Building Performance Institute Sees Tremendous Growth in 2010
The number of contracting companies earning BPI Accredited Contractor status doubled for the second year in a row
MALTA, NY - January, 2011 - Responding to explosive demand for nationally recognized credentials in the residential energy efficiency retrofit industry, the Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI) experienced tremendous growth in 2010. According to the BPI, a confluence of factors has contributed to establishing BPI as the nation's premier home performance credentialing, quality assurance and standards setting organization:
- BPI Certified Professionals are now located in all 50 states and five foreign countries, with western states seeing the most aggressive growth of over 400 percent in 2010
- The number of contracting companies earning BPI Accredited Contractor status doubled for the second year in a row
- Intense demand for training increased BPI's nationwide network of affiliate training organizations 78 percent --to 242 training organizations
- Over 100 utility, state and local incentive programs now call for BPI credentials
- BPI earned accreditation from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a developer of American National Standards for the residential energy efficiency retrofit community
- Revenues jumped 78 percent in 2010 to approximately $4.7 million after experiencing a 98 percent growth in 2009
- BPI completed the development of a $500,000 IT infrastructure to handle the processing of exams and the servicing of thousands of newly credentialed professionals and accredited contracting companies
- BPI donated the results of a $50,000 project --to convene industry experts and develop a set of Standard Work Specifications-- to a major Department of Energy (DOE) 2010 initiative that included developing federal Workforce Guidelines for Home Energy Upgrades
- Staff expanded from 23 to 37 employees in three locations over the past year: Malta, NY, Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA
BPI Chairman David Hepinstall commented on BPI's growth: "Those of us who have dedicated many years of our lives and large portions of our careers to building a viable building energy retrofit industry are especially gratified to see the growth of professional credentialing in recent years, and how BPI has stepped up to meet this increased demand. The growth of the energy efficient buildings sector will continue to present new challenges to our industry to maintain standards for building performance work and for training and BPI is well prepared and positioned to meet those challenges in the years to come."
Raising the Bar in Quality Assurance
Rapid success can lead to bottle necks in processing and quality assurance --BPI is meeting and exceeding the challenge. The organization maintains a rigorous third-party Quality Assurance Program for its network of Accredited Contractors, is establishing a Quality Assurance Task Force on Affiliate Field Proctoring to maintain strict examination standards, and has substantially reduced processing time for candidate exam results. By the end of September processing time from receiving exams to mailing of certificates was reduced to two weeks and continues to fall.
In July, BPI achieved accreditation from ANSI as a developer of American National Standards --a formidable undertaking and major step in becoming the national source for technical standards in the residential energy efficiency retrofit community. ANSI accreditation provides third-party verification of the openness, balance, consensus and due process BPI offers all stakeholders in establishing standards for residential energy efficiency retrofit work.
"ANSI accreditation helps ensure that consistency is applied throughout the credentialing process and in conformance with requirements throughout the industry," said Larry Zarker, CEO of BPI. "We are pleased to meet these ANSI obligations with our standards initiatives and to contribute to the overarching ANSI governance programs as a member of the standards community."
BPI's Standards Management Board has approved titles and scopes for the development of 10 new standards covering residential retrofit work in 2011. The drafting of each standard will be overseen by the Standards Technical Committee, a group of 13 volunteer industry experts. BPI is developing policies and procedures to come into conformance with ANSI/ISO 17024 requirements for each of its personnel certifications by early 2012. BPI is currently undergoing a public comment period following ANSI procedures to publish its Home Energy Auditing standard as an American National Standard.
BPI Certified Professionals
By the end of 2010 BPI had issued 20,236 certifications nationwide, 10,637 of which were earned in the past year alone. This is 229 percent of the total certifications issued in 2009 and 110 percent of the total certifications issued from 2001 - 2009. Initial projections to reach 8,400 certifications in 2010 had to be revised upward to accommodate demand. Certifications are now represented in all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Australia, South Korea and in three Canadian provinces. Five new states or territories gained certification representation, up 10.4 percent from the previous year.
