What is Weatherization?
Weatherization of a home, commercial, or other building is the process of improving the energy efficiency and health and safety of the structure through targeted retrofit measures. A trained energy auditor performs a comprehensive, computerized evaluation of the building and recommends various improvements based on testing and visual inspection. These improvements may include air sealing and insulating, duct sealing, heating and cooling system improvements, installation of energy efficient appliances and lighting, and various health and safety measures.
WHAT'S DRIVING JOB CREATION?
With rising energy costs and a higher awareness of indoor safety standards, more consumers are considering weatherizing their properties. Additionally, there is a significant incentive for policy makers to try and stimulate improved efficiency in this sector, as residential buildings account for nearly 22 percent1 of all US energy consumption.
WHERE CAN I FIND CLASSES OR TRAINING?
Weatherization Training Centers are specialized training organizations that focus on teaching whole-house building science to an on-the-ground workforce that can immediately put training into practice. Weatherization Training Centers are located around the country. Many centers travel to deliver training to areas without a local center.
The expert trainers of the Weatherization Training Centers are equipped with the WAP's 36 years of experience in implementing whole-house retrofits in hundreds of thousands of homes across all climate zones and housing types. This national pool of resources and experience allows Weatherization Training Centers to always be on the cutting edge of what works in real homes.
WHAT WE TEACH
The curriculum taught in the Weatherization Training Centers is rooted in the knowledge, skills and abilities outlined in the national WAP Job Task Analyses for Energy Efficiency Workers. This common baseline for training means that there is a consistency in the fundamental concepts being taught around the country while allowing for regional variation to address differences in climate zones and housing stock. Weatherization training centers are also uniquely specialized to meet the needs of their locale and individual skill set. For example, the Association for Energy Affordability in New York City specializes in the weatherization of multi-family buildings, while Montana State University has particular expertise in lead-safe practices and is a national leader in training on that topic.
HEALTH AND SAFETY TRAINING
By addressing the house as a system, WAP has led the industry in developing protocols and assessment techniques to address energy-related health and safety issues. The outcome of these efforts is healthier living environments for the families we serve.
Health and safety training offered by Weatherization Training Centers includes such offerings as:
- Combustion safety testing and zone pressure diagnostics
- Health and safety assessments including moisture and asbestos
- OSHA certifications covering worker safety and use of personal protective equipment
- ASHRAE 62.2 – Ventilation and Acceptable IAQ in low-rise residential buildings
- Lead safe work practices (LSW) with EPA lead renovator certifications
The facilities of the Weatherization Training Centers are second to none in providing hands-on, experiential learning. Weatherization trainers have innovated dozens of advanced training techniques, props, and technologies to ensure that students have the best possible understanding of both the science and the technique of effective weatherization work. Many training centers have advanced props such as pressure houses, heating labs, full-sized manufactured homes, and fully integrated smart boards. Most of these technologies have been developed or adapted for use in building science curricula by the weatherization trainers.
The Weatherization Assistance Program is leading the nation in establishing energy efficiency training as a formal and high-quality educational field. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council has developed an accreditation program for energy efficiency training programs that is based on the Job Task Analyses for Home Energy Professionals developed in collaboration with the WAP and weatherization industry. The Weatherization Training Centers are blazing the trail in meeting this high bar for quality and many are accredited.
Please visit: www.irecusa.org for more information and to find and accredited program.
TRAINING BEYOND WEATHERIZATION
The value of Weatherization Training Centers reaches well beyond the Weatherization Assistance Program. The benefit of training that is rooted in a whole-house, practical application method of building science cannot be overstated. This, coupled with the continuous exchange of information between a variety of stakeholders and the Department of Energy, means that all energy efficiency programs can benefit from the skilled trainers and advanced facilities of the weatherization training centers.
CONTACT A WEATHERIZATION TRAINING CENTER
Weatherization Training Centers are located around the country. Many centers travel to deliver training to areas without a local center.
To learn more about Weatherization Training Centers in your area, please visit the list of state and regional centers.
NATIONAL WEATHERIZATION TRAINING PLATFORM: OPEN SOURCE, ONLINE, 3-D
The National Weatherization Training Platform (NWTP) is an open-source, online training resource that enhances and supplements traditional classroom, lab, and in-field weatherization training.
As the home energy upgrade market expands, these advanced training tools will assist workers in developing the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to build the industry. Housing these tools in an online environment allows up-to-date building science and educational resources to be readily available to the national training network. The NWTP is a valuable supplement to the hands on classroom and in-field training provided by skilled trainers.
NATIONAL WEATHERIZATION CURRICULA: COMPREHENSIVE, INDUSTRY-TESTED TRAINING
As a trainer, envision having access to a complete set of technical training materials covering every aspect of the home energy retrofit industry. And what if those materials were free? Imagine knowing that your training program was built on the institutional knowledge and best practices of a national network with over 36 years of experience delivering cost-effective home performance retrofits.
In order to equip the WAP network of trainers and training centers with comprehensive technical training resources and set the bar for new training resource development, DOE developed the WAP Standardized Training Curricula on the Weatherization Assistance Program's Technical Assistance Center website.
The Weatherization Installer/Technician Fundamentals module lays the groundwork for new/existing weatherization installers interested in understanding and expanding upon their knowledge of weatherization.
Installer - Mobile Homes
The Weatherization Installer – Mobile Homes module covers the technical aspects of weatherizing a mobile home in practical, easy-to-follow steps.
Installer - Multifamily
The Installer – Multifamily module will build on the groundwork laid in Installer Fundamentals. Specific differences in multifamily buildings are covered, including construction basics, ventilation, and typical energy retrofit measures.
The Crew Leader module prepares trainees for the added responsibilities of leading a crew. Topics covered include: effective crew management, materials and tools tracking and maintenance, building and safety codes, and maintaining quality control.
Energy Auditor – Single Family
At 31 chapters, the Energy Auditor - Single Family is the largest curricula module and includes 9 "Prerequisite" chapters to educate trainees on topics like intermediate math, building science basics, energy movement, and regulations, codes and standards before delving into the more job-specific core chapters.
Energy Auditor – Multifamily
The Energy Auditor - Multifamily module builds on the knowledge gained in Energy Auditor – Single Family. Specific differences in the approach to auditing multifamily buildings are highlighted.
WORKFORCE AND ECONOMIC NEED
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is the largest whole-house energy retrofit program in the country. See more at: http://www.homeenergy.org/show/article/magazine/129/id/1847#sthash.ZWdxAO1O.dpuf
Worldwide energy demand is expected to increase through 2035. With baby boomers comprising almost one-third of the U.S. workforce and approaching retirement, community colleges are proving to be the best vehicle for delivering the technician-level, skills-based education needed in a STEM technical workforce.2 Moreover, energy efficiency work in buildings and related activities are expected to grow from 114,000 jobs in 2008 to 220-380,000 in 2020.3
1Annual Energy Review 2011, 2012, (2012). Energy Information Administration. http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/annual/pdf/aer.pdf
2Committee on Emerging Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries. Emerging Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries Report in Brief, (2013). National Academy of Sciences. http://dels.nas.edu/resources/static-assets/materials-based-on-reports/reports-in-brief/energy-mining-workforce.pdf
3Energy Efficiency Services Sector: Workforce Education and Training Needs, (2010). Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. http://aceee.org/files/proceedings/2010/data/papers/2240.pdf