The Difference Between BPI and RESNET

Created:
Tue, 2015-02-24 10:53

Last Updated: 2017-08-21 12:16

OVERVIEW

Home performance professionals seek either BPI Certification or RESNET HERS Rater Certification to help them fine-tune their technical skills and become a certified home energy auditor. Both of these certification programs illustrate proficiency in residential energy concepts.

Difference between BPI and RESNET Banner

GOALS & OUTCOMES

Those working in the residential industry have likely heard of BPI and RESNET but may not understand exactly how they are different. The technical standards for these certifications were created by competing organizations, thus specific thresholds and intentions differ. Let’s trace these competing ideas back to the drivers that brought these two energy auditor certifications to the forefront.

BPI – largely developed to diagnose existing homes and retrofit for energy efficiency

Other reasons why a home performance professional may seek BPI Certification include:

  • Ensuring occupant health and safety for years to come
  • Helping homeowners lower their energy bills by diagnosing energy-related issues
  • Qualifying homeowners for state and local rebate programs by recommending energy efficiency improvements
  • Enhancing reputation/brand with a marketable credential
  • Adding a valuable skill set to one’s existing service (insulation, HVAC, etc.)
  • Learning air leakage and duct testing to meet 2009, 2012, or 2015 IECC building code

RESNET – largely developed to assess a home’s energy use and use those results to rate the home against a standard home built to code (used primarily in new home construction)

Other reasons why a home performance professional may become a RESNET HERS Rater include:

  • Encouraging occupant health and safety at the beginning (and for years to come)
  • Ensuring an environment where homeowners pay a comfortable amount on their energy bills, given that energy efficiency measures were implemented during the building process
  • Enhancing reputation/brand with a marketable credential
  • Adding a valuable skill set to one’s existing service (builder, home inspector, etc.)
  • Using the HERS rating score as a compliance path for meeting IECC building code
  • Working with builders, code officials, appraisers, real estate agents, mortgage companies, and homeowners to cultivate the optimal energy consumption of a home and promote the benefits therein
  • Working on homes that seek the ENERGY STAR Certification or working for a company committed to building energy-efficient homes

As you can see, the goals for BPI Certification are slightly more straightforward than RESNET. The reason for this is that BPI Certification is more of a personal accomplishment for a professional and an opportunity to establish greater rapport with customers. RESNET HERS Rater Certification, on the other hand, is part of a much bigger plan. When you embark on a HERS Rater designation, you commit to the home performance industry on a much greater level. Let’s take a look at the certification process to best explain this.

THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS

BPI has a series of occupation-specific certifications. Those include BPI Building Analyst, BPI Infiltration & Duct Leakage, BPI Envelope Professional, BPI Multifamily Building Analyst, BPI Heating Professional, BPI AC/Heat Pump Professional, etc. These designations all represent specific occupations and responsibilities.

The most popular BPI designation(s) are Building Analyst and Infiltration & Duct Leakage because they reflect tasks performed by basic home energy auditors. With RESNET, there is only one designation to achieve: RESNET HERS Rater. A HERS Rater is a home energy auditor who is also able to analyze home energy consumption and perform home energy ratings. For the purpose of providing an apples-to-apples comparison, we will look at the certification process for BPI Building Analyst versus RESNET HERS Rater.

BPI Building Analyst

In order to earn this energy auditor certification, you will need to complete the following steps:

  • Building science classroom training (energy loss, air flow, heat transfer, workscope development, energy modeling)
  • Hands-on field training with blower door and duct blaster equipment
  • Hands-on field training in a combustion appliance zone, learning to detect problems that lead to carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Pass 100-question multiple choice written exam with a score of at least 70% (closed book, with the exception of the BPI Technical Standards)
  • Pass a hands-on field exam with a score of at least 70% - a candidate must score at least 85% on the combustion safety portion alone!
  • Acquire 30 CEUs every three years to maintain certification (must retest if CEUs are not earned)

RESNET HERS Rater

In order to earn this energy auditor/energy rater certification, you will need to complete the following steps:

  • Building science classroom training (energy loss, air flow, heat transfer, workscope development, energy modeling)
  • Hands-on field training with blower door and duct blaster equipment
  • Hands-on field training in a combustion appliance zone, learning to detect problems that lead to carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Pass a 50-question National Core Rater written exam with a score of at least 80% (open book)
  • Pass a 25-question combustion safety written exam
  • Pass the RESNET practical simulation exam
  • Pass a RESNET combustion safety simulation exam
  • Complete five provisional energy ratings within one year of passing the exam (2 will be completed during training, 1 must be supervised by a Quality Assurance Designee, and the final 2 can be completed on any homes in your area)
  • Enlist as a member of a RESNET Quality Assurance Provider program
  • Submit all home energy ratings to the RESNET Quality Assurance Provider for review and be prepared to schedule annual on-site QA visits
  • Acquire 18 hours of continuing education every three years

Put simply, RESNET requires ongoing quality assurance to ensure that all HERS Raters in the country are providing a standardized assessment of home energy efficiency.

Difference between BPI Building Analyst and RESNET HERS Rater

For the most part, candidates seeking either certification will learn much of the same in terms of building science principles, pressure diagnostics, duct leakage testing, and combustion safety. The bar is a little higher for RESNET HERS Raters, which can be an asset in terms of demonstrating proficiency and establishing customer confidence.

The easiest way to differentiate the two is to say that BPI is for existing homes and RESNET is for new homes, but this isn’t always the best way to look at it. Your decision to pursue an energy auditor certification should be based on your personal goals and the type of work that you hope to do. You should also consider the rebate programs in your area, your budget, and your overall commitment to the home performance industry.

Call us at 800-460-2575 if you have questions. We’ll help you decide which certification is best for you.

If you’re ready to get started, enroll in training for BPI Building Analyst and/or RESNET HERS Rater training now!

By Lesley Cowie

 

 

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