Contractor Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®?
2. Why participate in the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Program?
3. What is a Home Performance Energy Audit?
4. How do I sign up?
5. How will I get quality leads?
6. What are typical cost-effective improvements that a contractor might make to a home?
7. What are the training requirements for the program?
8. What is the cost for training?
9. Why is health and safety testing important when conducting home energy improvements?

1. What is Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®?

In response to the growing consumer demand for energy-efficient homes, BGE’s Program uses a whole-house approach to make any size or style of home more energy efficient, lowering energy usage by up to 20%. Each participating contractor is certified through the Building Performance Institute (BPI), a national resource for building science technology that sets standards for assessing and improving home energy efficiency. BPI-Certified contractors who participate in the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program use advanced diagnostic equipment to test the home and identify energy efficiency improvements.

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2. Why participate in the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program?

Participating expands your service offerings to customers. It’s a great way to build and expand your business as the market for energy efficiency services continues to grow! You can develop new opportunities for your business by using building science technology to solve problems and provide your customers with a more comfortable, safe, and durable home—while reducing their energy consumption. Learn more about the many benefits of participating.

As a certified contractor, you’ll be added to BGE’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Participating Contractor List. Program advertising will generate leads for Home Energy Audits by referring customers to the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program® web site, or to call BGE for the list of participating contractors.

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3. What is a Home Performance Energy Audit?

The Home Performance Energy Audit is the first step in improving a home’s energy efficiency and reducing energy bills. During the assessment, the BPI certified contractor tests and evaluates the home using advanced diagnostic equipment and building science principles to determine which areas of the home can benefit from energy efficiency and health and safety-related improvements. Features to be tested include but are not limited to heating and cooling equipment, insulation levels, air infiltration, appliances, and lighting. Included in the Home Performance Energy Audit fee are a number of direct install measures, such as compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, water heater tank wrap, and efficient-flow showerheads. If the home is more than 3,000 square feet or has more than one combustion appliance zone, additional fees may apply at the contractor’s discretion.

Specifically, the contractor tests for air leakage using a blower door, duct leakage testing, conducts a series of combustion-related tests, and will look for opportunities to improve the home’s insulation, heating and cooling system, windows, appliances, and lighting. The contractor will then explain to the homeowner what improvements can be made, as well as the cost of improvements. The Home Performance Energy Audit and the comprehensive presentation of recommendations to the homeowner is a comprehensive process that separates the Home Performance contractor from other home improvement contractors—and drives sales!

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4. How do I sign up?

Fill out and submit the Participation Agreement. If you have specific questions, please fill out a Participation Interest Form and you will be contacted by a Program Account Manager.

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5. How will I get quality leads?

Potential customers who visit the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program web site can find contact information for certified contractors near their homes. In addition, BGE promotes the program through advertising and outreach.

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6. What are typical cost-effective improvements that a contractor will make to a home?

Although it depends on the home, improvements often include sealing gaps, cracks, and other leaks that let outside air into the home; adding insulation, sealing, repairing and insulating air ducts that run through attics or crawlspaces; and repairing or replacing old or poorly functioning heating and cooling systems and appliances. Installing ENERGY STAR certified lighting in the home is also a highly cost-effective and often recommended improvement.

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7. What are the training requirements for the Program?

A contractor must have a full-time employee who is certified by the Building Performance Institute (BPI) as a Building Analyst. The Building Analyst training consists of in-class lectures and discussions as well as on-site testing experience. Upon completion, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand the fundamentals of building science and the whole-house, performance-based approach to energy efficiency.
  • Identify and understand building performance problems including ice dams, mold, mildew, and indoor air quality issues.
  • Analyze building and duct air leakage using blower door and infrared technology.
  • Conduct tests that are very important to homeowner health and safety and learn how to install energy efficiency measures.

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8. What does the training cost?

BPI training is provided by several companies in the BGE service area and typically costs about $1,000–$1,500; certifications fees are usually $500–$600.

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9. Why is health and safety testing important when conducting home energy improvements?

BPI certified contractors perform critical combustion safety-related tests before and after performing energy improvements to the home. Inspecting and testing combustion appliances—such as heating equipment, ovens and water heaters for proper performance and carbon monoxide emissions—helps ensure safe and efficient operation and prevent dangerous combustion gases from being introduced into the home. Such tests are critical when tightening up the home to make it more energy-efficient and comfortable.

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