By defining quality work through standard work specifications (SWS), the Guidelines for Home Energy Professionals project supports the development of a skilled residential energy upgrade workforce.
The SWS for single-family, multifamily, and manufactured housing describe acceptable outcomes for weatherization or home performance upgrades—effective, durable, and safe improvements for that housing type.
The SWS reflect a whole-house approach to installing energy-efficiency measures, which can include ventilation, insulation, and air sealing. By developing industry-approved work specifications and defining quality work, the SWS help establish residential energy upgrades as a national industry, and provide a common benchmark against which consumers, financers, and policymakers can measure performance of home energy-efficiency professionals.
Developing Standard Work Specifications
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) developed the standard work specifications in collaboration with industry subject matter experts, program administrators, health and safety experts, weatherization contractors, and product manufacturers. Federal partners at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also contributed to the soundness of the SWS.
Safe work practices, relevant codes, and EPA Healthy Indoor Environment Protocols for Home Energy Upgrades are included in the SWS, which were also thoroughly vetted in an extensive public and industry review process.
Defining Quality Work
Rather than prescribing specific actions, materials, or techniques, standard work specifications identify outcomes for the energy-efficiency measure, listing the minimum set of requirements necessary to meet those outcomes. This approach allows for process innovation and changes in technology and is designed to encourage the private market to stay engaged in the ever-evolving weatherization industry.
The SWS serve as a universal resource for the home energy upgrade industry, giving home energy contractors and employers, utility and energy efficiency program administrators, home energy workers, training centers, and homeowners and consumers the same baseline for residential energy upgrades.
Explore the online SWS tool, developed by NREL, which provides content that can be leveraged in energy audits, scopes of work, quality control efforts, and training.