What is an Energy Auditor?
An energy auditor is an individual who inspects and evaluates home energy efficiency levels. As part of this inspection, the energy auditor will measure energy consumption, track heating and cooling loses, and check the operation and efficiency of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Based on the results of the audit, he or she will discuss the benefits of potential energy upgrades and improvements with the homeowner.
To perform a thorough energy audit, it is helpful to have some experience in construction or home improvement. Some skills that are particularly beneficial to an energy auditor include an understanding of green building and energy efficiency, as well as experience with HVAC installations or inspections. While these technical skills are important, it is also critical that the energy auditor is able to discuss these systems with homeowners in easy-to-understand terms. The energy auditor should also understand the basic cost of energy related improvements, as well as the impact these improvements have on home values and utility bills.
The energy auditor must learn to operate specialized equipment to aid with home energy inspections. One of the main tools of the energy auditor is a fan unit used for blower door tests. This test involves measuring changes in air pressure levels to find potential air leaks through the walls of the home. Energy auditors also rely on infrared cameras to measure changes in temperature, locate the source of drafts, and measure insulation in walls.
The demand for home energy auditors is closely related to the growth of the green building movement. In nearly a dozen US states, home energy audits are required before a home can be sold. Even when an audit is not required, homeowners can benefit significantly from performing energy-related upgrades to their homes. These upgrades reduce energy use, help protect the environment, and lead to a reduction in heating and cooling bills. Improving energy efficiency can even increase the value of the home, and make it more attractive to buyers.
Many US states and cities offer certification programs for energy auditors. For those in other areas, there are a number of independent certification programs that can help candidates learn more about the profession and establish credibility with clients. The Association of Energy Engineers offers a Certified Energy Manager (CEM) license that is recognized throughout much of North America. Candidates who posses a combination of education and experience as an energy auditor may apply for CEM licensing.
One of the most popular licensing programs in the US is the Residential Energy Services Network's (RESNET) Certified Energy Contractor (CER) license. Though there are no educational requirements associated with the CER program, candidates must pass a written exam and perform a supervised home inspection to demonstrate their skills. Homeowners looking to certify their home under the US Energy Star program must hire a licensed CER energy auditor to inspect their house.
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