Developing The Retrofit Industry


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Brett Knox, GreenHomes America
SoheilNakhshab, GreenwiseSolutions
Ted Torre-Bueno, Empowered Energy Solutions

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Developing The Retrofit Industry

  1. 1. Green Jobs in the Home Performance Industry: The Industry’s Perspective on Workforce Development Presented By: Brett Knox, GreenHomes America Soheil Nakhshab, Greenwise Solutions Ted Torre-Bueno, Empowered Energy Solutions April 16, 2010
  2. 2. Who is Efficiency First?  National non-profit trade association  Almost 1,000 Home Performance Contractors across the US  Representing the Home Performance industry in public policy discussions  State and national levels  Promoting the benefits of efficiency retrofitting  Helping grow the Home Performance industry  Key player in Home Star
  3. 3. Home Issues that Point to Energy Waste Drafty Rooms Moisture in Attic High Energy Bills or Basement Poor Air Quality Condensation on Windows Hot/Cold Rooms Outside Noises heard in the home Excessive Dust Mold & Mildew Old & Inefficient Old & Inefficient Unsafe Carbon Furnace A/C Monoxide Levels
  4. 4. Causes of these Problems
  5. 5. How do we find these Problems? The first step is a Comprehensive Home Energy Audit Blower Door measures Infrared Camera to spot Carbon monoxide and Fiber optics to further the air infiltration rate of thermal defects from gas leak detection analyze hidden defects a home poor insulation and airflow
  6. 6. IR Cameras quickly spot the culprits…
  7. 7. Most Homes Need Many Improvements Core Improvements to reduce electricity & gas loads  Seal air leaks throughout the attic and home  Add insulation to attic and walls  Seal or replace leaky ducts  Install variable-speed Pool and Spa Pumps  Energy efficient lighting solutions, including motion detectors  Replace single-pane Windows (beware – paybacks can be long)
  8. 8. Comprehensive Air Sealing BEFORE AFTER
  9. 9. Super Insulating Walls & Attics BEFORE AFTER AFTER
  10. 10. Properly Sealed Ducts BEFORE AFTER AFTER
  11. 11. After you improve the Core, then you do More…  “Right-sized”, high efficiency air conditioner  “Right-sized”, high efficiency furnace  Solar PV – actually achieve net-zero  On-demand and/or Solar Thermal  Geothermal Plus, the Improvements are Verified Home Home Energy Home 3rd Party Energy Audit Improvements Energy Audit Verification (Test-in) (Test-out) (5% - 15%)
  12. 12. A New Revolution for Home Improvements Typical Energy Makeover Replacement Furnace (same size or larger) Replacement A/C unit (same size or larger) Right-sized, Ultra Efficiency Furnace Right-sized, High Efficiency A/C unit Rooms aren’t Hot in Summer, Cold in Winter A Quieter Home with Less Dust Guaranteed Lower Utility Bills Better Indoor Air Quality Lower Carbon Footprint Higher Home Resale Value
  13. 13. Driving Demand for Home Performance  PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing —California First/ AB 811  California Whole-House Retrofit Program  Sponsored by SDG&E, PG&E, SCE, So Cal Gas, & SMUD  Home Star —Legislation currently being considered by Congress —$6 Billion in incentives to homeowners for retrofits —Expected to create 168,000 jobs
  14. 14. The Current Home Performance Industry: Company Sizes  Majority are Small Companies —Founder + a few employees & subs  Some Mid-sized Companies (10-75 employees) —More of a corporate structure  Only a few Larger (75+ employees) —Construction —HVAC —Insulation
  15. 15. The Current Home Performance Industry: Company Types  Home Performance Only —Single contractor  Construction/Remodelers + Home Performance —Established companies adding Home Performance as an additional division or service  Single Trade contractors that subcontract —HVAC —Windows —Plumbers
  16. 16. Who does Home Performance Jobs? Insulation Installers Building Analysts Retrofit Technicians Quality Assurance Testers Graphics courtesy of Rising Sun Energy Center & Greener Dawn
  17. 17. Promotional Jobs  Analysts/Auditors/Estimators  Business Development  Marketing & Customer Education  Inside & Outside sales staff
  18. 18. Home Performance Job Requirements  Good interpersonal skills  Previous sales experience a plus  Home components & construction knowledge  “Green” or sustainable life philosophy
  19. 19. Building Performance Field Jobs  Entry Level: Field Technician — Minimum Training Required — Crawl space & attic work — Mostly Draft Sealing, Duct Sealing & Insulation Technicians  Intermediate/ Advanced Level: Crew Lead — Additional Training Required — Experienced Field Technicians — Crew lead or construction manager (2-3 person crews)  Skilled labor — Carpentry, Electrical, Plumbing, HVAC, Window Replacement
  20. 20. Home Performance Field Job Requirements  Drug Fee  Able to work on knees for  No criminal background (or at long periods of time least no theft or violence)  Good attention to detail  Reliable Transportation,  Able to accurately and legibly Drivers License, Clean Driving Record write and interpret reports  Physically fit: able to lift 75  Good customer service, pounds, fits through minimum interpersonal and crawl space dimensions communication skills (oral and  Not claustrophobic – able to written) maneuver in tight, dark spaces  Problem-solving and critical  Willing to get dirty, doesn’t thinking skills mind heat  Not afraid of heights: Able to  Construction or trade climb ladders easily and background a plus confidently  “Green” or sustainable life philosophy
  21. 21. Good Candidates for Home Performance Field Jobs  Construction workers  Drywall or flooring  Remodelers  HVAC technicians  Athletes  Veterans  Day laborers
  22. 22. Home Performance Office Jobs  Managerial/ Administrative (i.e., HR, IT, etc.)  Data Entry, Report Writing & Proposal Development  Customer Service  Rebate Processing  Financial Advising  Purchasing/ Inventory Management  Engineers  Project Managers  Construction Managers  Trainers
  23. 23. Good Candidates for Home Performance Office Jobs  Previous experience with: —Construction-related industries —Office administration —Accounting: Quickbooks —Engineers: Wrightsoft Suite —Customer Service reps —Warehouse Management
