Energy Auditing is an umbrella term that covers a wide variety of jobs (auditors, analysts, raters, etc) engaged in the inspection of residential homes and commercial buildings for the purposes of conducting energy audits of various levels of complexity. Note that some energy auditors have a construction background while others have a professional engineering background.
The three most widely recognized professional certifications for energy auditor include:
BPI Building Analyst (BPI = Building Performance Institute)
A Certified BPI Building Analyst is an energy auditor who has passed both a written and field exam. BPI does not mandate formal training prior to the exams, but a classroom or online course is usually necessary and requires about one week of training. A BPI Building Analyst is certified to conduct blower-door tests, combustion appliance inspection and repair, air quality testing including carbon monoxide detection, duct testing, and airflow testing. A BPI Building Analyst needs to re-certify every three years, either by re-taking the exams or by completing continuing education from a BPI affiliate.
HERS Rater (HERS = Home Energy Raters)
A HERS Rater is trained and certified through RESNET (the Residential Energy Services Network). Once an energy auditor is RESNET-certified, they are eligible to become an ENERGY STAR partner. In order to ensure that a home or building meets ENERGY STAR requirements, a builder submits plans to a HERS Rater for a plan review. Raters input information from the plans into computer simulation programs that estimate the annual household energy use. The software generates a HERS score that compares the consumption of the home/building to be built against a reference home/building based on the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The Rater can then recommend construction practices and equipment to reach the ENERGY STAR level. Early in the construction process, the Rater completes the Thermal Bypass Checklist. This is a comprehensive visual inspection of building details where thermal bypass, or the movement of heat around or through insulation, frequently occurs due to missing air barriers or gaps between the air barriers and the insulation. Near the completion of construction, the Rater performs a final inspection. This usually includes a blower door test to test the leakiness of the home/building and a duct blaster test to test the leakiness of the ducts. The Rater generates another HERS score that compares to the IECC-based reference home/building.
Certified Energy Auditor (CEA)
The CEA certification was developed and added to the broad portfolio of professional certifications offered by the Association of Energy Engineers. The certification identifies professional engineers as having the required knowledge and experience needed to perform energy audits.