Blog reposted with permission from NEEP.In order to address and accelerate whole-home retrofits, scaling, educating, and diversifying the contractor workforce is essential. One major barrier to implementing whole-home deep energy retrofits – as highlighted in ACEEE's Residential Deep Energy Retrofits report – is access to a workforce with the right skills. Many contractors cite inability to effectively market and sell comprehensive efficiency upgrades. They are also concerned with the risk of investing time and resources to learn new skills and purchase new equipment.
In order to remediate these and other concerns, the Total Energy Pathways (TEP) Workforce Development project aims to grow and diversify the field by developing a TEP certification pathway and online resource center. The project will feature two pathways to prepare the workforce:
1) On-Demand Training Tools: Develop and deliver on-demand training and technical assistance initiatives focused on unemployed workers and those seeking a new career by bringing new individuals and contractor businesses – with a focus on women and BIPOC –into the industry.2) Total Energy Pathways Certificate: Build on the successful TEP project by developing a BPI certificate and training an increased number of competitive TEP professionals across the region.
TEP is a comprehensive, bundled approach (weatherization, efficient HVAC, and solar PV) to building energy upgrades. When customers are interested in reducing their energy use or improving comfort and health, they are often faced with multiple sales pitches and myriad of first steps, which complicate an already tough process. TEP addresses this by providing customers with a certified general contractor who guides the customer and coordinates with subcontractors with expertise in their respective technologies (e.g. HVAC, solar PV).
As a result of a successful TEP pilot in Vermont, the project team has begun to take the lessons learned and TEP model to states throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. In order to scale the TEP program and projects, there is a need for a more sustainable, diversified workforce who are qualified to speak to a whole-home retrofit approach. To ensure the market is consistent, the project team aims to break down the silos in the home energy construction workforce by offering a TEP certificate and online resource center where new individuals and contractors can further develop competencies. Continue reading on the eJournal