Green job scam, a warning for HERS/RE...
QADD

Atlanta, GA

#23 Sep 1, 2009
Hello friends,
I am in the Home Energy Rating business and wanted to share my opinion on this thread.
Although I can understand the frustration of the initial poster, and am a bit disturbed to hear that there are providers out there who would string raters along without helping them achieve RESNET certification, I have to try to offer an unbiased view to prospective raters out there.
First of all, all providers are not created alike. Like Steve stated above, some providers have that as their only business and thus have no incentive to not certify raters. Secondly, some providers, like the one I work for, are a part of a non-profit company. Thus, as a non-profit, there is no incentive to simply steal peoples money and give them nothing. We want raters to be successful.
Thus, the lesson is when searching out training providers OR seeking a providership to work with in order to become certified, do your homework. There are dozens of providers around the country, many with a well established commitment to sustainability. If you do a bit of research, you should be able to uncover who is in the business for the right reasons and who is simply gaming the system.
To those who were upset that Steve wouldn't "reveal" the name of his company, it probably has a lot more to do with business ethics than an unwillingness to divulge such information. For example, it would be really easy for me to turn this thread into an advertisement for my company's providership, as undoubtedly many potential raters would be interested in working with a non-profit provider who has decades of experience in the residential energy efficiency industry. However, this is not an appropriate forum to lure people into our business. This is however the forum to encourage people to do research for themselves into this big step as a professional.
I state this emphatically... do your research before you give a training organization hundreds of dollars for training... do your research before you give a provider hundreds of dollars for going through the provisional process... and finally and most importantly, do your research before deciding that you want to pursue HERS Certification. The whole process... from training, to probationary training, to certification, to insurance, and buying equipment is going to cost a good amount of money. Thus, everyone who is thinking of trying this business as a profession needs to understand that they are going to have to make it happen, and it is probably going to take a couple of years and a few thousand dollars of start up costs in order to make it successful.
QADD

Atlanta, GA

#24 Sep 1, 2009
The truth is that many raters do fail at this. Why do they fail? Because honestly a lot of guys who do this are either between jobs or are considering changing professions, see that "green" is a buzzword, and think that they can just jump into it and be successful quick.
But in reality, being a HERS rater is not a get rich quick scheme. A HERS Certification is something that either A) will help you market another service to customers for your existing residential contracting business (insulation installation, home assessment, home inspection, home renovation, solar installation, HVAC, construction, etc), or B) will take a distinct and creative business plan, as well as an initial economic investment to make it successful.
This is the reality... being a HERS rater does not guarantee anyone a living wage, just like selling any other good or service does not, because it is a skill that is largely meant for people who are going to own their own business.
Now, this is not all it is limited to. I for one got my job with a sustainability industry leader shortly out of college (with a degree that had nothing to do with business, construction, or engineering) and working for them as an intern. I got to take their HERS class, succeeded at it, and was offered a job working for them due to it.
I know other people with limited to no background it the business who have taken the class and have been able to market the skill to construction companies, insulation companies, etc and now have a job as well.
Thus, HERS certification is not a meaningless skill/accomplishment... many people use it as a catalyst to grow/refine their own business, and some do go on to work in the residential energy field.
However, once again, prospective raters... please realize that nothing is a given. The new housing market is down, and probably will never go back to being what it was in 2005. Also, for as long as RESNET and HERS have been around, it is still a growing field and most home owners do not know about the benefits of green building, energy efficiency, etc. Thus, if you are like many who take these classes... between jobs and looking for new skills, or wanting to get into the "green job" field, realize that it could take some work. Nevertheless, do not get scared off by those above who were unsuccessful. Many people DO become Certified, and DO many money doing it... and depending how you market yourself and whether you can acquire more skills/certifications such as BPI for existing homes, home performance with energy star, get a regional green building accredidation, or become a LEED for Homes Provider rep, you can actually make a good amount of money doing it.
The fact is oil, coal and natural gas are not becoming any more plentiful. The costs are only going to go up, and more stringent anti-CO2 legislation will be passed which will increase the price further. Due to this, it is likely that in the next decade an energy efficiency index such as HERS could be applied to all real estate transactions, just like the MPG rating of a car or the energy efficiency rating of appliances. No matter what, there will be ever increasing tax credits/incentives for residential energy efficiency.
QADD

