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Has anybody had any experience with CMC Energy Services and their Home Energy Consultant certification program? I am thinking of offering energy audits as a way to increase buisiness and I was refered to them by one of my suppliers at my day job. $300 seems steep for web based training and I would like a little feedback before I shell out the coin.

If you haven't heard of them you can check out their website, http://www.hec-training.com/index.html

Thanks,

Tom

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$300 bucks is way cheap. Although I have no experience with CMC, I suspect you'll get what you pay for.

So far, my certs and "startup" costs for conducting proper energy audits are around $6,000 - $8,000 . . . and counting.

Then there's the dozens of hours spent in the training itself and the probationary work required, specifically for the HERS program.

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That training is for a Home Energy Consultant program. It is NOT training for performing energy audits.

In our experience, if consumers are given a choice between an energy consultation and an energy audit, they choose the latter every time - even though it costs more.

Interesting, Bill.

In your area, then, folks are splitting with their hard-earned cash to get an actual audit?

What types of audits are being performed?

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Tom,

I do not know anything about CMC, however, I am RESNET certified. If you really want to get trained for energy audits take a RESNET or BPI course ($1500). The RESNET course gave me a solid energy audit backround and helped my home inspection knowledge. Not doing many audits in my area because electricity is so cheap! I do conduct Energy Star certifications (because I am RESNET certfied) for builders. Five Energy Star certs have paid for my blower door and duct blaster. To illustrate where audits and certs are going - On 6/1/09 all houses 10 years old or older in Austin before they are sold must have an energy audit conducted by a BPI or RESNET trained person using a duct blaster (going fees $200 - $300). Starting on 1/1/2010 all houses constructed in San Antonio must be Energy Star certified. Many mortgage companies are requiring Energy Star certs. Hope this helps.

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Thanks, I'll check out RESNET. I've looked into BPI and think it looks like their cert will make more money for them than for me, any of the improvements made must be done by BPI certified contractors and I don't want to bang nails any more. Add in the costs for yearly recertification and my payback for training and equipment will be longer than the homeowner's for any improvements they make.

CMC's program admittedly looks more like a sales pitch than an audit, however I'm told it is approved for FHA/VA loan programs. I guess I need to do more homework.

Tom

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The problem with energy audits is how to make money doing them.

Yes, one can make money, but I've yet to see anyone do it consistently. No one did in the 70's, and I'm not seeing anyone do it now.

Of course, this all goes to my counter intuitive belief that there isn't going to be a green revolution.

It's way too expensive to save money. That's the problem.

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Tom,

I do not know anything about CMC, however, I am RESNET certified. If you really want to get trained for energy audits take a RESNET or BPI course ($1500). The RESNET course gave me a solid energy audit backround and helped my home inspection knowledge. Not doing many audits in my area because electricity is so cheap! I do conduct Energy Star certifications (because I am RESNET certfied) for builders. Five Energy Star certs have paid for my blower door and duct blaster. To illustrate where audits and certs are going - On 6/1/09 all houses 10 years old or older in Austin before they are sold must have an energy audit conducted by a BPI or RESNET trained person using a duct blaster (going fees $200 - $300). Starting on 1/1/2010 all houses constructed in San Antonio must be Energy Star certified. Many mortgage companies are requiring Energy Star certs. Hope this helps.

I too am investigating taking the BPI training here. I have thermal already and want to use it more extensively. I figured that between training, equipment needed, etc. I am budgeting about $10, 000 to get started. I can see a growing demand for this type of service, and with the market the way it is I want to add to my menu.

Any thoughts out there about future demand and marketing of this service will be appreciated.

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I'm not sure of the R.O.I. either.

The people that can spend the extra cash, for the audit and to upgrade the home, typically have enough cash to spend on the utilities (saving money on the gas bill would be nice but not an emergency).

The folks that really need to scrimp and save and want to save money on the utilities typically don't have the extra cash to upgrade the home.

To borrow a phrase: I could be wrong.

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We don't really want houses to be air tight, do we?

Yes, we do. The difference between right and wrong is the heat recovery ventilation, applied appropriately.

Look over the passive technologies being used effectively in Germany, and then think about tight houses. Those things don't even have heating equipment, and they're somewhere around the 45th parallel, aren't they? Engineered living. You can't get there with itinerant lunatics puking out housing projects. You have to design them and then build them correctly.

Then, tight is good.

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Greetings, all. I've been enjoying the informative discussions on this board and thought I'd throw in my $.02 about CMC and energy audits.

I've taken CMC's "Home Energy Tune-Up" class [http://www.hometuneup.com/] and know, oh, a dozen other Pa. home inspectors who have, too. To my knowledge, none of us is making money doing Tune-Ups, which are targeted at owners of existing homes 10 years or older. The Tune-Ups are a tough sell to homeowners, and I won't even try to sell them with a home inspection -- something CMC pitches to home inspectors as a natural combination. Yeah, sure.

Which is not to say the class is not worthwhile. I had already been adding comments about air leaks and the efficiency of heating & cooling systems and insulation in my reports. I learned a lot more in the class, and more still when I picked up a copy of Krigger and Dorsi's "Residential Energy," a great book that was recommend during the class and which I believe is required reading for the BPI and Resnet training.

As for BPI and Resnet, they've done a great job persuading government organizations that it's not an "energy audit" unless it's done by people with their training and certifications. But I find their approach a bit of overkill -- at least for the market that Tune-Ups address. You don't need blower doors, duct blasters, IR cameras and combustion analyzers to identify a whole bunch of major energy improvements possible in the typical existing home.

Tune-Ups flag all those potential improvements, tell you what they'll cost, how much you will save each year and how long it takes for the payback. All very sensible -- except that homeowners tend to focus on short-term up-front costs and don't wanna hear about savings 5 or 10 years down the line. It also makes me wonder why they would be more willing to cough up extra hundreds of dollars for a full-blown Resnet/BPI audit.

I'm hoping that the Tune-Up approach will catch on, but Resnet and BPI seem to be winning the fight for hearts and minds.

-- John

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