  24. 24. Accreditation & Quality Control Jobs  Field certification/training (i.e., BPI, HERS, Build It Green, RESNet, CBPCA, etc.)  Third party verifiers & quality assurance inspectors (tied to incentive program requirements )  Third party verifiers & quality assurance inspectors (tied to certifications)  Written/field exam proctors
  25. 25. Home Performance Pay Scales • Field Technicians (entry-level): $10 -$20/hr • Crew Leads: $14 -20/ hr • Building Analysts or Estimators: $15-22/hr • Mechanical systems & skilled: $25/hr & up • Sales jobs: generally flat fee plus commission
  26. 26. Standards & Certifications • Most common: BPI (5 types), HERS & HERS II • Will be required by many programs to qualify for financing or incentives • Companies will need at least one certified contractor to perform or oversee each job • Not yet generally required on hiring by employers, but good investment in future • Independent 3rd party QC likely to rise – creates business opportunities for experienced contractors
  27. 27. Industry Concerns • Today: How can we hire people if we don’t first increase customer demand? • As demand grows: How quickly will we be able to scale and find qualified workforce? • When economy rebounds: Will we be able to keep good employees in this industry when other construction jobs provide more pleasant working environments?
  28. 28. Recommendations for Workforce and Training Organizations
  29. 29. Drive Demand First  We’ve “put the cart before the horse”  Most companies are more concerned about customer demand than worker supply  Few are having trouble finding qualified people right now
  30. 30. Pre-Screen Candidates  Candidates must meet minimum training and occupational requirements —Clean driving record (no DUI’s, moving violations, etc.) —US Employability (SSN, Green Card, etc.) —Minimum reading/writing/math ability —English fluency —Interest in Home Performance —Physical requirements
  31. 31. Conduct Training in the Field  Classroom learning is not sufficient  No house or project is the same – no substitute for experience  Most successful programs include fast-transition field work, internships, apprenticeships, or other “on-the- job” (OJT) training  Subsidies for taking on apprentices/ trainees are optimal
  32. 32. Emphasize Soft Skills  The home performance industry operates in people’s most intimate spaces: their homes.  It is essential that the workforce have good interpersonal skills, dress appropriately, be articulate, and respect people’s space at all times  Keenly aware of safety and comfort and willing to take responsibility for decisions
  33. 33. Teach Additional Relevant Skills  Familiarity, experience and expertise with energy efficiency modeling software  Specifics of local home performance incentive programs  Rebate processing & paperwork  Reading drawings  Following installation manuals  Understanding safety procedures
  34. 34. Follow Industry Standards  Teach to BPI, Home Performance w/ Energy Star, or other industry-accepted standards  Training is good, but following professional certification program standards offers consistency & quality assurance  BPI’s new “Field Technician” certification will be helpful for training consistency for entry level positions  Prepare workers for written and field tests
  35. 35. Develop Employer Relationships  Advisory council, etc. to advise on changing standards, what’s working/what’s not, etc.  Understand range of company sizes and how to work with each  Work with industry associations to reach multiple employers
  36. 36. Offer Benefits to Employers  Give employers marketing & name recognition  Use trainees to do customer outreach & homeowner education to build client base  Assist employers with business growth issues  Screen candidates effectively and quickly  Cover training costs on the job  Provide financial incentives for mentoring interns or apprentices  Have snacks at meetings!
  37. 37. Track Participants After Training  Trainers should develop a systems of communications with trainees  Follow up with program participants to:  Know who has found work  Who is still looking for work  Those companies looking for additional staff  Starting wages, benefits, etc.  Identify effective mentors at companies, subsidize companies at higher rates if training effectively
  38. 38. Scenario 1: Training Within Industry Fast ramp up for entry level workers  Screen for physical & mental aptitude  Basic short course – safety, equipment, entry level work procedures  Subsidize employers for hands-on component  Track & follow up  Test frequently and certify ascending levels of experience & expertise
  39. 39. Scenario 2: Adapt existing training & education programs to teach home performance framework and job-specific skills  Lab training, models training, and theory (more time in classroom than scenario 1)  And Targeted Training for Specific Job Function —Building Analyst or Auditor (BPI or HERS) —Sales, Marketing & Homeowner Outreach —Project/ Construction Business Management —Field Supervisor —Financial management (Rebate Processing, Loans) —CAD design or engineering (ACCA Manual J,D,S,T, hydronics and piping layout) —Inventory & Materials Management
  40. 40. Home Performance Training: Best Practices  ISLES in New Jersey subsidizes 50% of trainee’s wages for 6 months  Rising Sun Energy Center —“Green Energy Training Services” (GETS) —Building Performance Grade 1 —Designed for individuals with barriers to employment, displaced/transitioning construction workers, etc. —Curriculum available for licensing
  41. 41. Conclusions  Once demand grows, how quickly the industry can grow depends on how much training is done in classrooms vs. OJT  Important to lay the groundwork now and get the infrastructure right  Target the support of Home Performance companies when designing training  Use established standards and partnerships between training providers & employers to support quick industry scaling
  42. 42. Home Performance Industry Survey Efficiency First is working on a national study to define the workforce needs of the home performance industry. Please complete the Efficiency First Workforce Survey at: The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes and should be completed by April 26, 2010.
  43. 43. Green Jobs in the Home Performance Industry: The Industry’s Perspective on Workforce Development Prepared By: Elizabeth Redman, Efficiency First