In 2012, Shawna Henderson posed the question, “How can I get the knowledge for building science, residential construction and renovation out of my head and into the heads of as many people as possible in Canada?”.
Shawna had been working in the residential energy efficiency field since 1991, and knew that understanding why air sealing and insulation works is just as important as the installation itself. As an answer to her question, Shawna launched the online construction training company, Blue House Energy. Digital Nova Scotia recently had the pleasure of corresponding with Shawna to find out more about Blue House Energy, how they operate, and what has helped transform her vision into an industry leading business.
“If you don’t know why it works, you’re less likely to be able to problem solve”
– Shawna Henderson, CEO
We continuously talk about digital adoption and Blue House Energy has done exactly that. They’ve leveraged technology to not only meet their goals as a company, but make learning as accessible as possible for their clients.
A crucial first step for Blue House Energy was to create training tailored to their clientele. With the residential construction and renovation industry comprising mostly businesses with fewer than four employees, any time spent away from the toolbox is costly. As a remedy, Blue House Energy courses are mostly asynchronous, allowing learners to work at their own pace, and on their own schedule. Courses also run on a modular basis with each main topic containing a series of short subtopics, giving participants the ability to pick up exactly where they left off. Furthermore, Blue House Energy plans to introduce audio courses to meet the needs of their clients, many of whom spend long time periods in their trucks, and don’t want to chew up data unnecessarily.
Blue House Energy offers not only asynchronous courses, but also a series of blended courses which combine asynchronous materials with live virtual sessions, giving participants the ability to learn in whatever way works best for them. When registered for a course with Blue House Energy, learners can expect instruction from qualified subject matter experts who have demonstrated experience as trainers. Their course leaders include Qualified Energy Advisors, Math Teachers, and even Shawna herself, all of them creating their own teaching materials tailored to meet the specific learning goals of the course.
Having been a remote team from the very beginning, Blue House Energy has experienced less hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic than most organizations, and despite having to give up their tradition of regular team lunches, spirits are higher than ever. The team works on a performance basis, trusting that the people they’ve attracted are passionate about both the company’s operations, and their role in it. This ensures that Blue House gets everyone’s best effort in a given time frame.
“While we have in-house expertise, we know our limits and that’s when we lean on others’ know-how and passion for their digital platforms. This allows us to stay nimble, keep to reliable budget numbers and manage cash flow so our small team stays focused. We have about a dozen SaaS tools and platforms that allow us to automate as many workflows as possible. We have a trusted contractor who builds integrations as we need them so we can take advantage of the SaaS tools across each area of function in the company.”
– Shawna Henderson, CEO
Read the original Digital Nova Scotia article