(MALTA, NY) October 3, 2016 - Today, the Building Performance Institute (BPI) announces the nationwide launch of the Healthy Home Evaluator (HHE) certification. This certification will help the nation's home performance, weatherization and healthy housing workforce conduct assessments in homes to determine conditions that may adversely affect occupant health and safety.
"BPI has always focused on health and safety issues such as carbon monoxide and natural gas leaks," said BPI CEO Larry Zarker. "Now with the HHE, we are including a deeper look at home issues that could negatively impact the health and safety of America's families."
BPI developed the HHE certification in partnership with the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI), a national nonprofit working with partners in over 30 cities and counties to break the link between unhealthy housing and unhealthy children. Representatives from Children's Mercy Hospital (CMH) of Kansas City, Missouri helped develop questions for the HHE exam, assisted with curriculum development and developed a train-the-trainer initiative. An experienced team of subject matter experts in public health, building science and healthy housing created the certification blueprint, job task analysis and the bank of HHE test questions.
Through a contract from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, Healthy Housing Solutions, Inc., (Solutions), a subsidiary of National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), developed the curriculum for an HHE certification study course. Through this contract, Solutions also provided BPI with funding to promote the HHE.
Peter Ashley, Director of the Policy and Standards Division in the Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control at HUD said, "We know that there are millions of homes in the U.S. with lead and other key health and safety hazards that need to be addressed. Development of the HHE certification is a tremendous opportunity for BPI-certified professionals to obtain the additional skills needed to expand our stock of healthy housing. In doing this, we will work together to create homes that are not only energy efficient, but safe and healthy as well."
In April 2016, BPI initiated a pilot phase of the HHE certification. During the pilot, which concluded on September 9th, 2016, 335 BPI certified professionals took the HHE exam. The HHE builds on a prerequisite of one of three other BPI certifications: Building Analyst (BA), Energy Auditor (EA) or Quality Control Inspector (QCI). The HHE assesses the risk of key home-based health hazards including asthma triggers from dust, moisture and mold, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), lead-based paint, asbestos, radon, carbon monoxide leaks, as well as potential fire hazards, trip and fall hazards and pest management issues.
"The need for a nationally recognized Healthy Home Evaluator certification has never been greater. Throughout the country, GHHI sites work with local contractors to rehabilitate homes using a comprehensive model that combines health, safety and energy efficiency improvements. Funding sources from states, philanthropies and others are increasing for healthy home interventions, and with them, the demand for a high quality certification that verifies contractor expertise," said Ruth Ann Norton, President and CEO of GHHI.
A 2014 NCHH nationwide survey showed increasing demand for healthy home assessments in the marketplace, particularly in the area of asthma prevention. Thirteen states have reported that some Medicaid reimbursement is in place for home-based asthma education. As of September 2016, the state of Missouri has determined that the HHE meets the requirements for healthy home assessment reimbursement under Medicaid.
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) provided critical technical and financial support for the development of the HHE certification.
Information about the HHE exam can be found at bpi.org/hhe.