Atlanta, GA

#25 Sep 1, 2009
Thus, once again... if you are up to the challenge of using this unique skill to your advantage, you could become very successful in this sustainability industry in the future. Just make sure you ask the right questions of your provider, such as how long the provisional period will last, how long file QA turn around is, and what sets them apart from other providers. Also, ask them if you can talk to another one of their raters about the providership. Any honest and worthwhile provider will not hesitate to make that link happen (even better... go to RESNET's website and search for raters already using the provider you are considering and email them yourself.)
Sorry if this post was excessively long, but I think it is important to consider all views, and I think that mine is one of the more balanced perspectives you will get on the subject. I don't know about all of the politics between the EPA and RESNET, but those above who are ranting about all the unjust patronage going on in the industry come across as paranoid and bitter to me rather than balanced. From what I know, RESNET is dedicated if not grossly understaffed. I don't think they have time for bigtime ponzi schemes.
QADD

Atlanta, GA

#26 Sep 1, 2009
Hello friends,

I am in the Home Energy Rating business and wanted to share my opinion on this thread.

Although I can understand the frustration of the initial poster, and am a bit disturbed to hear that there are providers out there who would string raters along without helping them achieve RESNET certification, I have to try to offer an unbiased view to prospective raters out there.

First of all, all providers are not created alike. Like Steve stated above, some providers have that as their only business and thus have no incentive to not certify raters. Secondly, some providers, like the one I work for, are a part of a non-profit company. Thus, as a non-profit, there is no incentive to simply steal peoples money and give them nothing. We want raters to be successful.

Thus, the lesson is when searching out training providers OR seeking a providership to work with in order to become certified, do your homework. There are dozens of providers around the country, many with a well established commitment to sustainability. If you do a bit of research, you should be able to uncover who is in the business for the right reasons and who is simply gaming the system.

To those who were upset that Steve wouldn't "reveal" the name of his company, it probably has a lot more to do with business ethics than an unwillingness to divulge such information. For example, it would be really easy for me to turn this thread into an advertisement for my company's providership, as undoubtedly many potential raters would be interested in working with a non-profit provider who has decades of experience in the residential energy efficiency industry. However, this is not an appropriate forum to lure people into our business. This is however the forum to encourage people to do research for themselves into this big step as a professional.

I state this emphatically... do your research before you give a training organization hundreds of dollars for training... do your research before you give a provider hundreds of dollars for going through the provisional process... and finally and most importantly, do your research before deciding that you want to pursue HERS Certification. The whole process... from training, to probationary training, to certification, to insurance, and buying equipment is going to cost a good amount of money. Thus, everyone who is thinking of trying this business as a profession needs to understand that they are going to have to make it happen, and it is probably going to take a couple of years and a few thousand dollars of start up costs in order to make it successful.

The truth is that many raters do fail at this. Why do they fail? Because honestly a lot of guys who do this are either between jobs or are considering changing professions, see that "green" is a buzzword, and think that they can just jump into it and be successful quick.
QADD_2

Atlanta, GA

#27 Sep 1, 2009
But in reality, being a HERS rater is not a get rich quick scheme. A HERS Certification is something that either A) will help you market another service to customers for your existing residential contracting business (insulation installation, home assessment, home inspection, home renovation, solar installation, HVAC, construction, etc), or B) will take a distinct and creative business plan, as well as an initial economic investment to make it successful.
This is the reality... being a HERS rater does not guarantee anyone a living wage, just like selling any other good or service does not, because it is a skill that is largely meant for people who are going to own their own business.
Now, this is not all it is limited to. I for one got my job with a sustainability industry leader shortly out of college (with a degree that had nothing to do with business, construction, or engineering) and working for them as an intern. I got to take their HERS class, succeeded at it, and was offered a job working for them due to it.
I know other people with limited to no background it the business who have taken the class and have been able to market the skill to construction companies, insulation companies, etc and now have a job as well.
Thus, HERS certification is not a meaningless skill/accomplishment... many people use it as a catalyst to grow/refine their own business, and some do go on to work in the residential energy field.
However, once again, prospective raters... please realize that nothing is a given. The new housing market is down, and probably will never go back to being what it was in 2005. Also, for as long as RESNET and HERS have been around, it is still a growing field and most home owners do not know about the benefits of green building, energy efficiency, etc. Thus, if you are like many who take these classes... between jobs and looking for new skills, or wanting to get into the "green job" field, realize that it could take some work. Nevertheless, do not get scared off by those above who were unsuccessful. Many people DO become Certified, and DO many money doing it... and depending how you market yourself and whether you can acquire more skills/certifications such as BPI for existing homes, home performance with energy star, get a regional green building accredidation, or become a LEED for Homes Provider rep, you can actually make a good amount of money doing it.
The fact is oil, coal and natural gas are not becoming any more plentiful. The costs are only going to go up, and more stringent anti-CO2 legislation will be passed which will increase the price further. Due to this, it is likely that in the next decade an energy efficiency index such as HERS could be applied to all real estate transactions, just like the MPG rating of a car or the energy efficiency rating of appliances. No matter what, there will be ever increasing tax credits/incentives for residential energy efficiency.
woops

