Last week, the Department of Energy announced that it is making $200 million available to State Energy Offices (SEO) to train, test, and certify residential energy efficiency and electrification contractors. The Whole House Rebate (HOMES) and the Home Electrification and Appliance Rebate (HEAR) Programs are federal initiatives that provide rebates to homeowners who make energy-efficient improvements to their homes. The program aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower energy bills, and create jobs in the home improvement sector. However, to qualify for the rebates, homeowners must hire contractors who have been trained and certified by the HOMES and HEAR standards. The goals of the Contractor Training Grant (CTG) are to reduce the cost of training, provide testing and certification of contractors, and partner with non-profit organizations to develop and implement a workforce program. This ensures that the work is done properly and safely and that the energy savings are verified.
While the training content is a major part of the CTG, how can states keep track of workers’ training and certification status, especially if there is a large or dispersed workforce across the state? This is where Workflow Management Solutions (WMS) can assist. WMS are the software applications that help manage workflows, tasks, projects, and processes. They can help SEO automate and streamline their operations, improve communication and collaboration, and increase efficiency and productivity. One of the key features of WMS is that they can track and store data with various characteristics, such as contractors who have been trained and what program they are eligible to work in. Additionally, it can retain digital copies of certification documents. The WMS can help them track the installers’ training and certification status. Custom fields and forms can be created to record the relevant information, such as the date of training, the type of certification, the expiration date, etc. They can also set up reminders and alerts to notify them when a contractor’s certification is due for renewal or when a new training opportunity is available. This way, they can ensure that workers are always current and qualified for the HOMES/HEAR programs.
A WMS can help the SEO who participates in the HOMES/HEAR program by seamlessly tracking workers’ training and certification status and can be used to document and report their work for verification and approval. eTRACK+ is a system that can easily handle the tracking of workers’certifications. eTRACK+ is a highly flexible and configurable platform that can act as a central repository of certified contractors. By using WMS software applications, SEO can improve their compliance with the DOE standards, enhance their reputation and credibility, and deliver on the promise of the HOMES/HEAR program to lower customer energy costs and improve the environment.
Written by – Michael Stockard
Michael Stockard is an independent consultant at Stockard Energy Advising and is a member of the Advisory Panel at ANB Systems. Michael has over 40 years of experience in the design and implementation of demand-side management programs.