Successful completion of such training programs prepares workers to
obtain home energy professional, or HEP, certification under the
U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program. There
are 35 local agencies delivering weatherization services in the
state of Illinois, including CEDA in Chicago, which is the nation's
largest weatherization agency.
"It means we are recognized as
having a high-quality curriculum that meets all the requirements of
DOE's home energy professional certification for energy auditor and
quality control inspector," said Paul Francisco, director of the
ICRT training center. "Someone who successfully completes our
training program can feel confident that he or she has everything
they need to pass the HEP examination."
Indoor Climate Research & Training is part of the Illinois
Sustainable Technology Center, a division of the Prairie Research
Institute at the University of Illinois. It operates a training
center for weatherization contractors and assessors and develops
training curriculums for the national home performance industry.
ICRT also performs research into issues related to residential
energy and indoor air quality.
Accreditation affects the certifications for energy auditor and
quality control inspector now offered under the Illinois Home
Weatherization Assistance Program. The quality control program was
granted provisional accreditation since it has been available for
less than a year.
There are a limited number of accredited weatherization training
programs in the U.S., according to Francisco. The next goal for
Indoor Climate Research & Training is to seek accreditation for its
training program for retrofit installers, he added.
Also a research engineer at Illinois Sustainable Technology
Center, Francisco's research focuses on energy efficiency, indoor
air quality and their interactions in residential buildings. His
work emphasizes principles of building science and understanding the
"house as a system" approach, which includes both energy and the
indoor environment. He is a member of the ad hoc Health and Safety
Committee for the Department of Energy's low-income Weatherization
Assistance Program and is a member of the board of directors of the
Building Performance Institute. He is also vice chair of the
Environmental Health Committee for the American Society of Heating,
Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and chair of the
society's standard on residential ventilation.
[to top of second column]
Congress created the Weatherization Assistance Program in 1976 to
decrease residential energy expenditures, particularly of low-income
Americans. The program has distributed $200 million to $250 million
to weatherize about 100,000 homes per year nationwide. The American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 allocated $5 billion through
March 2013 to weatherize some 300,000 homes per year and to
stimulate the economy by providing new jobs in the weatherization
Accreditation of training programs helps drive the effectiveness
of the Weatherization Assistance Program's energy savings and health
and safety goals, in addition to overall cost-effectiveness of the
program, Francisco noted. He estimated that the Indoor Climate
Research & Training program trained 300 workers and 300 contractors
in Illinois during the period of the American Recovery and
Technology Center news release]
The Prairie Research
Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is
the home of the Illinois State Scientific Surveys: Illinois Natural
History Survey, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, Illinois State
Geological Survey, Illinois State Water Survey, and Illinois
Sustainable Technology Center. It was established by statute in 2008
and builds on the Surveys' reputations for basic and applied
research and service.
The Illinois Sustainable
Technology Center was established in 1985 and joined the Prairie
Research Institute with the other surveys in 2008. Its mission is to
encourage and assist citizens, businesses, and government agencies
to prevent pollution, conserve natural resources, and reduce waste
to protect human health and the environment of Illinois and beyond.