If you’re aiming to become an Energy Advisor, Natural Resources Canada requires that you first pass the Foundation Exam. This is a tough exam. You have three hours to complete 150 questions. The questions are written to gauge your level of general knowledge about the industry. You don’t need to know anything about Hot2000 or the EnerGuide for Houses system to pass the Foundation exam, but you do need to have a good handle on all of the competencies outlined in the handbook.
Think of the Foundation Exam as the gatekeeper, the way to separate out interested individuals from individuals who have a background in the industry. It boils down to this: If you don’t have these competencies under your belt, you can’t be a good Energy Advisor. You can come back when you have the chops. Go get that experience, the industry needs you!!! (Seriously - there’s a shortage of construction workers.)
So you’ve worked in the industry. How do you know if you’ve got the right information to pass the exam in your head?
The Energy Advisor Handbook let’s you know, in broad strokes:
2.1 Foundation Level exam
The Foundation Level exam assesses foundational competencies such as numeracy, low-rise housing construction and renovation, building envelope, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, building science principles and the house-as-a-system concept. As such, the competency profile for this exam is not based on any specific Natural Resources Canada reference material. Organizations such as Natural Resources Canada and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation publish a variety of reference material available online which covers some of the competencies and learning objectives identified in the Foundation Level exam competency profile and which can be helpful to candidates to prepare for the exam. Candidates are also encouraged to review and study applicable reference material published by any other reputable organization or author in preparation for this exam. Although the competency profile for the Foundation Level exam includes competencies and learning objectives in the areas of communication and computer skills, these are not assessed during the exam. However, candidates are expected to be competent in these areas.
So...ok...how is Blue House Energy going to help me?
Blue House Energy CEO, Shawna Henderson, was an Energy Advisor in Nova Scotia for several years, has written extensively for CMHC and Natural Resources Canada on housing performance and building science. She continues to work with Energy Advisors, renovators, and builders who are active in a wide range of programs across Canada that use the EnerGuide for Houses system as their measuring tool.
BHE knows what you need to have under your belt, whether you’re in Vancouver, Atlantic Canada, Ontario, or North of 60. Canada is a big country. It’s hard to get to training if you live outside a major centre, and it’s harder to find time/money to take yourself or your team out of the field. That’s why Blue House Energy is focussed on delivering high-quality, on-demand training that fits into your schedule.
BHE is developing online courses to cover the competencies you will require to pass the Foundation Exam - The EAFT Bundle.
There are five courses in the bundle:
- Construction Technology
- Construction Safety
- Construction Math
- Plans Reading
- High Performance Housing
You can pre-purchase the bundle and get started right away with Construction Technology and Construction Safety. Construction Math is on it’s way. Reading Plans and High Performance Housing are in production. All the courses will be available separately, too, in case you just need to brush up on one or two competency areas.
But you might not need/want to take a whole bundle of courses, or you might not want to wait. Or you might want some supplementary information to work with as you make your way through our online training. Or you might want to explore more detailed information before, during, or after face to face training.
Foundation Study Guide for the Win!
We don’t know what your situation is, what you’re knowledge level is, what your schedule is. There are many ways to learn, there’s lots of good, quality information out there, and we want you to be successful in your bid to become an EA.
We’re developing a study guide that you can use for free. You can review all the topics under each competency, watch videos, read articles. The study guide points you to information that’s available online, but we’ve done the searching for you already. Our browser bookmark folders are impressive, if we do say so ourselves (nerd alert!). It’s part of how we create our online training and keep our content up-to-date: researching and reviewing the work of our colleagues and peers in the industry.
Happy to share it!
The study guide is going to be written as a series of blog articles, starting next week. When it’s done, it will be available to download in a single document. To make sure you don’t miss out on study guide installations, sign up for our newsletter!