DEAWP In Brief
The Diagnostic Energy Auditors of Western Pennsylvania represents independent companies that provide the highest standard of energy auditing and whole home performance contracting as determined by Resenet/BPI, Energy Star (HERS rating). Our professional backgrounds include HVAC, construction, architecture, the mortgage industry, engineering and design and renewable energy.
The auditors association: DEAWP, formed three years ago in response to several situations. One was the upcoming introduction of Act 129 (legislation for electric utilities to reduce energy use by 3% by 2013) and with it the promise of quick, walk through audits, light bulb exchanges and refrigerator swap outs. The other was the imminent demise of PA Home Energy which, at the time, was the lead agency representing Home Performance contractors and Energy Auditors throughout the commonwealth.
PA Home Energy insisted on Resnet (Residential Energy Services Network) and BPI (Building Performance Institute) training as prerequisites for membership and enrolled everyone in Home Performance with Energy Star, a program with very clear best practices and protocols built upon BPI standards. Resnet provided the building science to report the work in REM/rate software. High standards backed with a quality assurance program was to be the hallmark of PA Home Energy. Alas it was not adopted by other utility companies across the state and therefore could not afford to continue.
We therefore decided to start an association and encourage our members to honor the best industry practices. It was a loose network of highly trained individuals of very different backgrounds. This made for interesting exchanges and has led to a strong network that today collaborates on many different projects. We also became an industry partner with Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board (WIB), which has given us training funds to conduct advanced training for interested professionals and entry level classes for new entrants into the field. In turn we have leveraged this opportunity to conduct outreach, marketing programs where we pick a house in a community, do an energy audit and retrofit and share the process and results with the public. Our industry partners provide materials and we provide the labor. We have also designed an internship program around this opportunity.
We continue to build relationships within the community, to find ways to develop and promote the Home Performance market. This is not always easy as our emphasis is on "open market" opportunities as opposed to low income weatherization work. That said, our members engage in all levels of energy auditing and renovation work. But our roots are in the idea that existing buildings, residences, multi-family housing and small commercial buildings, mostly underperform and sometimes they do so drastically. We believe in creating permanent changes in the building envelope to lower the air infiltration/exfiltration rate and adjust the mechanical systems to match the updated heating and cooling load. This is a whole house approach, or 'house as a system' philosophy of energy renovation. Building science is our guide to "turning low performing houses into high performance homes."