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National Residential Retrofit Guidelines Webinar

Monday, July 26, 2010

Good Day Everyone,

NREL Logo
The following outlines an exciting effort underway to develop a suite of voluntary national guidelines for the work and workforce involved in residential energy efficiency retrofits. This effort is poised to strengthen the Weatherization Assistance Program for years into the future.

You are invited to participate in a live Webinar on the National Residential Retrofit Guidelines taking place Tuesday, July 27th, at 2 PM EDT. It is important that you and your staff attend this Webinar to learn more about making this effort successful for the Weatherization Assistance Program and your network. You can register to attend at: Webinar Registration.


Overview of National Residential Retrofit Guidelines

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has tasked the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) with developing these Retrofit Guidelines through a process that involved Weatherization practitioners and trainers, home performance contractors, and other technical experts throughout the retrofit industry — building on the considerable material already in circulation nationwide and the wealth of knowledge learned through 30 years of performing energy efficiency retrofits in homes.

Once completed, the Retrofit Guidelines will:

  1. Enable state and local Weatherization officials and other retrofit program administrators to strengthen their field guides and other work manuals by incorporating the high-quality Standard Work Specifications contained in the Retrofit Guidelines
  2. Assist training providers in developing course content and curricula consistent with an industry-recognized suite of Job Task Analyses
  3. Increase workforce mobility up career ladders and across career lattices by establishing a clear set of Knowledge, Skills and Abilities upon which credentials should be based
  4. Build confidence amongst consumers and the energy efficiency finance community that retrofit work will be completed in a quality manner and produce the expected energy savings and benefits
  5. Lay the foundation for a more robust worker certification and training program accreditation architecture.

Retrofit Guidelines Components

The Retrofit Guidelines will include four related components:

  1. Job Task Analyses identify and catalog all of the steps a worker takes in completing an energy efficiency improvement in a home. Training providers typically use detailed job task analyses for developing their curricula and course content. The Retrofit Guidelines contain Job Task Analyses for four common Weatherization and home performance job classifications: Energy Auditor, Installer/Technician, Crew Chief, and Quality Assurance Professional/Inspector.
  2. Essential KSAs identify the minimum knowledge, skills, and abilities that workers must demonstrate to perform high quality work in accordance with the Standard Work Specifications.
  3. Referenced technical standards are developed by independent or third party standards development organizations—for example, ASHRAE, ASTM, the Building Performance Institute—and define the safety, materials, installation, and application standards relevant to residential building energy efficiency retrofits.
  4. Standard Work Specifications which define the performance requirements and minimum conditions necessary for high quality work and to achieve the desired outcomes.

Origins of the National Residential Retrofit Guidelines

The effort to develop the National Residential Retrofit Guidelines has its origins and is supported by the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) Training and Technical Assistance Plan (T&TA). The T&TA plan seeks to ensure that Recovery Act investments help lay a permanent foundation for a stronger WAP. This foundation will present enduring opportunities for Weatherization workers who were hired to support the Recovery Act ramp-up, who are currently underemployed or dislocated and looking for new opportunities, and who have relevant skills and are looking for an entry point into this exciting and rapidly expanding industry. To support these objectives, the WAP T&TA Plan calls for a voluntary national framework for worker certification and training program accreditation—a framework contingent on the development of Standard Work Specifications, Job Task Analyses and Skill Standards recognized by both the Weatherization network and home performance industry.

Concurrently, in May 2009, the Vice President's Middle Class Task Force asked the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to develop recommendations for federal action to lay the architecture for a self-sustaining home energy efficiency retrofit industry. In response, the CEQ facilitated a broad interagency process with the Office of the Vice President, 11 departments and agencies, and 6 White House offices. Six recommendations emerged and are described in detail in a report titled Recovery Through Retrofit and published on The White House Web site. The recommendations in this report were carefully crafted to stimulate the growth of a vibrant, private sector-led market for residential energy efficiency retrofits.

The Recovery Through Retrofit Workforce Working Group—which includes DOE, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and other agencies—identified the lack of a skilled and credentialed workforce as a key barrier to scaling up the residential energy efficiency retrofit market. The report thus recommended establishing a uniform set of National Guidelines—including Standard Work Specifications and Essential KSAs—to promote high-quality energy efficiency retrofit work.


Weatherization Involvement

Technical experts and program administrators from the Weatherization network have been central to the development of the National Residential Retrofit Guidelines.

  • During the week of June 7, 2010, WAP technical experts were invited to Golden, Colorado to help draft 270 pages of Standard Work Specifications.
  • From July 7-9, two large groups of WAP technical experts conducted a thorough, program-specific review of the draft Standard Work Specifications.
  • From July 12-16, WAP technical experts, trainers, and state program officials conducted a professionally-facilitated workshop to develop the Job Task Analyses and Essential KSAs for the four relevant job classifications (Energy Auditor, Installer/Technician, Crew Chief, and Quality Assurance Professional/Inspector).
  • In the coming weeks, a technical review team consisting of representatives from Weatherization at the local, state, and federal levels, will carefully review the National Residential Retrofit Guidelines.
  • A Webinar will be held on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) to allow for questions and comments on the National Residential Retrofit Guidelines.
  • The National Residential Retrofit Guidelines will be made available for public comment sometime in the Fall. We will give the Weatherization community notice when this opportunity opens up.
  • A National Residential Workforce Summit will take place in Washington D.C. in the Fall (dates to be determined). This Summit will bring together stakeholders from across the country to discuss an implementation strategy for the National Residential Retrofit Guidelines.

We look forward to engaging your expertise and tapping into your enthusiasm as we finalize the National Residential Retrofit Guidelines and initiate a national conversation about implementation in the Weatherization Assistance Program and larger residential retrofit industry.

Questions will be addressed in the Webinar on July 27th, or can be directed to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory at retrofit-guidelines@nrel.gov.

As always, I want to thank you for your tireless contributions and your commitment to make Weatherization Work.

Bob Adams
Robert C. Adams, Program Lead, Weatherization Assistance Program
U.S. Department of Energy
Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program
Telephone: 202-287-1591
Email: robert.adams@ee.doe.gov




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