man with a shinerThe margin for error is slim when an industry is relatively new. It’s susceptible to strict scrutiny and heightened consumer and stakeholder expectations. The renewable energy and energy efficiency industry illustrates a particularly challenging example, as the market presents not only new products and services, but a cultural and political shift to a new way we conserve and generate energy. 

This insight prompted the fall launch of the Clean Energy Credentialing Coalition (CECC).  Five organizations, committed to raising the bar for product, services and workmanship, have joined forces to get the word out about the value that credentialing brings to our broadening young industry.

Word of a failed installation, or a newly insulated but leaky attic, an expensive but inferior training course, or an underperforming product can spread quickly by word of mouth, traditional media or faster than a speeding bullet by social media.  All “green” can get wrongly branded by one mistake, one black eye.

Enter a protective screen – a collective, industry-wide commitment to quality through credentialing.  CECC was created with a single message – that quality and legitimate assurances matter to the clean energy industry.

Most of you are familiar with the five founding members of the CECC:  the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, the Building Performance Institute, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation and the Small Wind Certification Council.  Jointly, the coalition covers the credentialing assessment triangle for renewable energy and energy efficiency practitioners, products and training.

You know us, but did you know that each of us practice what we preach by making sure that our operations and systems meet standards for credentialing bodies?  We too go through painstaking application and assessment processes with ongoing maintenance requirements and commitment to improvements.  Each CECC organization has received third-party accreditation to national and international standards or guides.

Proof of credible credentials does matter.

A 2012 report from McGraw-Hill Construction, titled Construction Industry Workforce Shortages: Role of Certification, Training and Green Jobs in Filling the Gaps, finds that by requiring professional certifications of employees for different skills, firms are more apt to maintain a competitive advantage while also benefiting individual workers. A 2008 study for New York State found that nationally certified photovoltaic installers had fewer problems during a post installation inspection than non-certified installers.

You can play an influential role in providing quality shields for your specific industry and for the entire green market.  Help us get the word out to consumers, government agencies, the media, educators, professional organizations and others to recognize credible credentials.  Point to the Clean Energy Credentialing Coalition as a collective badge of excellence for an industry that embraces public safety, consumer protection and high standards.

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