What is an Energy Advisor?
Energy Advisors are third-party consultants who have been registered by Service Organizations licensed by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to deliver NRCan’s EnerGuide Rating System (ERS), ENERGY STAR® for New Homes and R-2000 programs. An Energy Advisor can provide both energy modelling and airtightness testing – the two compliance services needed to demonstrate compliance under the BC Energy Step Code for Part 9 buildings.
Energy modellers perform similar work, but may not be affiliated with a Service Organization and the EnerGuide Rating System. Energy modellers may use other energy simulation software that meets the BC Energy Step Code’s requirements. (All Energy Advisors are energy modellers, but not all energy modellers are Energy Advisors.)
Airtightness testing for Part 3 buildings is completed by building envelope consultants and building scientists.
How do I find an Energy Advisor or energy modeller for my project?
There’s several ways to find an Energy Advisor or energy modeller – here’s three:
1. Better Homes BC Search Tool
The Program-Qualified Energy Advisor Search Tool – available from Better Homes BC – lets you search for Energy Advisors and energy modellers by Part 9 residential project type (new home or renovation) and location. If you’re an Energy Advisor or energy modeller interested in being listed in the search tool, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Natural Resources Canada
Natural Resources Canada maintains an online database of Service Organizations working across Canada. You can search for Service Organizations located in British Columbia and contact them for information about the Energy Advisors they register.
The Canadian Association of Consulting Energy Advisors (CACEA) also hosts a website with information about the work of Energy Advisors affiliated with their association. CACEA also has a searchable directory of Service Organizations and Energy Advisors working in British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada.
Questions about Energy Models and Energy Advisors
What is an energy model and why do I need one?
The BC Energy Step Code requires Part 9 builders to work with an Energy Advisor or energy modeller to review plans, model energy consumption, conduct air tightness testing and verify the plans and as-built home will meet the energy performance requirement of a given step of the BC Energy Step Code.
An energy model calculates how much energy a proposed building is expected to use. Modelled energy consumption in a building can relate to space heating, ventilation, lighting, appliance and plug loads. The Energy Advisor (or other energy modeller) understands the modelling software, construction details and Building Code requirements. The energy model accounts for the size and geometry of the building, the climate at the building’s location, the effective insulation values of assemblies such as walls, ceilings, windows and doors, and the mechanical systems that keep the house comfortable and provide hot water.
Energy Advisors can provide advice to home builders who want to improve energy efficiency in the homes they build so they can achieve any of the Part 9 steps. After construction, the Energy Advisor will visit the home for a site verification visit, which includes a blower door test to measure the building’s airtightness.
Does my Energy Advisor need to be in my community?
Not necessarily. Energy Advisors typically serve large areas as they do not need to be on-site when doing energy modelling work, though they do need to be on-site for airtightness testing. Typically, Energy Advisors are able to travel long distances, especially when they can aggregate projects in an area.
How are Energy Advisors certified?
Energy Advisors must have a strong understanding of building science principles, write and pass Natural Resource Canada’s exams (Foundation Level and Energy Advisor) and work within a strict code of ethics. They must also be registered through a licensed Service Organization.
Visit Natural Resource Canada’s website to learn how to become an Energy Advisor.
What is a Service Organization?
As explained on Natural Resource Canada’s website: “A Service Organization is an independent organization licensed by NRCan to use the nationally-recognized EnerGuide Rating System, a standardized home energy performance rating tool. Service Organizations work with builders and homeowners across Canada in assessing the energy performance and potential energy savings for homes during the design, construction and renovation stage. While energy advisors and service organizations use NRCan’s official marks, trademarks, and software under a licensing agreement, they operate as independent businesses, and are not agents, partners, or employees of NRCan. As well, NRCan does not endorse any builder or services of any energy advisor/service organization, or any specific product, and accepts no liability in the selection of builders, materials, products, or performance of workmanship.”
Service Organizations are responsible for training Energy Advisors, providing field supervision, ensuring quality control and that established procedures are followed, and submitting the corresponding energy model to NRCan. Only files that are submitted to NRCan can have an EnerGuide Rating System label generated for a particular building.
Service Organizations must also adhere to a strict set of ethics and standards set by Natural Resources Canada, and pass additional exams pertaining to the work they do.
Page last updated: September 3, 2019.