James Bushart gets JobShadowed about his career as an energy auditor.  You can find him at www.missouricertifiedenergy.com and on his Twitter feed in the sidebar of this interview.  

What do you do for a living?  

I am a certified professional home inspector and energy auditor.

How would you describe what you do?  

I help home buyers make informed decisions regarding the purchase of a new home and I help home owners achieve the best results in addressing comfort, indoor air quality and energy efficiency issues in their home.

What does your work entail?

Observation, analysis and communication.

What’s a typical work week like?  

50% of my time is spent networking and marketing and the other 50% of my time is spent providing services to the consumer.

How did you get started?  

I spent time, professionally and personally, in a variety of home improvement projects and soon found myself being consulted by others on their purchases and projects.  I went to school and then went to work.

What do you like about what you do?  

Every home is different and presents a different set of challenges.  Fans of the show will know how much fun it can be to be a “CSI” for buildings.

What do you dislike?  

Dirty, damp crawl spaces filled with wildlife.

How do you make money/or how are you compensated?  

My clients pay me at the time I provide the service to them.

How much money do Energy Auditors make?

Energy auditors can make anywhere from $350 to $600 per audit, depending upon the size and style of the homes.

How much money did/do you make starting out as an Energy Auditor?

Starting out was slow and it supplemented my income as a home inspector by an average of $400 per week.

What education, schooling, or skills are needed to do this?

First, you must know enough about the construction of different homes to be able to know what you are looking at and looking for.  This information comes from experience and I would not recommend that anyone without sufficient experience in home construction try to diagnose or recommend solutions to comfort, health or energy efficiency issues in a home.  Second, you must be trained on the use of the diagnostic tools (blower doors, infrared cameras, moisture meters, etc) that you will use to collect your date.  Third, you must be trained and certified in communicating that data in a way that will be meaningful to the end user … your client.

What is most challenging about what you do?  

Staying current on new ways to interpret and communicate information.

What is most rewarding?

Positive results.

What advice would you offer someone considering this career?  

When you begin your business, there is no learning curve.  You first paying client is as much entitled to a complete, accurate and unbiased description of their home as your 1,000th client.  Don’t start until you know what you are doing.

How much time off do you get/take?

None, really.  When my body rests, my mind is still at work.

What is a common misconception people have about what you do?  

That government or utility company “rebates” and “incentives” actually have anything to do with energy efficiency.

What are your goals/dreams for the future?

To comfortably retire.

What else would you like people to know about your job/career?  

I enjoy it.