a green blackboard showing chaulk drawings of a house and the words Energy Efficiency drawn at the top as the title

A certified Home Energy Rater is someone trained and certified by a licensed Home Energy Rating Provider to evaluate and inspect a house’s energy features, prepare an energy rating, and offer suggestions for money and energy-saving improvements.

But, there is more than what meets the eye when becoming an Energy Rater. For instance, did you know that they earn an average of $31.94 per hour? That comes to $66,425 a year!

If you are interested in taking up this career, continue reading to learn the best online training programs to realize it!

Online Training Programs to Become an Energy Rater

Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) and Building Performance Institute Inc. (BPI) offer the best online training programs to become an energy rater.

Let’s take a closer look at both these programs so that you know the steps you need to follow and the requirements you need to fulfill to become a certified energy rater. 

1) RESNET 

The route to becoming a certified Home Energy Rater starts with attending rater training classes. 

  • The first thing you need to do is identify an authorized Energy Rater Training organization. These organizations are all mentioned on the RESNET training provider page. 
  • You need the training to become a qualified Home Energy Rater, and some training providers conduct part of the training online. 
  • It’s always wise to start preparing before attending training by going through the materials and coursework recommended by your chosen training organization.
  • You can attend an online exam preparation class. Get more details on preparing for the RESNET rater test. 
  • Even though it isn’t compulsory to attend classes, it’s strongly recommended that you do. Nevertheless, you will need to finish two energy ratings and take the test the first time in the presence of a Rater Trainer. 
  • Suppose you plan to attend proper training classes. In which case, you will be prepared for a rigorous week of learning principles related to building science and integrating that knowledge into the actual practice of preparing and performing onsite home energy evaluations. 
  • You will need to pass three national core competency exams, including:
    • National Rater Exam
    • RESNET Combustion Appliance Simulation Test 
    • RESNET Rater Simulation Practical Test.
  • If you cannot clear the Rater exam the first time, you should check out RESNETs proctoring guidelines that detail how you can reattempt the test.
  • The last part of the Rater certification process involves signing a rater agreement with a RESNET licensed Rating Provider and completing probationary ratings. 

RESNET-Accredited Training Provider

RESNET oversees the home energy rating industry and has designed it to ensure a high degree of quality assurance. Moreover, energy raters need to work via a Rating Provider in charge of their quality assurance and certification. 

Remember that you will actually be certified as a Home Energy Rater by a RESNET-accredited rating provider instead of RESNET itself. Therefore, choose a rating provider meticulously as they provide varying degrees of service concerning business development, business management, and technical support tools. 

Ensure you speak to your potential provider if they service energy raters apart from those they’ve trained. In short, are they willing to certify independent raters who they haven’t trained? 

Another thing to remember is that you have options for a rating provider not situated in your state. Several companies certify Energy Raters to offer rating services outside the state they’re headquartered. Make sure you agree to the costs charged and services offered. 

An Energy Rater sitting on a couch assesses a home's energy rating on her tablet

RESNET – Additional Details

Here are some other details you need to know about becoming an Energy Rater through RESNET. 

  • An authorized Rating Provider helps new Raters oversee their necessary five probationary ratings. Rating providers might require more than the minimum five probationary ratings. 
  • Once you have finished at least five probationary ratings and successfully passed all the required Energy Rater exams, the Rating Provider will issue a document stating you have completed the course work needed to become a HERS Certified Rater, and can apply for an RTIN or Rating Test Identification Number. 
  • You will have 15 months to complete all the necessary exams and probationary ratings
  • . Then, you will have to sign a rater agreement highlighting the obligations and duties for both the Rating Provider and yourself—this is described in the RESNET Standards
  • Once you’ve signed with a Rater Provider, they will give you your RTIN and issue your certification. 
  • According to RESNET Standards, the Rating Provider has to conduct quality assurance “desk audits” on at least 10 percent of all energy ratings and follow up field inspections on at least 1 percent of your ratings.
  • The Rating Provider will then establish the timeframe for these quality assurance requirements to be fulfilled. 
  • All of the extra processes generally require charges that you must pay to the Rating Provider. 

RESNET Recertification 

You will have to complete one of the two professional development requirements every three years to certify as a Home Energy Rater. These include:

  • Attending a conference approved by RESNET, or 
  • Finishing eighteen hours of RESNET-approved professional development from a RESNET Accredited Training Provider. 

You can find the courses accredited for Home Energy Rater professional development here

2) HEP Energy Rater Certification by BPI 

BPI’s Home Energy Professional (HEP) Energy is approved by the US Department of Energy. 

HEP Energy Rater certification showcases high competency through the meticulous field and online exams, along with work experience prerequisites. 

After you’re certified, you can assess the energy efficiency, safety, and health of a house. You’ll gain detailed knowledge on how to use modeling software and diagnostic equipment to identify avenues for possible energy savings, develop a rating report, and create a scope of work. 

Plus, you automatically get the BPI Building Analyst certification when you get the Energy Rater certification!

Steps You Need to Follow

Here are the steps you need to follow to become a certified Energy Auditor. 

