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How to become an NRCan-registered energy advisor

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What is an NRCan-registered energy advisor?

The designation of energy advisor (EA) registered with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) means that a person has met and maintained all of the required qualifications to deliver EnerGuide rating services for eligible homes in Canada. An NRCan-registered EA can also add other NRCan services to their qualification, including the delivery of EnerGuide for Multi-Unit Residential Buildings (MURBs) and ENERGY STAR for New Homes.

Please note that different regions in Canada may provide opportunities for EA services not overseen by NRCan, such as delivery of services for building code compliance. In those cases, many regional programs and regulations utilize the base designation of NRCan-registered EA and add their own regional requirements for the EA role.

In general, an EA must demonstrate knowledge and experience in key areas such as:

  • EnerGuide Rating System
  • Residential construction practices for low-rise housing
  • Energy efficiency renovation practices
  • Building science
  • Basic arithmetic, geometry and computers skills
  • Data collection requirements
  • Energy simulation modeling using HOT2000, and
  • Good client relations

Important update: Though the testing centre network closed due to COVID-19 concerns, Yardstick is beginning to open some testing centres. As the situation evolves, please check here for the status of testing centres near you. Please be aware that the open testing centres will have COVID-19 reopening policies and regulations that may result in reduced staff, limited seating capacity and fewer exam dates.

Summary of the process to become an energy advisor

To become an EA, the candidate must pass two qualification exams, the Foundation Level Exam and the Energy Advisor (House) Exam and be affiliated with an NRCan-licensed service organization (SO) to finalize their registration with NRCan. You can search for a service organization in your area here.

Candidates may contact and become affiliated with an NRCan-licensed SO prior to taking exams. SOs will sometimes support candidates through the entire training, exam, mentoring and registration process. However, candidates are only required to work with an SO for the final steps of confirming practical skills and registration with NRCan.

Once these steps are completed, the SO will notify NRCan to register the candidate.

The time required to complete the entire process will vary significantly depending on each EA candidate’s previous knowledge and work experience. Those with substantial relevant experience and knowledge could complete the process and become NRCan-registered EAs in less than one month, whereas candidates in need of training to gain the breadth and scope of knowledge required may require a year or more to complete the process.

Once the candidate has become an EA registered with NRCan, depending on the regulatory and program environment in the region where they provide EA services, it is recommended that all EAs continue to upgrade and maintain their knowledge and skills, to remain current with useful tools and regional requirements that can impact their work.

Preparing for the Exams

NRCan works with Yardstick Assessment Strategies who create, design, and proctor the exams. There are test centres available across Canada and Yardstick offers practice questions and tutorials on their exam registration site to assist in the preparation. Candidates will need to contact Yardstick when they are ready to schedule their exams.

NRCan does not offer any courses or workshops for these exams but as part of the preparation, candidates can look into the following:  

  1. Attend preparation courses offered by various organizations across Canada
  2. Prepare on their own

Attend courses

To help gain or brush up on the knowledge required to pass the exams, the following learning options may be available. Course availability and content are and dependent on current business models and offerings. NRCan does not support or endorse any training offering and encourages all candidates to research the learning pathways best suited to their situation: 

Preparing on your own 

If candidates are confident that they already possess the required experience and knowledge, they can simply register through Yardstick to write the exams. For example, they may have already worked as an EA or their registration may have expired and feel they meet the competencies being assessed.

Foundation level exam 

This exam assesses the following seven competency categories, and is a prerequisite for taking the Energy Advisor (House) exam: 

  • Communication and computer skills
  • Numeracy
  • Construction and renovation of low-rise housing
  • Safety considerations; building envelope (new and existing homes)
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (new and existing homes)
  • Building science principles; and 
  • The house-as-a-system concept.

Contact us to acquire a list of competencies, which will give candidates an idea about the types of questions found in the exam. Consult the Foundation Exam resources

Once candidates have achieved a passing grade on the EnerGuide Foundation Level Exam, NRCan will provide them with the HOT2000 software (used for the EnerGuide Rating System) trainee version and report generator. Reports generated from this version are watermarked to indicate they are practice reports and thus should not be provided to homeowners.  