Atlanta, GA

#29 Sep 1, 2009
sorry, really did not mean to deluge the page... I hope you get the point though.
Mr Green

Springfield, VA

#30 Sep 3, 2009
QADD,

You appear to be just another person that wants to protect and defend your income that derives from selling "rater training" classes.

You as many others within this RESNET system seem to be aware of the fact that many “providers” are just “simply gaming the system” as you stated. These RESNET “providers” are not anybody. May I remind you of the fact that they are actually accredited by RESNET!

To be accredited by RESNET means that RESNET recognizes or vouches for the providers conforming to its standards. When everybody seems to know that many providers are “simply gaming the system” and this obviously can go on undisturbed, what does this tell you about RESNET? Please tell us!

It tells me that RESNET’s standard is just on paper but has never been implemented in the real word. And when RESNET is not willing nor able to implement its standard in this respect, how will it be able to keep up any quality when it comes to energy ratings that these providers carry out. Cases clearly prove that providers issue ratings for houses they have never visited. RESNET and its energy ratings are loosing credibility.

When you advice rater candidates to “do your homework”, what you really say is this: do not trust the RESNET accreditation and do not trust what RESNET claims to represent.

You write,“Many people do become certified”. We do not doubt that. After all it is a pay-to-play scheme as also commentator Friskie pointed out. Obviously, I did not show my provider any sign of preparedness to pay the unspoken amount nor the willingness to work for minimum wage. Instead, I was naive enough to expect RESNET’s certification system to be transparent and fair. If the willingness to pay-to-play or to work for minimum wage is equal to success to you, it certainly is not to me!

For sure, any builder with financial muscles can pay enough to be one of the “many people” who becomes certified.

You state that a HERS Certification is something that will help to market another service such as insulation. I am aware that RESNET’s standard allows an insulation company to rate its own work, but come on, is this something you can honestly defend? Is this what RESNET calls third party verification? This can make a used car dealer blush.

So I ask you the same question I asked Sharla and Steve: Please provide the readers of this forum with some statistics of how many of the paying rater candidates that get certified. Your statement “many people do become certified” is rather thin in substance. Can you please be a little more specific.“Many” people also went to the moon!
Marie Gachelin

Springfield, VA

#31 Sep 9, 2009
I’m surprised to see that some of those who have responded to this forum are clearly part of the system and have had no shame in admitting that:

“Thus, the lesson is when searching out training providers OR seeking a providership to work with in order to become certified, do your homework. There are dozens of providers around the country, many with a well established commitment to sustainability. If you do a bit of research, you should be able to uncover who is in the business for the right reasons and who is simply gaming the system.”

· Why would RESNET allow any of its Providers to conduct business under its umbrella while it misrepresents itself?
· What would RESNET do if a Trainee files a complaint?
· Is RESNET capable or willing to discipline a Provider if the Provider involved in on its Officers or is a member of the board of directors?
· Would you trust an organization that audits its own work?
· Why would you pay money to become a certified rater when you’re at the mercy of the Provider to certify you? Isn’t that a deceptive practice?

The second point is:
“Energy auditors can't make a living at it. Not enough work” is a quote from InterNachi.
http://www.nachi.org/forum/f58/epa-resnet-int...

Inter Nachi is the only organization that applied to become a third party verification with EPA since RESNET/Hers assumed the role of serving as both Provider and Third party verification- which means that RESTNET/Hers certifies its own work a la Bernie Madoff style.

Oddly, on 12th of August 2009, InterNachi withdrew its application from EPA. That move allows RESNET/hers to continue as the Provider and third party verifier simultaneously. InterNachi, just like RESNET, has joined in Providing Rater training service since “this is where the money is”.

http://www.nachi.org/energy-star-application-...
So, it means that you pay money, you invest your time, you don’t get certified and the organizations are aware that there are no jobs in the field.

The third point is:
How has RESNET/Hers managed to continue with this system when politicians remain silent?

