On this page:
- What is an energy advisor?
- How do I find one?
- How do I work with one?
- Questions about energy advisors and energy modellers
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 services needed to demonstrate compliance under the BC Energy Step Code for Part 9 residential 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?
1. Better Homes BC search tool
The Program-Qualified Energy Advisor Search Tool (available from Better Homes BC) lets you search for energy advisors or 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) is a membership-based, national organization that promotes and supports energy advisors across the country. CACEA hosts a website with information about the work of energy advisors affiliated with their association, and offers a searchable directory of Service Organizations and energy advisors working in British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada.
How do I work with an energy advisor?
The Community Energy Association, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of B.C. and the Canadian Association of Consulting Energy Advisors partnered to create a three-page guide to help builders and homeowners understand the process of working with an energy advisor. The guide covers new construction and retrofits, with helpful checklists for each.
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 BC 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.
In addition, under EnerGuide policy, more than one licensed energy advisor may be involved in the evaluation and modelling process of a single file. When this happens, one energy advisor remains accountable for all aspects of the work: the energy advisor identified on the HOT2000 file, the modelling software used by the EnerGuide Rating System.
How are energy advisors certified?
Energy advisors must have a strong understanding of building science principles, write and pass Natural Resources 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 Resources 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. They may also work with provinces, territories, municipalities, utility companies, and other organizations as part of their own home energy efficiency labelling and/or retrofit incentive programming.
While energy advisors and service organizations use NRCan’s official marks, trademarks, and software under a licencing 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 must adhere to a strict set of ethics and standards set by Natural Resources Canada, and pass additional exams pertaining to the work they do. Learn about licensed Service Organizations.
Page last updated: April 6, 2021.