Expand Your Home Inspection Services as an Energy Auditor
November 15, 2011
More and more home inspectors wanting to branch out and expand their businesses or shift into a new area within the broader field of the home inspection profession are turning to energy audits. These are basically inspections that are intended to evaluate the energy efficiency of a home with the goal of assisting the homeowner in reducing energy costs while also shrinking the carbon footprint of the building.
The Growing Demand for Energy Inspections
As the construction industry and the general buying public have become more acutely aware of the need to harness energy, government agencies have also applied more stringent energy saving standards through building codes. That has created a whole new field of inspections related to energy – and has opened up an entirely new career opportunity for those who are trained and certified to perform expert energy audits.
Of course those who are already in the home inspection profession are in an ideal position to take advantage of this growing trend because they already the fundamental knowledge, experience, and training that goes hand in hand with the work of an energy auditor. Many inspectors are enhancing their income producing opportunities by simply taking the necessary continuing education classes and other training to get licensed or certified in the energy audit area. Then they can add energy audits to their portfolio of services or become energy audit specialists who switch gears to start working full time doing these energy related inspections and evaluations. That’s a smart path to take at a time when the demand for energy conservation is at an all-time high.
Emerging Technology for Energy Auditors
One of the most exciting aspects of the energy audit field is that it is now supported by cutting edge technological tools, and new resources are coming to market all the time. A decade or two ago inspectors would not have access to such things as thermal imaging cameras, for example, because the technology was not available or it was prohibitively expensive. But today there are affordable tools that not only perform energy audits but can also be synched into reporting software to help generate the actual energy analysis and then compile it into report format. There are also affordable training courses to get inspectors fully certified in infrared thermography and similar energy audit skills.
Financial Incentives Pushing Demand for Auditors
Meanwhile, within both the residential and commercial sides of the construction industry there are growing incentives to comply with energy conservation mandates and to make energy improvements and architectural or system enhancements. That translates into greater demand for energy audit professionals who can help builders and owners avoid fines and penalties or provide documentation to confirm that they qualify for lucrative grants, rebates, and tax credits related to better energy performance.
In 2009, for example, the California Building Standards Commission updated its regulations to take full advantage of cutting edge “green” construction technologies. Using the newest and most sensible national and international codes as a model, the commission refreshed its guidelines to reassert California’s leadership of the nation’s construction industry in terms of energy savings. Historically California has led the way in this kind of innovation by setting a legal precedent that is soon followed by the rest of the nation. So this is just one example of how the trend toward energy efficiency is becoming mainstreamed – and why licensed and certified professionals are needed to help with inspections related to these developments.
You can begin to learn about energy auditing and develop your skills while also running your regular inspection business, so that over time you gradually find yourself with an entirely new skill set that can be effectively marketed to augment your income. If you are primarily in the general home inspection business, for example, and are feeling frustrated because of the lack of residential real estate transaction these days then a move toward energy audit inspections may be a timely solution.
When legal changes happen and they are accompanied by a migration of money to provide incentives, resources, and state of the art technology it is a sign that the trend is not just temporary but will be with us for a long time to come. That means that the recent demand for energy auditors is the tip of the iceberg, and that this profession is a sustainable one that will continue to provide solid jobs and revenue opportunities for qualified inspectors.
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