Training as a Community & Housing Energy Advisor

The new qualifications; Housing Energy Advisor (HEA) and Community Energy Advisor (CEA) are intended to enable individuals to provide advice on energy efficiency to both individual households and the wider community. It is envisaged that these advisers will help the government reach environmental targets.

Home Energy Adviser (HEA), too good to be true?

Is the new Housing Energy Adviser (HEA) role an opportunity for individuals looking for a new self-employed business, an avenue the utility companies will create full time ‘sales’ positions for, or just yet another course training providers will sell at a premium with the ‘possibility’ of previously un-imagined wealth?

Certainly the original concept seemed sound; with individuals visiting peoples homes to carry out a full home energy audit including an energy performance certificate (EPC) and additional practical advice on how to lower the property’s energy consumption and in turn the carbon footprint of the property.

However, the role seems to have been gradually watered down and it will no longer be a requirement that the Housing Energy Advisor carries out an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and therefore no longer is there a need for the individual to be a trained domestic energy assessor.

It was initially planned that one of the pre-requisites of training as a Community and/or Housing Energy Advisor would be being a qualified domestic energy assessor. One must wonder why this original intention was dropped when we have such an over supply and easily accessible existing workforce with current DEA numbers.

Domestic energy assessors (DEA) have remained impartial and independent not cross selling products or services such as loft or cavity wall insulation apart from the odd rogues which of course are found in all industries. DEAs have taken great pride in their professionalism whilst many other professionals they work alongside are selling a wide range of other ‘complimentary’ services from other external businesses.

If the Housing Energy Advisor (HEA) role is largely undertaken by the large utility companies and the home energy audit is carried out for ‘free’ is it realistic that these energy suppliers will not also be selling to the homeowners; for example new condensing combi boilers, insulation and boiler servicing plans?

Is it a good idea to train as a Housing Energy Advisor?

There is no doubt the training providers are relishing being able to offer the Housing Energy Adviser course, we have already seen a number of training providers being told to retract advertising material and complaints about email marketing campaigns aimed at recruiting individuals.

Some of the training providers seem to be planning on ‘expanding’ their offerings and intend to ‘sell’ energy saving products to their trainees who inturn will sell them to the homeowners they visit. With this type of potential practice, will the role be mainly looking at giving impartial energy saving advice or selling products?

It is quite likely that these roles will become employed positions by the energy companies, there are similar roles currently being advertised at £15k with potential OTE of £28k. If you are aiming for being employed it maybe an option but if as most domestic energy assessors had hoped, that you will develop a thriving self employed small business solely from the roles, it maybe worth considering the option more carefully and carrying out a structured business plan.

If the roles become sales positions within for example utility/energy companies it would certainly be a missed opportunity from what originally looked an exciting development/idea when the Housing Energy Advisor (HEA) and Community Energy Advisor (CEA) roles were first consulted upon.

Over the mid to long term; how will this develop? Is this a true opportunity for individuals?, and what will we see achieved in regard to improving energy efficiency in our homes?

Home Energy Advisor provide further reading and information on the subject for both home owners and professionals.

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