Thursday, December 29, 2016

My Trial Of Home Energy Auditing

I hope to report here, my experience with home energy auditing, using US DOE Home Energy Scoring, as a challenge to continued do-nothing weatherization in my community. I will do this at no cost to my customers, for a limited time only.

The contribution of one more capable contractor must matter, where about 27,000 existing homes are sold in the Portland market, each year. Compare this to HES audit accomplishments reported by US DOE , a nationwide total of 37,000 existing home audits in a three or four year period since 2012, by 350 auditors. Among foolishness of the Portland mandate, is inability of a pool of competent contractors, to perform even a small fraction of the required audits.

To become licensed to perform Home Energy Score audits to a new City Of Portland mandate, I may choose among paths spelled out in an application form from Oregon Department of Energy, dated 4/25/2016.

Where all paths must follow the US DOE instructions, How To Offer Score , step through them here.

1. Work with a Home Energy Score Partner.
To offer the Home Energy Score, Assessors work directly with Home Energy Score Partners. Interested Assessors should contact a local Partner  for information about joining their program. Or, you can reach out to another organization that is not yet a Partner and ask they become one.

In Oregon, I may choose as local PartnerOregon Department of Energy , then following their rules cited above.

2. Hold a relevant credential.

If you hold a certification as a home inspector, HVAC contractor, or other residential professional, then you meet our minimum qualifications to become a Home Energy Score Assessor. The table below gives some examples of relevant credentials, however this is not an exhaustive list. Contact your local Home Energy Score Partner  to find out more about the minimum qualifications they require. 

In Oregon, this partner is again Oregon Department of Energy . Confusion arises here, where Oregon Department Of Energy fails to list quite a few allowed paths. These additional paths include:

U.S. Green Building Council LEED: Green Rater or Green Associate, a path costing just $250. I find this uninteresting, where LEED has no interest in existing homes.

North American Board of Certifed Energy Practioners: PV Installation Professional, again irrelevant to me.

I infer that US DOE requires acceptance of any interested professional.  As a superior weatherization professional, with more than 20,000 hours of proficient practice I am a qualified professional, and need not be burdened with further investment of my valuable time and small cash reserve.

By the fewer Oregon Department of Energy paths, professionals exempted from further cost burden include home remodelers of no proven skill in weatherization, The free path of the National Association for the Remodeling Industry, NARI, is open to any worker of a dues-paid business. Find only two such doing insulation, Gale Contractor Services and USI JB Insulation, listed as NARI members through Oregon Remodelers Association. Gale, the more likely to join a rater game, was caught and reported by me , for blatant fraud and has remarkably bad grades at Angie's List. At Angie's List I am very-visibly superior to JB Insulation for both quantity and quality of service.

If I found reason to join ORA/ NARI, I would be out $945 for dues and for irrelevant training. Again, any Gale or JB Insulation employee would pay nothing in this path to becoming a licensed rater, and would do so with inferior motivation to serve the public interest.

Look at  BPI Paths

To become BPI certified is not honorable, and costs much more, if with traditional purchase of a rating as a Building Analyst, Envelope Professional. 

It seems the little-knowledge BPI certification to only do home energy scores is simply a no-fee passing of US DOE rater examination. Then pay to BPI $200 one time and $25 for each audit billed. This is nothing but theft from home owners. BPI cares not whether one behaves honestly, or knows much of anything. I will never submit a penny in such thievery. I believe BPI is a criminal organization.

Become BPI Certified Building Analyst:

Oregon Training Institute Office
27501 SW 95th Ave., Suite 980 (Building C9)
Wilsonville, OR

BPI Building Analyst; Envelope Professional - Wilsonville
Five days, 9 am to 5 pm, guaranteed pass as a Building Scientist.
(1/30/17 – 2/3/17)

Available Seats: 8
Price: $3790.00

This expensive path has been chosen by most of the rating advocates who showed up at Portland's City Hall. They have paid up, mostly as unearned income to BPI, to be privileged weatherization Generals under HPwES. And, there may be too few of them to fulfill the new Portland audit mandate.

However I might end up serving the public interest as a rater and critic, I must offer my choice of how to rate, from among those allowed by Portland's mandate.  Look at the ordinance words at pages two to three:
K. “Home Energy Performance Score System” means a system that incorporates building energy assessment software to generate a home energy performance score and home energy performance report. Examples of home energy performance score systems include, but may not be limited to, the U.S. Department of Energy Home Energy Score, the Energy Performance Score (EPS) or the Home Energy Rating System (HERS). 

I choose US DOE Home Energy Score, for reasons including absence of a tax upon my customers.

 Here is an example HES graphic:

HES scores rise with efficiency improvement to a maximum of 10.

I reject EPS:
Energy Trust of Oregon/ Earth Advantage Institute/ Cake Systems wants auditors to use EPS, not the US DOE Home Energy Scoring. Cake Systems has a fee schedule very similar to that of BPI, and also does nothing to earn this tax upon home owners.

What does an EPS report look like?

EPS scores fall with efficiency improvement to a minimum of zero, and have no high limit, though a maximum of 200 is depicted. A home owner under the City of Portland mandate is as likely to receive an EPS report as a HES report, and will not attempt to understand the numbers, or do anything good as a result of the tax upon the buyer.

I reject HERS Scores:
There is a HERS score possibility too. What does that look like?
A HERS score looks something like an EPS score. See that a home may have a negative number with site power generation. Such scoring is criticized for perhaps not doing diligence with efficiency, before crediting the perhaps-temporary privilege of some odd power generator.

I don't care about HERS scores as Energy Rating Index, ERI, for new homes only:
Here is another example graphic where HERS for a new home is identified as the Energy Rating Index, ERI, prescribed by International Code Council, ICC, for 2015 International Energy Conservation Code, IECC:

The energy-efficiency improvement of any existing home is not definable by HERS/ ERI.
In energy matters, ICC is not at all concerned with a home that is no longer subject to approval or not, by some Jurisdictional Authority. Except for meaningful snares of plumbing and electrical codes, a remodeler is not at all required to improve a home. A flipper may cash out a house without any efficiency improvements. Those who permit this may be more guilty of hurting buyers, than one flipper.

Comment at August, 2018:
I performed math studies of US Department Of Energy Home Energy Scores, and recorded observations here: 

Where none of my infrequent-now existing home customers have had an interest in silly HES numbers, and I found no means to conduct supervised scoring, I am done with scoring. I do exemplary opportunity assessment and real work in weatherization.

I support, with reporting of actual energy costs as the information to be shared by realtors, for all homes, not just those for sale.