Energy Advisor (House) exam 

This exam assesses the four following competency categories in detail:

  • Knowledge of EnerGuide Rating System
  • Knowledge of the HOT2000 Modelling
  • Ability to administer and deliver the EnerGuide Rating System
  • Ability to perform general quality assurance on house files under the EnerGuide rating System Version 15

To help prepare for the exam please contact us to access all relevant exam materials, including the Energy Advisor Exam (House) Competency Profile guide, which lists all the categories, competencies, and learning objectives. Candidates will also gain access to the following program documents, which are key for successful exam preparation:  

    • EnerGuide Rating System - Standard 
    • EnerGuide Rating System - Administrative Procedures 
    • EnerGuide Rating System - Technical Procedures 
    • EnerGuide Rating System - HOT2000 User Guide and 
    • EnerGuide Rating System - Quality Assurance Procedures 

Once affiliated with an SO and fully registered with NRCan, candidates will then be able to request the complete EnerGuide Rating System Energy Advisor Package and official report generator

Affiliation with an NRCan licensed service organization   

Being affiliated with an SO is necessary in order to deliver the EnerGuide Rating System, ENERGY STAR® for New Homes, or R-2000 programs. Registered EAs delivering services for one of these NRCan programs, must submit all house files through their affiliated SO.

To establish this relationship, SOs often actively recruit new EA candidates. In other cases, EA candidates reach out to SOs to request the SO’s interest in supporting the candidate through one or more of the steps to becoming an EA: exam preparation, practical skills mentoring, probationary files and registration with NRCan.

NRCan lists licensed SOs operating across Canada. An EA can be affiliated with an SO whose offices are physically located in a different region of Canada – there are no regional restrictions, as long as the SO and EA agree to the terms of their working relationship. Financial agreements, such as the cost that the SO charges to perform quality assurance and submission of EA house files to NRCan, is also negotiated between the SO and the EA.

Working with an SO often involves additional measures to NRCan requirements, such as, but not limited to:

  • Attending available training sessions
  • Delivering services additional to NRCan programs
  • Delivering outreach on energy efficiency and climate action to clients, municipalities or community groups

All EAs and EA candidates also have the option of becoming members of the Canadian Association of Consulting Energy Advisors (CACEA – www.cacea.ca). This industry organization offers a professional hub and voice for the continually evolving role of EAs across the country.

Foundation Level Exam Resources

The knowledge required to be competent in those seven categories can be acquired through various methods, such as formal class training, on-the-job training, and practical experience. It is up to the candidate to research available training and resources, and below is a list of useful resource material you may consult in preparation for the exam and which cover some of the areas in which you will be tested:

Natural Resources Canada website:

Keeping the Heat In Publication
How can I make my home more energy-efficient?
Combustion Gases in Your Home – Things You Should Know About Combustion Spillage
Energy-efficient products publications
Heating equipment for residential use
Heating and Cooling with a Heat Pump
Water Heaters
Air Conditioning Your Home
Heat/Energy recovery ventilators
Key features and helpful tips for windows, doors and skylights
Low-Solar and High-Solar Glazing
Solar Ready Guidelines

Other websites:

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Library
Canadian Wood Frame House Construction
Addressing moisture and mould in your home
Formaldehyde
Radon
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association Builders’ Manual
HRAI Technical Manuals

Energy Advisor Exam (MURB) [NOTE: optional additional designation after becoming a Registered Energy Advisor (House)]

MURB exam is required only if you are evaluating MURBS, issuing a MURB label and performing quality assurance on and submitting MURB files to NRCan.

In order to become a registered Energy Advisor (MURB) you will need to meet the qualifications for Energy Advisor (House) and be a registered energy advisor with Natural Resources Canada, as well as pass the Energy Advisor Exam (MURB) exam.

To prepare for the exam, you will need to consult the Energy Advisor Exam (MURB) Competency Profile document that lists all the categories, competencies and learning objectives, as well as relevant reference documents: ERS Standard, ERS Technical Procedures, ERS HOT2000 User Guide and ERS Quality Assurance Procedures.

Contact us to acquire Energy Advisor Exam Reference Material

ENERGY STAR for New Houses v12 & v17 Ontario – Energy Advisor Exam

The ENERGY STAR energy advisor exam is required if you are evaluating ENERGY STAR certified homes. Please consult the ENERGY STAR for New Homes Standard Version 12 Administrative Procedures for details on exam requirements.

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