simple home office is all you need to get started in the home energy audit business. Working from home can also can save money and reduce your own energy consumption!
Finding Work as a Home Energy Auditor
There are many ways to find work as a home energy auditor. You can start by offering inspections to friends and family members and asking them to recommend your services to others. Seek out local environmental groups and offer to give a presentation at their monthly meeting. Contact builders and contractors and offer to help them improve the energy efficiency of their building and remodeling projects. You can also get your home energy audit business listed in online directories, such as the RESNET or BPI directories, or industry websites such as Inspection News.
Main Image Credit: Jeremy Levine Design