If you or someone else who know paid for training and certification and were not certified, I recommend that you file a complaint with the better business bureau (BBB) against RESNET and the provider involved. As of August 2009, the Better Business Bureau has a file on RESNET indicating that RESNET has failed to resolve a specific complaint brought against one its Providers.

http://www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/

http://www.bbb.org/san-diego/business-reviews...
Mr Green

Springfield, VA

#32 Sep 10, 2009
Two very crucial facts that you should know:

#1. Energy Star is quickly fading away as an energy efficiency rating system, see article in WSJ: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1245965546382...
The builders are objecting Energy Star and have come up with their own system, the “National Green Building Program”. http://www.nahb.org/page.aspx/category/sectio...
http://www.nahb.org/page.aspx/category/sectio...
http://www.nahb.org/generic.aspx...

When the builders decide not to participate with Energy Star, that means that there will not be any jobs for RESNET raters even after the housing construction market rebounds.

#2. EPA is currently changing the content of an Energy Star rating. New items to verify are installation requirements for heating, venting and air conditioning systems. These complex systems need specialized skills beyond the scope that any rater candidate will learn. This means that even if a rater candidate manages to get certified under the current system, he/she will not be qualified to do ratings under the new system.
Dan

AOL

#33 Sep 10, 2009
Below are the actions of Timmy Reeder, owner of Building Performace Solutions and Horizon Ass's in Crandon, Wi. after I filed a lawsuit and complaints with RESNET etc. He repeatedly claims that I intended to use his reports in arbitration against the builder. The arbitration was held on June 26th and Timmy was there, with the builder, and the builder has seen my supposedly confidential report.
He charged me $600 for an air quality test, and only did a mold test.
1. Called my 76 year old mom at her home in IL at least 2 times. The first time he left a message. He then called her back at 7:30am the next morning, woke her up, and proceeded to yell at her before slamming the phone down and hanging up on her. She called me in tears and feared for my safety. He may have had his wife or another female call my mom again and when my mom asked who was calling, the caller replied, "the Darien Police Dept" and hung up. My mom lives in Darien, IL. We have subpoenaed the phone company for the blocked number. My mom has absolutely nothing to do with this. He has her phone number because years ago he used to cut our grass. He was much better at that and I hope he still has his lawn mower.
2. After I received the tearful call from my mom, I called Reeder and told him to never call my mom again. He hung up.
3. He then went to the Forest County Wi. Sheriffs Dept. and filed a complaint against me claiming harassing phone calls. He also claimed that the reason he called my mom was because I was refusing to pay him for the work. Lie number 1. I paid him before he left my home and have filed a suit in small claims to recover my money.
4. He then goes to the Vilas County Sheriff and files another complaint. In this one he now claims I am an ex employee and that I was harassing him through phone calls. What about his claim in Forest County that I did not pay him? Lie 2.
5. I filed a claim in small claims court and at the mediation he now claims that he did what I hired him to do. Lie 3. Up until this point I assumed he was simply lying in his reports since he is friends with the people that built our house and he thought I was going to use them in arbitration. Now I found out that he never did what he was hired to do.
6. In his responses to the other complaints I filed, he simply accuses me of lying, calls me names, and makes many other untrue accusations in an effort to make himself appear legit. He also has sent along copies of his 2 false complaints with the Sheriff, and has even included another false complaint filed by a woman I don't even know. This woman has absolutely NOTHING to do with Reeder and myself. Her complaint was about a completely different matter, but this didn't stop Reeder. Slander and/or defamation of character.
7. I am the Wi. representative for Home Owners Against Deficient Dwellings (HADD). Reeder created a fake email and contacted me through HADD's web site. The HADD secretary forwarded his fake email to me and asked me if I could help. After emailing the fake email address, I realized what was going on and did some checking to confirm this email was in deed from Reeder. It was. Lie 4 or is that 5? There are so many I lost count.
8. Reeder informed the builder that he did some testing for me and their lawyers have sent at least 3 letters to my attorney asking about them. In addition, Reeder showed up to our arbitration with the builder on their behalf. The builder has copies of our confidential report. Under oath the builders attorney clearly states this fact, and I have copies of this in the court reporters transcript. This clearly violates every organizations code of ethics. Maybe ESA doesn't have one.
9. At the St Germain, Wi. town board meeting they mention my lawsuit against Reeder. This has absolutely nothing to do with the town, but somehow Reeder has once again made my confidential reports and service very public.
Just my opinion, but based on provable facts.
Bob

AOL

#34 Sep 10, 2009
I ran out of room above. I mentioned he was hired to do an air quality test, but he was also paid to do some other testing,(duct leakage, etc.) His reports are useless and I wound up having to pay someone else to redo the tests. I first filed a complaint with the Wi. Energy Conservation Corp. and RESNET over 5 months ago and nothings been done. They keep claiming that they are working on it, while in the meantime, it's business as usual for Timmy.

