I was speaking with a long time home inspector this weekend. He thought that most home energy auditors were inspecting homes without a license. As a BPI Accredited contractor, I view breaches in the building envelope, like missing chimney flashing, or foundation water damage as well within my purview. My Inspector friend thought as an industry, we are overstepping our bounds. Do you think BPI should expand their curriculum so Auditors would also qualify as Home Inspectors, or should we take more classes and also become licensed Home Inspectors?

 

What are your thoughts?

 

 

Tags: Audits, BPI, Energy, Green, Heroes, Home, Inspection

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I'm with you and I agree with you. 

 

The way the law was written previously, it said that no "contractor" could perform an "inspection" on more than 2 "building components".  Only licensed "Inspectors" could perform "Inspections." 

 

So the key thing for energy auditors is to not claim that their energy audits are "inspections."  One BPI certified contractor got in trouble when he ran radio ads trying to get people to sign up for his "inspections."  He used the wrong magic word in an ad and the CCB came down on him. 

 

As long as you avoid using the word inspection, and you are not claiming your energy audit is as good as or the equivalent of or in place of a home inspection done when a house is for sale, then you are fine.   The state legislature is also clearing up the language in the law to make this more clear that inspections and energy audits can co-exist. 

 

Adam, it was December 10, 1994, Portland's Channel 8, as I recall around 5:00:01 p.m. PST.

 

Likely a snippet of long-gone history except what sticks in the craw

of the guy who found it the reason for writing a law.

 

Then I presented my experience at a Poster Session at Affordable Comfort in Chicago and had a poster of FOOD LABELS falling through an hourglass with the caption "It's time we see what we are BREATHING too!" or something like that. John Tooley had inspired me.

 

Gillian Landfair was the young woman's name, an interior designer.

 

Kate Brown introduced the legislation. The gas co's chief lobbyist held the Chair of the Change Committee at Oregon's Building Codes Division, and in one of our meetings, he said things like "There's no way we can hold old houses to anything like the standards for new houses!" My words, his sentiment. I countered with, "Do you mean to say that old houses are okay to gas folks, but new ones are for the living?" David Brook, from Oregon Energy Extension Service was there for that one.

 

When I met with the ER docs and then the ER Social Work elite, I found even more reason to be concerned. The word I recall from those contacts was that they 'believed' the pulse oximeters readings of 90 something % oxygen, though they knew the oximeters were BLIND to carboxyhemoglobin. Strike one. Strike two came from social worker, Sheryl from Providence St. Vincent: "Joe, we have NEVER done a follow-up by going to the home to determine HOW the carbon monoxide poisonings occurred or what to do about them!"

 

In other words, the problems associated with leaky ducts, CAZ depressurization and living spaces morphing into dying places were ignored. Oregon lost like 25 folks that year. Nationally we lose a few hundred a year. But the deaths are the tip of the iceberg. Thousands get gassed, quit their job, kick the dog, run amok and have no clue what happened. CO poisoning eliminates our higher functions, dashes our creativity, erases our memory and contributes to numerous psychological pathologies.

 

An energy audit is more than an inspection because we have science, reliable instrumentation and an understanding that reflects accurately on health and safety issues in addition to structural and performance situations in someone's home.

 

I'm all for NOT saying it's an inspection and not saying we're doctors, lawyers or chiefs of change committees, but a good energy audit can turn around a house and restore a quality of life, a level of comfort and a measure of affordability that may have been getting goofy from lack of attention.

Do you know what they call the guy that finishes last in his class at medical school?     Doctor.

Here in Delaware, three years ago there were 2 firms in the state that where BPI certified.  Checking this morning on the state website, there are 59 firms.  How much experience does the average BPI auditor have today?  We have enough of a battle keeping standards up to add the whole HI thing.  We have all heard horror stories about an item that was not discovered at an inspection and the buyer was faced with a big bill and the inspector had no liability - cost my sister $32,000 to rebuild a totally rotten, flat roofed addition that was not called out.  If a flat roof isn't a red flag, I don;t know what is.

Just look at the new RESNET/ACCA energy audit standards to see how we will have our hands full if they have their way.

Ed Minch

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