  • Required Prerequisites
    • You need to meet specific experience and educational prerequisites before taking the field or online certification exams. Make sure to go through the document highlighting the requirements for Energy Rater certification. 
  • Go through the field guide for the Energy Rater Certification. 
  • Fill out the application
    • In addition, collect supporting documents to verify you fulfill the criteria. Finally, save a copy of your application and fax, mail, or email it to BPI. 
  • Get Approval
    • BPI will update you regarding your approval status through email.
  • Training (Optional)
    • BPI doesn’t warrant training and isn’t associated with any training centers. Nevertheless, most people who undertake training generally do better on BPI assessments. 
  • Sit for Your Energy Rater Exams (Field and Online).
    • Locate a BPI Test Center to schedule your online exam. You can view the BPI Test Centers that offer the Energy Auditor field exam here
    • EXCEPTION: Professionals who have BPI certification and are aiming for their initial BPI EA certification with an active BPI QCI certification expiring before 27th February 2022 can skip the Energy Rater written exam. They need to complete the final exam to attain Energy Rater certification. 
  • Exam Results
    • You can sign in to your account to check your exam results. Online results are published immediately after you have completed your exam. On the other hand, it generally takes five working days to post field exam results on your account. 
  • Energy Rater Certification
    • If you’re successful, you will get your certification via mail within thirty days. 

Keep in mind the Energy Rater certification was updated in March 2019. Thus, if you wish to challenge the latest EA exams, you need to apply and attain BPI approval before scheduling it, even if you had the approval to sit for the previous EA exams. 

BPI – Preparing for Exams

Online Exam – One hundred MCQs

  • Time: 2 hours.
  • Required Score to Pass: 70%

Field Exams

Field exams are hands-on exams with gated exams that must be successfully finished to pass, irrespective of other exam scores. The gated exam criteria are: 

  • The candidate prepared carbon monoxide and combustible measurement for use
  • The candidate evaluated indoor ambient carbon monoxide levels and compared outcomes to the existing version of ANSI/BP1-1200
  • The candidate checked indoor air and confirmed that combustible gases are lower than 10 percent of LEL on every floor
  • The candidate evaluated and mentioned ambient carbon monoxide levels measured in the CAZ throughout combustion safety training
  • Candidate effectively set combustion appliance to standby or pilot
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Required Score to Pass: 82% on the rest of the tasks
  • Exam Results Processing Time: 5–10 working days

Fee Structure

The cost of the field and online exams are calculated by the BPI Test Center offering the exams. BPI’s suggested price list for the exams is $700 for field exams and $250 for online exams. 

BPI Recertification Process

BPI energy raters need to recertify after every three years.

When it comes to recertification, if you’ve acquired and submitted a minimum of twenty-four BPI Continuing Education Units throughout the time you were certified, you might skip the online exam.

Additionally, all candidates need to retake the field exam before expiration. Once you’re recertified as an energy rater, you automatically agree to the Code of Ethics outlined by BPI.

infrared camera showing heat coming from the HVAC during the blower door test of our net-zero project

Why Work As an Energy Rater

Here are some examples of why the career of an energy rater is gaining popularity:

  • $11 billion was offered to local and state governments to minimize home energy consumption. 
  • It’s estimated that an energy audit can enhance a house’s energy use by 30 percent on average. Given that commercial and residential buildings make up 73 percent of electricity consumption in the US, this represents massive savings. 
  • The EPA and US Department of Energy have stated their objective of improving one million homes every year through home energy improvements and weatherization. 
  • Austin, Texas, warrants all houses older than ten years to have an energy audit before being sold. 

The income potential for professional energy raters is set by the rater. A general home energy audit can easily lie between $250 to $500. A motivated and organized energy auditor can carry out ten audits every week, suggesting a monthly income of $10,000 to $20,000.

Some energy raters charge according to the house’s square footage, and others charge hourly. It depends on the size of the house, length of discussion with the homeowner, etc. 

Career As an Energy Rater

As an energy rater, you will have to perform energy audits of buildings. You might also have to perform investment-grade audits of building systems. Here are some additional tasks you might have to carry out:

  • Identify ways to enhance the operation, energy efficiency, or maintenance of buildings. 
  • Check for and prioritize energy-saving measures. 
  • Study technical feasibility of energy-saving measures, using knowledge of energy consumption, energy production, engineering, maintenance, construction, etc. 

An Ordinary Day as An Energy Rater

On a regular day, Energy Auditors quantify energy use to develop baselines for energy need or use. A usual day for an energy rater will also entail:

  • Collecting and analyzing field data related to energy consumption. 
  • Preparing audit reports comprising energy analysis results or suggestions for energy cost savings. 

On a weekly or monthly basis, Energy Auditors will have to oversee the installation of equipment like pipe insulation, water heater wraps, door sweeps, low-flow showerheads, and weatherstripping to increase energy efficiency. They might even suggest alternate energy sources or energy-efficient technologies. 

Last Few Words

We hope this article provided comprehensive insight into the best online training programs to become an energy rater, along with the benefits of building a career in this field.

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