BPI Accredited Contractors
The number of contracting companies achieving BPI Accredited Contractor status grew from 300 to 663 since December 2009. Thirteen new states gained accreditation representation in the past year (54 percent growth). This elite group of firms has taken the extra step in home performance contracting. They’ve made a commitment to offer their clients solutions based on house-as-a-system building science, backed up by BPI’s third-party quality assurance program and BPI-certified technicians.
BPI is working to provide added value and support to BPI Accredited Contractors in 2011. Each company will receive:
- Guidance on implementing a Quality Management System (QMS) to simplify and improve contractor business processes and reduce risk
- Technical home performance Field Guides developed for BPI by Saturn Resource Management with support from DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory
- Invitations to attend free webinars on business development, marketing and QMS processes
- A detailed Contractor Resource Manual
Affiliate Training Organizations
BPI’s certification success is rooted in the coast-to-coast network of affiliate training organizations that provide the curricula, training and proctored exams that support BPI certifications. The number of BPI affiliates grew from 136 to 242 during 2010, a 78 percent increase. Six new states gained affiliate representation in the past year (15 percent growth), predominantly in the western part of the country. The national network includes private companies, not-for-profit organizations and 48 community colleges.
Proctors administering BPI exams are fast approaching the 1,000 mark. To maintain consistency and strict levels of quality control across disparate markets, BPI is currently building a Quality Assurance Task Force on Affiliate Field Proctoring. New proctoring guidelines and requirements will be developed based on field evaluations. Evaluations will include a candidate survey, randomly observed QA inspections during the proctoring process (5 percent goal), and mystery shopping of affiliate proctor services. BPI will also add a resource to its website to provide direct feedback on current exam experiences.
Coordination with Residential Energy Efficiency Retrofit Incentive Programs
BPI is proud that its credentials or quality assurance protocols are referenced in more than 100 federal, state, local government or utility energy efficiency incentive programs. BPI credentials help protect such programs from undue risk, providing assurance of a highly qualified workforce applying nationally recognized standards and achieving verifiable results in retrofit work.
At the federal level, BPI Accredited Contractors or an equivalent credential was specified for conducting work under the GOLD STAR portion of the proposed HOME STAR program (a.k.a. ‘Cash for Caulkers’) considered by Congress in 2010. BPI certification credentials or an equivalent are also required in proposed 25E tax credit legislation and in the DOE’s Home Energy Score Pilot Program.
Last February BPI provided key support to Vice President Biden’s Recovery Thru Retrofit Program by initiating the development of Standard Work Specifications for sealing the attic plane and other areas, drawing on earlier work by Masco WellHome, Conservation Services Group and Advanced Energy. BPI also worked closely with federal agencies, Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) practitioners and trainers, home performance contractors, building scientists and other stakeholders to help DOE develop its preliminary national guidelines, Workforce Guidelines for Home Energy Upgrades.
In 2010 BPI completed the development of a $500,000 IT infrastructure to handle the processing of exams and the servicing of thousands of new credentialed professionals and accredited contracting companies. These changes have allowed BPI to realize significant efficiency gains across key business processes through the reduction, and in most cases, elimination of manual administrator processing time for the Certification, Accreditation, and Affiliate Development teams.
About the Building Performance Institute
BPI offers the following:
- National standards to ensure top quality, consistent protocols are being followed throughout the home performance and weatherization workforce
- Certification of individuals in building analyst, heating, AC/heat pump, shell/envelope and multi-family designations
- Accreditation of contracting companies committed to delivering quality home performance improvements
- Quality assurance to verify conformance with BPI Standards and provide feedback for continuing improvement
- Affiliation of training organizations that deliver BPI services in their market
For more information on BPI, visit www.bpi.org
Building Performance Institute, Inc.
107 Hermes Road, Suite 110
Malta, NY 12020
Phone: (877) 274-1274
Fax: (866) 777-1274