Bottom line, if your dishonest with no morals or integrity, then by all meand join RESNET. You'll be able to easily get away with the things Timmy has done.

Timmy also belongs to ESA, NACHI, IAC2, and many other organizations in an effort to make himself look legit.

One guy I know sent the above list to members of RESNET, and others, and has tried to make this as public as possible so other innocent people won't have to suffer. It appears to me that Energy Star is nothing more then a goverenment backed scam. Just my opinion.

Just my opinion.
Mr Green

Springfield, VA

#35 Sep 10, 2009
Dan, your experience with RESNET is very similar to mine. It's a real shame how RESNET protects crooks. But what can you expect when the person you complain about is on the board of RESNET. See also http://www.topix.com/forum/blogs/T2D5K2SOJ93Q...
Bob

AOL

#36 Sep 10, 2009
I'm still willing to give RESNET more time to do something about Reeder. But, God help them and everyone else associated with Reeder and RESNET when I find that Reeder has scammed someone else.

Try going to ripoffreport.com and posting your story there. The do a "Google" search for RESNET. It'll come up on the first page. Good way to warn others.
Marie Gachelin

Springfield, VA

#37 Sep 11, 2009
Bob, File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) against both companies and contact your elected officials.
Dan

AOL

#38 Sep 11, 2009
I have to give RESNET a chance to do something. Maybe 5 months is long enough? I have filed complaints with the Wi. BBB against InterNACHI and Environmental Solutions Ass.(ESA) and it accomplished nothing. I've also filed complaints with the BBB against other people associated with our new home, and they don't really do anything but help the people my complaints were against. They must have a whole list of excuses ready to use.
As far as elected officials in Wi. what a joke. These people are only interested in protecting their friends. There are over 30 building code violations with our new home and after getting lied to and brushed off by the Wi. Commerce Dept. for over a year, I contacted every elected official I could find. One or two responded stating that they had talked to the Commerce Dept. and were told it was being taken care of. That was over a year ago. So, I appreciate your advice, but as you can see, it would be a waste of time and effort on my part.
Dan

AOL

#39 Sep 11, 2009
Here's an interesting note about Energy Star Builders. The people that built our home, Cornerstone Custom Builders in Eagle River, Wi. jumped on the Energy Star band wagon in June 2008. Up until June they were just listed as a new partner. Seems somewhat decieving especially when this builder claims to build over 100 homes a year. I just checked and it now states "Homes Pending". I was told by Energy Star that if a builder hasn't built an Energy Star qualified home within a year, they are removed from the program.
Another interesting fact. Timmy Reeder, the so called Energy Star rater mentioned on here is friends with this builder and joined Energy Star at the same time. I wonder if he's doing the inspections on his friends newly built homes?
Just my observations and opinions.
Dan

AOL

#40 Sep 11, 2009
Correction: The above line should read "Up until Aug. 2009"
Dan

AOL

#41 Sep 11, 2009
Steve wrote:
Hi Tom,
I'm not sure what this gentleman's experience was as he's giving virtually no details. We are a training organization. We have a pass rate in the mid 70% range. Of those, many choose not to continue the process, but I would say that roughly half of them go on to become raters. There are instances where you could make a case for a provider not wanting to have competition, but I haven't seen it. In fact, there are several trainers that only train and provide, what motivation would they have for excluding new clients? None. I'm sorry this guy had a bad experience, it's ridiculous to paint everyone in the industry as collusionary. In fact, most of the people in this line of work are doing it for something in addition to money. Most of us have a sense of mission for saving energy.
<quoted text>
I agree with Steve to some degree, but when he also allows people like Timmy Reeder to remain a member (see above), a reasonable person has to question RESNET's practices. Removing these bad elements from their organization would go a long way in improving their image and credibility.
Mr Green

Springfield, VA

#42 Sep 11, 2009
Dan, when many of "these bad elements" make up the core of RESNET, expecting RESNET to remove them is overly optimistic.
Mr Green

Springfield, VA

#43 Sep 11, 2009
I got scammed by one of RESNET's core members. I filed a complaint with RESNET with the expectation that RESNET would enforce its own standard against this "provider". Do you think that happend? No, RESNET protected the scammer. This is obviously RESNET in a nutshell. RESNET obviously beleives it can behave like this. Thanks to the Internet, this kind of ripoffs can now be made public.

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