Four-hundred-billion dollars (that’s $400 billion!) spent on energy in U.S. buildings per year. Two years of work. Fifty-four organizations. One-hundred-twenty-five recommendations. These numbers only tell part of the story.

On June 26, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) released the Energy Efficiency Standardization Coordination Collaborative (EESCC) Standardization Roadmap, which provides “a national framework for action and coordination on energy efficiency standardization to advance energy efficiency in the built environment.”

As IREC President/CEO Jane Weissman related in her July The IREC Report column, the EESCC recognizes that a strong and competent workforce provides the underpinning for growth and consumer acceptance, and that credentials play a crucial role in developing that workforce.   In support of this important acknowledgment, IREC was invited to co-chair a cross-sector working group of 30 organizations to  develop the roadmap’s recommendations around workforce credentialing.

Our working group quickly acknowledged that all credentials are not created equal, and that the market needs ‘quality indicators’ so industry, government and consumers  can identify credentials that are developed and administered according to best practices. As we worked to reach industry consensus around these indicators, Jane and I had an opportunity see how IREC’s credentialing programs measure up.

Turns out, we’re doing very well.

The phrase Lead By Example on a cork notice board
Balanced stakeholder input on accreditation requirements? Check. Policies that guide the program? Check. Qualified and trained assessors? Check. The roadmap verified that we are doing a lot of the ‘right things,’ while at the same time giving IREC a path to ensure our credentials increasingly “hold demonstrated market value for workers, employers and consumers” (another roadmap recommendation).

As a credentialing body, we ask credential holders to meet high industry standards and continuously improve as organizations and instructors. Can we ask less of ourselves? No, we hold ourselves to the same standards.  What if all organizations did this? Does yours?

The credibility of the IREC credential becomes even more evident in the context of further roadmap recommendations. The EESCC makes a strong statement regarding recognition of valid credentials by state and federal agencies. We base the IREC Credentialing Program on best practices so the mark our credential holders earn is taken seriously by government, funders and potential partners.

The roadmap also recommends that training programs seek third-party accreditation of their energy efficiency content. If you are already accredited or certified by IREC, know that you lead the industry on this front, and can point to the roadmap as another piece of evidence that you follow the best practices out there.

Finally, the roadmap calls for industry to undertake validation studies to verify the impact of workforce credentials on workers, employers and energy savings. IREC joins our EESCC colleagues in supporting opportunities to demonstrate the value of credentialing with cold, hard data that cannot be ignored or denied. We see this as one of the key factors in increasing your payback from investment in industry credentials. We continue to focus on the goal that all sectors of industry recognize what the roadmap states:  “When developed correctly, credentials bring value to all stakeholders.” We couldn’t agree more.

For more information about the EESCC’s findings, read Jane Weissman’s recent column. You may download the full EESCC Standardization Roadmap here (free pdf.)