The pool of qualified building science professionals must be expanded to meet the increasing demand for whole-home energy assessments and upgrades in Illinois. One way to do this is through BPI certification training. Utilizing a qualitative and quantitative survey, MEEA produced an assessment of available BPI Affiliate Training in order to establish a baseline, share best practices, and promote the knowledge, skills and abilities for whole-home energy work in Illinois.
We found an active pool of 223 BPI professionals in Illinois, with projected workforce needs of 1,000 energy auditors and almost 3,500 building envelope specialists by 2015. There are 30 registered Training Affiliates in Illinois, ten of which are based in-state. 77% have been offering BPI training in Illinois for two years or less. The most popular BPI course (63%) is the Building Analyst + Envelope (BA+E) course, apparently because it provides the necessary mix of skills for a whole-home approach.
Classroom hours for the BA+E course varied between 6 and 60, and field hours varied from 4 to 60. Scheduling is always an issue and practices to split up courses over extended periods are helping to alleviate some of this problem.
We offer some suggestions for how this variegated market can be tailored to the specific needs of students in the growing home performance workforce, and stress the need for mentoring and continued education combined with demand-stimulating campaigns that will ensure that whole-home building performance approaches are used when performing energy audits in Illinois.