Eighty-two hours earns a ‘green’ career

Bruce Turner had more than 15 years of experience in home renovation and remodeling. But with the downturn in the economy, his business was no longer as robust as it once had been.

So Turner did his research, decided that the best opportunities were in the “green” industry and enrolled in a class. After completing the Weatherization Energy Auditor certification course at Pellissippi State Community College, he now has a new career—and it’s more robust than even he expected.

Thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Turner is one of the estimated 87,000 Americans who are benefiting professionally from nearly $8 billion in funding dedicated to weatherization and energy efficiency. State and local governments send independent, licensed and insured contractors such as Turner to residences in order to perform home energy audits for eligible low-income households. The audit is conducted at no cost to the resident.

Turner says he stays busy doing audits for programs such as the East Tennessee Human Resource Agency and Blount County Community Action Agency. His new career is thriving, he’s helping families save money long term on their energy bills, and his work is part of the overall greening of the American energy industry.

The Weatherization Energy Auditor course is available either online or via traditional classroom instruction. The online course consists of 50 hours and is instructor supported. The in-class option has 82 class hours and includes a hands-on audit performance.

The course is one of more than 30 offered by Pellissippi State in the field of green/renewable energy. Since the college is an affiliate of the Building Performance Institute, students completing specific courses may receive their BPI certification upon passing written and field tests.

Brad Coburn, director of Industrial and Contract Training for Pellissippi State’s Business and Community Services Division, can provide additional information. He may be reached at 865-694-6666 or bwcoburn@pstcc.edu.

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