MALTA, N.Y. - The Building Performance Institute Inc. (BPI), a nationally recognized standards development and contractor credentialing organization for residential energy efficiency retrofit work, is reporting rapid growth in 2009. Administered across the country via a network of training affiliate organizations, BPI’s network has grown by more than 35 percent in 2009, from 70 to 95. Another 21 organizations are ready to sign affiliate agreements, and an additional 87 organizations are in the process of becoming training affiliates. If all are successfully integrated into the network, BPI expects to have 203 affiliates by the end of this year, an increase of almost 300 percent during the 12 months.

According to the organization, external events are helping to drive BPI’s current rate of expansion. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), signed into law in February of this year, allocated $8 billion for weatherization and residential energy efficiency retrofits. This funding windfall has created a need to bring on more qualified, expert contractors to perform house-as-a-system assessments, diagnostics, and improvements across the country.

Meanwhile, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), also known as the Waxman-Markey bill, proposes incentives for reducing energy consumption, limits on U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and a trading system for GHG emission permits. Section 202: Building Retrofit Program of ACES establishes a Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program.

“Between the funding allocated to weatherization and energy efficiency improvements under ARRA, and the impending efficiency mandates proposed in ACES, home performance contractors are in greater demand than ever before,” said David Hepinstall, chairman of the BPI board of directors. “BPI is working hard to help fill the workforce gap and bring improved comfort, health, safety, durability and energy efficiency to America’s existing housing stock.”

BPI and its growing national network of training affiliate organizations offer turnkey training, professional certification for individuals, company accreditation and quality assurance protocols for the home performance contracting industry. As an independent, not-for-profit organization, BPI’s programs are key components of several state-level weatherization assistance programs, as well as the national Home Performance with Energy Star® program.

The number of individuals who have achieved professional certification credentials from BPI has also grown from 2,737 to 4,666 - a 70 percent increase between Dec. 31, 2008 and Aug. 1, 2009. The number of accredited contracting companies expanded from 220 to 304 - an increase of almost 40 percent so far this year.

“Training and certification are key steps in building a strong, highly-skilled and professionalized home performance workforce,” said Hepinstall. “The increasing interest in providing training to prepare individuals for BPI certification is most encouraging, and perhaps the best part is that a lot of that interest is coming from regions that did not have this kind of program running before.”

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Publication date:10/05/2009