Who do you call when the very foundation of your home starts
to break down around you? What do you do when your furnace is out-of-date and energy consumption is through the roof? Without any
personal experience or a desire to climb around in the darkest, dirtiest
corners of your home, you'll have to interview some contractors to get the job
done. You'll have to ask the right questions to find the right contractor for the job.
The components of your home work together, actively
affecting the quality of your home. For instance, air sealing your walls and
ceilings helps to retain hot or cold air to save money on heating and cooling.
However, if you seal too tightly without proper ventilation, the air quality in
your home may become worse. This may cause safety issues when it comes to oil
and gas appliances. A qualified contractor will understand how the systems in
your home can work together, and it shows in quality of work and future
Finding a good home contractor
can be intimidating: check out our Tips & Tricks and prepare a list of
questions to ask your potential contractors, or continue reading to learn how
the Building Performance Institute makes it easier to select qualified
Building Performance Institute (BPI)
BPI Accredited Contracting
Companies have made a full commitment to home performance and energy efficiency
retrofits and must meet stringent requirements. They are held to BPI’s nationwide third-party Quality Assurance
Program. BPI is accredited by the American
National Standards Institute (ANSI) and is the nation’s premier credentialing
body in the energy efficiency retrofit industry. BPI Accredited Contractor
- Employ at least one BPI
certified Building Analyst and one certified specialist (in building
envelope, heating or air conditioners and heat pump designations).
- Allow BPI to maintain proof of registration, licensing,
bonding and insurance.
- Follow BPI guidelines on training, equipment, workplace
practices and dispute resolution.
- Participate fully in BPI’s Quality Assurance Program.
BPI Accreditation is often
required for contractors participating in government and utility energy efficiency incentive programs. As a result, BPI certified Contractors are concentrated in specific
geographic areas of the country. However, the number of Accredited Contractors
is growing in other regions every day. Whenever possible, we encourage you to
find and work with companies that are BPI Accredited or at least employ BPI
BPI Certified Professional
BPI-certified Professionals are
individuals who have proven their knowledge and skills through written and
hands-on exams in their area of expertise. BPI Certification is one of the most
valued indicators in the home energy efficiency
industry. There are several types of BPI Certifications for different types of
employees and contractors.
- Building Performance Analyst: Energy auditors
and contractors with this certification are trained for deep energy retrofit work. They examine overall home performance
and safety risks such as mold and carbon monoxide.
- Envelope Professional: These specialized
contractors improve your home’s “envelope” (the roof, walls, and floors that
separate the outside from the inside). These measures include insulation and air
- Heating Professional: These contractors
specialize in furnace installation. They understand a home’s heating system,
including ducts, insulation and air sealing and are trained to maximize
energy efficiency and catch any safety hazards.
- A/C or Heat Pump Professional: These
contractors specialize in air conditioner and heat pump installation. They’re
trained to think about your overall house and how those systems fit into it
rather than just replacing your old equipment.
When you’re working with a
company that has BPI Certified Professionals, make sure that at least one of
those employees is working on your project at all times; it’s not enough to
simply have one on staff.