Home Forums General Discussion National training programme for Energy Practitioners

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    Jo Wills

    I have just come from a meeting attended by (CEN), Beacon Pathway and EMANZ where we discussed the potential for a collaborative sector-led approach to delivering a national training programme for Energy Practitioners in NZ.   The training would be based on a whole of house approach, determined by standards set by CEN and backed up by Beacon Pathways extensive research based knowledge.  EMANZ is an already established training provider within the industry, therefore has the structure to support the training programmes.  Putting the details aside, we believe there is a need and demand for this.  The ultimate goal being; improvement of NZ’s housing stock to see warmer, drier, healthier, more affordable, more resource efficient and effective homes for Kiwis to live in and be well.  And maybe also to bump out the cowboys who go in with a hard sell.  Accredited practitioners will have the edge – their knowledge will be based on best practice and peformance, not product.  Really keen to get some discussion going on this opportunity.


    The sooner the better Jo et al, well done!

    As you and I have discussed in the past, my personal view is that there are three advisor ‘levels’. The Hub could be a useful platform to test assumptions (either online or offline) and get input if / when you get to developing content.




    Roman Jaques

    Any initiative that improves the status quo in terms of whole of house energy/thermal/health issues which is based on best practice and performance has got my vote. There is a huge need for this – and there is a good opportunity now to do something significantly beneficial. There may be some resources that BRANZ can pull together to assist, but I can’t speak for them naturally. 

    Jo Wills

    Thanks Sally and Roman for your input, really appreciate your support and I agree Roman, now really is the right time for this.

    It would be great to hear from others as well…maybe from an energy practitioner in the field?


    Now that digests are working I”m going to throw this conversation open again.

    So, what are people’s thought on Jo’s post about training?

    Scott Willis

    BRCT is currently running energy workshops in Pine Hill, Dunedin. As part of our work, Chris Freear will be offering preliminary training for people wishing to gain auditing skills in May. There is no ability for BRCT to offer accreditation and the desire is to spread knowledge, grow skill and build capacity in the community. What we hope will come from it is:

    7 people having participated in and completed mentored audits as conducted by BRCT

    Greater community capacity in Dunedin to address some of the root causes of fuel poverty

    A number of people who will be ready to undertake accreditation, should the opportunity arise.

    The big challenge will be to devise something that is appropriate both to the skill and need level (i.e. there’s no need to be an engineer to be an auditor but there is a real need for auditors to be able to offer robust advice – and I note the debate about ventilation systems active even here!), while also being accessible to individuals and organisations working in the community sector with extremely limited resources.

    Jo Wills

    Hi Scott
    thanks for your response, sounds like there is some great stuff happening down south! We are moving closer to an outcome re national certification for energy practitioners, and the intention is it will only SUPPORT any existing or planned regional programmes.

    Norman Smith



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    Hi All, We have the good news – there have been initiatives in this training and accreditation space with methodologies trialled which can readily tweaked to provide the platform for a programme in 2013. I can speak most informatively about the one I was contracted by EECA to develop and deliver in partnership with Environment Canterbury, and BRANZ. I have the manuals and associated teaching resources; some content will be modestly out of date but apparently the first law of thermodynamics is still holding up well to scrutiny. Here’s a summary; obviously a high end model but I could see a cut down version without the accreditation aligning with what Chris Freear et al are doing in Dunedin.
    Cheers, Norman
    This will be achieved by a five stage process, as follows;

    1.      A three day training course, during which participants will be introduced to the principles and practice of the WHEC scheme and energy efficiency.
    2.      Continuous assessment and an open book examination; provisional accreditation as an assessor.
    3.      Hands-on experience over five weeks, during which time participants will each carry out five WHEC checks and provide copies of their documentation and star-ratings for evaluation by Norman Smith and Lynda Amitrano
    4.      A follow-up half-day review workshop, late March, where participants with Norman and Lynda and others will review their work practices.
    5.      At the end of this workshop participants will receive full accreditation. “

    Jo Wills

    Apologies for the long time between posts, we have been working hard on this and I can now deliver some great news. Through a collaborative effort between CEN, Beacon Pathway and EMANZ, CEN has received funding to initiate a national certification programme for Home Performance Advisors. The high level outcome for this programme is to:

    Establish a self-sustaining nationally recognised certification for Home Performance Advisors which articulates the competencies required to ensure consistent, whole of house, independent assessments based on best performance ensuring NZ homes become warmer, drier, healthier and more affordable.

    We will have the first course delivered in October, and will be investing in brand development which will identify with CEN’s vision and values. This is being designed to give CEN members a competitive edge with both clients and funders (non-CEN members will be able to go through the certification project as well but not able to identify so closely with the CEN brand). We will also be exploring the potential for industry endorsement for the certification once the programme gains momentum.

    A RFP will be going out mid June to for content development and course structure (content will be developed alongside Beacon Pathway, also forming part of the QA committee), as well as delivery of the training.

    Looking forward to getting this project underway!


    That’s great news Jo, and well done to you and Beacon and EMANZ. It would be good to get an update on this at the Workshop in June too.



    Norman Smith

    Yes, one great giant leap! There are great synergies between an established training programme and ‘breaking’ developments discussed in real time on The Hub which enable Advisors to keep abreast of and contribute to best practise, and support each other. In my experience this will mean the Home Performance Advisors initiative will be breaking new ground.  Well done. Norman

    Scott Willis

    Hi Jo and all,

    Great news. We at BRCT are excited that this initiative will have CEN branding – we know people come to us and trust us because they know we are not selling and are not commercial, and I think CEN’s name and our approach could well be mutually reinforcing.

    We like the intention to ‘support’ existing programmes.

    We are aware of confusion in the Energy Advice area, and think the time is right for CEN to put an authoritative mark on Energy Advice provision and training.

    One of the most interesting things to come of our BRCT’s Energy Audit training is the consensus among the volunteer energy auditors undertaking the training to focus on renewable energy solutions (“We will not recommend fossil fuel options. (Coal, oil or gas heating)”). Chris reported to me that he was surprised at the strength of feeling on this issue and I’m pleased that it looks be a defining feature of this group of auditors – signalling a very comprehensive, integrated approach to Energy Advice.



    This is really great news and a tribute to a lot of hard work done  over several years. Well done!!


    Jo Wills

    I might not have done a very good job at getting it out there but there is an RFP out at the moment for content development (of the training programme) – all welcome to submit a proposal. If there is anyone interested in finding out more about the RPF please contact me directly on 021 2777 042 or jo@communityenergy.org.nz

    Heidi Mardon

    A great initiative, thanks Jo.

    I’ll be interested to discuss further the role of the HUB in this training programme, also the scope of the training regarding other home issues such a s water and waste, which aren’t the priority I know, but maybe can be developed as other modules later……or as part of a tiered training programme as you suggested Sally.

    Looking forward to seeing people at the workshop.



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