During the building process, insulators are required to satisfy one criterion–R-value. They are to blow enough insulation in an attic and install the right amount of insulation in a wall to obtain a certain R-value. This is where the insulation industry has been for decades.
Is insulating to a certain R-value enough to claim that a building is well insulated? The informed insulator will admit that it is not. However, when you ask the question, “What makes a building well insulated?” you will get as many opinions as there are insulators.
This is the value of The Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI). This non-profit organization answers the question, “What makes a building well-insulated?” It brings together the building science and the insulation contractor communities to establish proper standards for making sure buildings are well insulated. The answer to the question goes beyond R-values to addressing things like leaky building envelopes and establishing proper inspection techniques.
Interview of a Recent BPI Certified Insulator
The Insulation Guru
One of our customers recently completed the BPI certification process. Chris Burke with The Insulation Guru is an insulation contractor in the Houston, Texas area. We have asked him to provide insight into his recent BPI training and certification:
Why did you pursue BPI training?
A lot of it had to do with the passion for what I do. BPI is the best-of-the-best in audits, especially retrofit buildings. Their tagline is “raising the bar.” This is my philosophy.
I have three main priorities in life. My first love is God. The second is my family and they will tell you that insulation is my third! I would sleep in it. 😀
We called our company “The Insulation Guru” because, as owner of the company, I do a lot of the work myself and probably always will. I have multiple certifications including Leed and BPI. I believe every company should have a Leeds and/or BPI certified representative in their company.
Is there a certain course you would recommend to those who insulate homes?
- Envelope Performance Standard
- Building Analyst Envelope
During these courses, you learn how to do blower door test and duct blaster testing. These tests give scientific and factual answers as to “Why is my building it too hot in the summer?” “Why is it too cold in the winter?” “Through which penetrations is the heat and cold moving?” Anyone can add more insulation or apply radiant barrier, but the BPI courses help you understand the building science.
In my experience…
- Home owners like to have the answers and education.
- Some municipalities require the certifications.
- I want to make sure I am compliant with all of the codes and regulations.
How long did it take you to complete the course?
Usually the course is completed in multiple week sessions. We did it in five days with 10 hour days. It required a LOT of reading and studying. It is difficult and requires two written and two field tests.
Can you give one or two examples of practices you learned in the program that you were interesting?
First and foremost, I was impressed by the emphasis on homeowner’s safety, health and peace of mind. During the course, you learn to seal penetrations and test for carbon dioxide and gases.
For those who want to pursue BPI certification, what recommendations would you give them? In other words, how can the busy contractor prepare?
I am fortunate to have conscientious employees and was able to take the entire week off and shut my phone off.
My recommendation is BEFORE you take the classes, read and study the literature. Go to YouTube and watch BPI videos.
Once you start the class, it is long and tedious. You have math and physics involved. In order to pass, you are graded through a video and a field proctor. There are 8 hours of written testing and 8 hours of field testing.