Buildings, including our homes, account for 18 per cent of Canadas greenhouse gas emissions. To help reduce these emissions, the federal government has recently launched a green retrofit grant program to assist homeowners to improve the efficiency of their homes. The Canada Greener Homes Grant has been introduced to help homeowners make their homes more energy-efficient, create new jobs across Canada for Energy Advisors, grow Canadas domestic green supply chains, and help fight climate change. As well, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has indicated the intent to provide zero interest loans to homeowner energy improving retrofits. And Manitoba could soon be adopting newer versions of the building code that may require energy rating audits.
These measures will mean that Manitoba will have an increasing demand for Energy Advisors. Energy Advisors (EAs) are specialists in rating home energy efficiency and provide guidance to homeowners who are interested in improving their homes efficiency. EAs are registered by National Resources Canada (NRCan) to deliver EnerGuide Rating Systems (ERS) for new or existing homes. In short, an Energy Advisor is a third-party consultant who works closely with builders, renovators and homeowners to improve and measure the energy efficiency of a home and help reduce energy consumption through better practices and using energy-efficient technology. It is estimated that Manitoba has a demand for approximately 80 Energy Advisors over the next 2-7 years and beyond.
To meet this demand, Manitoba Environmental Industries Association (MEIA), in collaboration with Red River College Polytechnic and supporting partners including Efficiency Manitoba, Prairie House Performance Inc., Sustainable Buildings Manitoba, Manitoba Construction Sector Council, and Manitoba Home Builders Association, created the Registered Energy Advisor Training program. This part-time micro-credential training program delivered by Red River College Polytech provides a Made-in-Manitoba curriculum that is the first of its kind for post-secondary institutions. The first course for Registered Energy Advisor training was launched in September 2021 with 30 students enrolled.
Funding from NRCan and partnerships from aligning organizations will help build capacity for Energy Advisor training in Manitoba over the next three years. Additionally, with funding provided to this program, MEIA will support a portion of student registration costs and target recruitment from communities that traditionally have been underrepresented in the profession (i.e., individuals who identify as Indigenous, women, LGBTQ2S+, racialized, and persons with disabilities).
The Registered Energy Advisor program is one step toward the transition to increased energy efficiency in Manitoba. Canada has committed to recruit, train, and mentor new Energy Advisors across the country. This evaluation, performed by a Manitoba Registered Energy Advisor, gives homeowners a better understanding of how their home uses energy – and identifies retrofits to help improve energy efficiency. This program will strengthen and expand a knowledgeable, growing, and diverse workforce while ensuring consistent and professional services to homeowners in Manitoba.
If you are interested in more information on career opportunities as a Registered Energy Advisor, please visit MEIAs website at https://meia.mb.ca/certified-energy-advisor-training/. And homeowners looking for information on improving the energy efficiency of your home can visit www.nrcan.gc.ca.
Lanny McInnes is president of the Manitoba Home Builders Association.