What is the difference between a RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network) Home Energy Rating System Rater (HERS) and a BPI (Building Professional Institute) Building Analyst?

In the home energy, home improvement and real estate business there a two major professional designations that qualify a contractor to perform home energy audits. In fact, almost all of city, state and utility incentive programs require a contractor to have one of these professional certifications for the homeowner to qualify for incentives related to home energy conservation.

So what are the differences between the two and which one is right for you? First we’ll start with the similarities of both programs:

BPI and RESNET both teach contractors nearly the exact same principles of building science, energy loss and heat flow in a home. Both programs review standard practices for energy auditors and home performance contractors. Both test candidates on the blower door – a pressurization testing tool. Lastly, both designations require contractors to have annual reviews of real-world audits to make sure they are performing their assessments accurately and completely.

As for the differences between the two programs:

RESNET (HERS) Rater requires 40 hours of specialized training and includes air duct testing with energy modeling. BPI does not have a length of training requirement and includes combustion safety testing. RESNET does not have Combustion Safety Testing and BPI Building Analyst does not have duct testing. Additionally, BPI has multiple levels and specialties of certification, whereas, RESNET has the HERS rater and Energy Smart Contractor certifications.

Both certifications require field testing and annual inspections of real-world jobs.

So what is the difference between the two?

RESNET is primarily geared to newer homes and providing a HERS (Home Energy Rating) Index Score. This score can provide with a general idea of how efficient a home is. The lower the score the better or more efficient the home is. HERS Index scores are very popular in the real estate industry, where a seller can provide the buyer with a certified HERS Index score to make their home more attractive than homes that don’t provide any information about how energy efficient the home is.

It is important to note that many government incentives for energy efficiency do require a RESNET HERS audit to provide evidence that a home’s energy efficiency has been improved and is eligible for tax breaks or incentives.

BPI primarily focuses on older and existing homes. BPI certified Building Analysts have nearly the same training as the RESNET certification, however, the BPI pays more attention to the safety and combustion issues that can be present in older homes. Also, some government incentives are geared towards the BPI certification as it tends to be focused on retrofitting and fixing the issues of older homes.
We hope we cleared up any confusion on the part of the reader as to which certification does what. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us: info@sunclightcontractors.com.


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