BPI Energy Audits Save Lives

Last Updated:
Wed, 2019-02-20 14:06
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During the winter months, it’s not uncommon to see articles about the benefits of home energy audits, especially as a solution to controlling energy bills while maintaining thermal comfort.

But home energy audits serve another purpose year-round: saving lives.

During a home energy audit, a Building Performance Institute (BPI) certified professional uses building science principles and diagnostic testing to solve heating, cooling, and air leakage problems. Specifically, these professionals are looking for the root causes of high energy costs, poor indoor air quality, and reduced occupant comfort. They inspect the interior and exterior systems of the home, test air quality, and identify opportunities for improvement.

One of the most important components of the home energy audit is combustion safety testing, which is where the auditor evaluates the performance of all combustion appliances in the home. That includes testing furnaces, boilers, water heaters, and gas kitchen appliances to ensure that they are working properly. If they’re not working properly, it’s possible for carbon monoxide (CO) to leak into the air. This colorless, odorless, tasteless gas is deadly, so by placing emphasis on combustion safety testing, home energy auditors are able to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning among homeowners and occupants.

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Making a Difference

The home performance professionals who seek BPI Certification are generally aware of the "good" that their newfound skill set will offer, but a recent candidate for certification realized the impact much sooner than he had anticipated.

Matthew Greenawalt, of Milton, PA, received BPI Certification training through Everblue, an approved BPI Test Center. He chose to participate in Everblue’s online format of the training, which concludes with a remotely proctored written exam and field exam.

As part of the field exam, BPI candidates are required to walk through and narrate the steps of a home energy audit. They demonstrate their use of the diagnostic equipment and perform the air quality tests before a proctor.

On Feb. 15, Matthew scheduled his field exam with Everblue’s BPI exam proctor. Physically located in North Carolina, the proctor used Zoom video conferencing software to supervise Matthew’s exam. Matthew was prepared with all of his energy auditing equipment and had arranged to use a friend’s house in PA for his field exam.

Matthew started the exam with testing the carbon monoxide levels outside in order to set a baseline. He used his combustible gas leak detector to slowly measure air leakage from outdoor pipes. After he inspected the exterior of the home, he went inside for further testing. As advised during Everblue’s course, Matthew brought his ambient CO monitor with him during the interior walk-through and testing of the home.

While performing the combustion safety testing on his friend’s furnace, Matthew’s carbon monoxide monitor started beeping. He identified that the ambient CO got up to 50 parts per million (PPM) – a dangerous level. (For reference, at 70 PPM, a person would evacuate the home.)

Matthew’s response was exactly right; he turned off the furnace and ventilated the home. Once it was safe to continue, Matthew resumed the rest of the field exam.

Had it not been for this chance encounter, Matthew’s friend would never have known about the carbon monoxide issue in his home. Prior to even earning his BPI Certification, Matthew effectively saved his friend’s life.

As Matthew goes on in his career as a BPI-certified energy auditor, he’ll always remember the impact that he has when he goes into a client’s home.

After receiving a home energy audit, homeowners can expect to lower their energy usage, save money, and breathe cleaner air. Oftentimes, BPI energy auditors are also licensed trade professionals who can help a homeowner with making home energy improvements and retrofits. It’s a win-win for the homeowner and for the auditor.

Do you want to make a difference in someone’s life? Hire or become a BPI-certified home energy auditor today!

Everblue offers BPI training courses online and in select cities across the United States. The BPI Building Analyst course is most popular for becoming a certified home energy auditor; however, Everblue also offers advanced and specialized BPI certification classes too. For more information on earning a BPI Certification, call Everblue at 877-798-3554.