Monday, October 12, 2009

Classes help prepare professionals for BPI certification test

By David Staudacher, Rio Salado PR Manager, 480.517.8472

Arizona has received about $28.5 million of the $57 million in stimulus money, which is earmarked for weatherization projects across the state. The funds are part of an effort through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help low-income residents improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

This funding is doing more than helping Arizona’s low-income residents. It is creating job opportunities in the home performance workforce throughout the state, too. To help job seekers begin a career in the home performance workforce, Tempe-based Rio Salado College recently started offering the Building Performance Analyst Certificate through a joint partnership with the Southwest Building Science Training Center.

“We continue to experience a dramatic growth in the weatherization and home performance industry that will require a large number of highly trained individuals to deliver this service in Arizona,” said Gavin Hastings, Energy Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator for Foundation for Senior Living (FSL) Home Improvements. “The partnership allows individuals wanting to become energy auditors the opportunity to learn online from a local resource.”

The certificate consists of two non-credit online test-prep courses, which are designed to prepare candidates for their in-person field training classes and exams for Building Performance Institute (BPI) certification at the Southwest Building Science Training Center in Phoenix. BPI certification is a common requirement for contractors doing weatherization work, and the Southwest Building Science Training Center is the only affiliate in Arizona where workers can get BPI certification.

The class content will help students will gain an understanding of a broad range of trades and occupations, such as HVAC technician, envelope workers such as air sealing, insulation, and vapor barrier workers, siding and window specialists, and a number of other workforce groups. The students will gain an understanding of how each subsystem interacts with and affects the others to achieve building performance.

The Principles of Building Science course explains the science that an individual in the building, remodeling, or trade industry needs to know if they are working to make buildings perform more efficiently. The course helps prepare individuals for BPI, NATE, NARI, RESNET, and other industry credentials for green buildings.

The Comprehensive Building Assessment is an intermediate course geared toward conducting visual building inspections, performing diagnostic testing, and determining residential building improvement opportunities in the field; then documenting the performance of the home, prioritizing improvements, and preparing a work scope that will guide the homeowners decision making process for making the improvements.

“This model is great for individuals with little or no contracting experience as they gain a more comprehensive education in construction principles, building component, and principles of building science,” said Hastings.

For more information about Rio Salado College’s Building Performance Analyst Certificate, please visit