environmental protection

How To Become An Energy Advisor in 2023

Shawna HendersonJanuary 30, 20203 comments

This article was updated in July 2023.

Maybe you’ve got some experience in the building industry. Maybe you’ve got lots of it. Maybe you’re super keen about helping people have cost-effective, healthy housing. Maybe you’re searching around for an interesting career that gives you a strong foothold in residential construction and renovation.

There are 200,000 to 250,000 new houses built every year in Canada

The home renovation industry accounts for more than $70 billion annually.

The new construction and renovation industry provides a job for roughly 1 in every 18 workers. It’s one of Canada’s largest employers.

New building code requirements, like the BC Energy Step Code, and upcoming National Building Code changes are leaning more to performance paths vs. prescription paths.

Course badge for BC Energy Step Code Modules 3, 4 and 5. This course is offered as an audio course.

BC Energy Step Code

With the adoption of the Pan-Canadian Strategy for Climate Change, more government funding has been set aside for renovations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

More jurisdictions are adopting building code requirements that include energy efficiency measures. New home and retrofit programs that are built around reducing energy consumption and/or greenhouse gas emissions in Canada rely on energy evaluations carried out by registered Energy Advisors.

And there is a growing need for more energy advisors with the uptake of the Greener Homes Initiative from the federal government, and municipal programs that are funded by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). To find out more about the industry visit CACEA, the Canadian Association of Consulting Energy Advisors.

What is an Energy Advisor?

An Energy Advisor (EA) is a licensed professional who provides technical services like energy modelling, blower door testing, and third-party verification to a range of programs:

  • R-2000®

  • EnerGuide ®

  • ENERGY STAR for New Homes®

  • Net Zero Homes®

  • Built Green Canada®

  • BC Energy Step Code

  • Energy Modeling for Code Compliance

As an Energy Advisor you work with home buyers, builders and renovators to:

  • Assess materials and building assemblies for energy efficiency and a healthy indoor environment

  • Analyse the performance of the building envelope and mechanical systems

  • For new homes, provide a pre-construction energy evaluation and performance testing 

  • For existing homes, provide suggestions to improve the energy efficiency and indoor air quality.

  • For new and existing homes, provide third party verification and inspection,  a final report and an EnerGuide rating

Who Can Be A Certified Energy Advisor?

You need to know a lot about houses to be a competent EA. Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), and the Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) have created a 3-step entry program for EA candidates. You must:

  1. Pass the Foundation Level exam

  2. Pass Energy Advisor exam

  3. Be affiliated with a service organization

Before you can even be considered for basic EA training, you must pass a Foundation exam. The Energy Advisor exam requires you to have specialized training in the EnerGuide for Houses service. Find out everything need to know about the process of becoming an Energy Advisor.

NRCan has a partner, Yardstick, who delivers both of the exams. They also offer some practice questions and tutorials on the NRCAN exam registration site.

Energy Advisor Foundation Exam Topics

  • Construction Technology

  • Construction & Renovation of Low-Rise Housing

  • Building Envelope (New and Existing Homes)

  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (New and Existing Homes)

  • Building Science Principles and the House-as-a-System Concept

  • Construction Math

  • Plans Reading

  • Construction Site Safety

This is where your background in residential construction is helpful, but it’s likely to not be enough. You’ll probably have some gaps in your knowledge. 

We offer a free Foundation Exam Prep Backgrounder to help you identify those gaps in your knowledge and outline what you need to focus on studying.

Download Foundation Exam Backgrounder

Blue House Energy and the Energy Advisor Foundation Exam

We know what it takes to be an Energy Advisor in Canada. BHE CEO, Shawna Henderson, was an R-2000 evaluator, starting in the early 1990s, and was one of the first Energy Advisors for Existing Houses in the country.

Everything we produce for our training is based on CHBA’s educational benchmarks and Shawna’s training and experience as an Energy Advisor, as well as her ongoing work in the field. Shawna:

  • was the Professional Development Committee chair for CHBA-NS (2018-2021)
  • was the chair of CHBA’s Net Zero Energy Renovation Working Group (2020-2022)
  • participates in industry working groups on high performance construction and renovation led by Natural Resources Canada and CHBA National
  • sits on the board of the Atlantic Canada Home Construction and Renovation Sector Council

Basically, she eats, breathes, and sleeps building science and houses.

Which means, Blue House Energy has a start-to-finish solution.

Energy Advisor Training

Take our online EA Foundation Exam Preparation Package. There are 5 courses in the bundle:

    1. Construction Math

    2. Plans Reading

    3. Construction Safety

    4. Construction Technology

    5. Improving Building Performance

These courses are offered as on-demand learning, meaning you set the pace according to your schedule. We've designed it for busy people, and you can get through most topics in 10 – 15 minute sessions. Ready?

Foundation Exam Prep Course

Download our Energy Advisor Foundation course booklet to find out more about what's covered in the Foundation Exam and our Energy Advisor Foundation Exam Prep course.

We also offer an Energy Advisor Exam Prep course to prepare you for the Energy Advisor exam. You can take one or the other program with us, or get a great deal on both.

If face-to-face, instructor-led training is a better fit for you, here is a partial list of providers in major urban centers:

Interested in finding out more? Contact us and our program coordinator, Carla, will give you a call.

Comments (3)

Stewart Howden on March 11, 2022

How long does your course take and how much does each module cost?

Shawna Henderson on August 20, 2021

The program is completely online, so you can take it anywhere in Canada!

Scott Chatterton on August 20, 2021

Is this available in BC? The CHBA of BC site doesn’t have any information.

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