Letters From Our Readers: Oct. 22, 2012

Setting the Record Straight on BPI

In Herb Woerpel’s Oct. 1 article, “Industry Questions DOE’s Standard Work Specifications,” The ACHR NEWS caused damage to a young but vibrant home performance industry and the HVAC contractors trying to succeed there. The NEWS had an opportunity to investigate and explain the differences that exist between ACCA [Air Conditioning Contractors of America] and BPI [Building Performance Institute] on what standards and credentials are needed to do home energy upgrade work right. The NEWS squandered that opportunity. The NEWS made no real effort to understand the whole-house home performance industry and how BPI, ACCA, and others could be complementing each other rather than just circling the wagons.

Real journalism investigates an issue. The NEWS should be checking the facts surrounding sources’ statements, rather than accepting one source’s assertions as truth. Instead, The NEWS printed mistakes about BPI that damaged its reputation, and speculative quotes from sources not supported by evidence.

The NEWS’ print edition states:

• “This is a national program. Currently 22 states have no one with BPI’s own contractor certifications. Of the 613 accredited contractors, 233 reside in New York, and 183 are in New Jersey.”

This statement is wrong. BPI-certified professionals are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, five foreign countries, and several U.S. territories. The assertion is a quote of ACCA’s technical services manager Donald Prather. Had The NEWS quickly checked the BPI website’s certified professional locator tool, it would have found that BPI has certified professionals throughout the United States.

BPI certifies individuals (there are currently 37,237 active BPI certifications in the marketplace) and accredits contracting companies. These are an elite corps of contracting companies that have made a commitment to whole-house home performance contracting, including participating in BPI’s third-party quality assurance program. There are currently 613 companies accredited by BPI.

By confusing accredited companies for certified professionals, The NEWS has grossly misrepresented BPI’s reach in the marketplace and caused damage to BPI’s reputation.

• “Through their job task analysis, the DOE [Department of Energy] insisted the certifying body hold ANSI 17024 certification.”

This assertion is also wrong. DOE did not require that the certifying body hold ANSI 17024 certification. DOE’S National Renewable Energy Laboratory made achieving ANSI accreditation a requirement of the RFP [request for proposal], not a prerequisite. BPI met this requirement, receiving ANSI accreditation on Aug. 30, 2012.

To mend fences for the good of the broader industry, BPI would be happy to work with ACCA and The NEWS to contribute an article on how ACCA and BPI’s efforts can complement one another.

Larry Zarker
Chief Executive Officer
Building Performance Institute

Publication date: 10/22/2012

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