Have you (or a member of your team) ever shown up to perform a lighting audit of a building, and as you were signing in at the guardhouse or reception desk, noticed some of your competitors had been there to do the exact same thing just a day or two before?
It’s not unusual for an organization to welcome multiple auditors into their facilities as they search for a lighting retrofitter. As a retrofitter, you’re constantly up against stiff competition. The challenge is to differentiate yourself.
Retrofit certifications can help.
Earlier in my professional life I worked in a different sector of the energy industry, but I faced the same stiff competition. However, I discovered I had an immediate advantage: I’m a certified Chartered Industrial Gas Consultant (CIGC).
My CIGC certification was (and still is) recognized as the top energy management certification in the natural gas industry. I found that mentioning my certification instantly gave me credibility with customers and potential customers.
More than that, certification helped me quickly build a rapport with the people I met. Many of them were certified energy managers or engineers. My certification – and the expertise that came with it – gave us common ground from which to start building a relationship.
When I showed up at a plant to meet with a client, my certification said, “You’re in good hands. All of your questions and concerns will be answered.”
I’m in the energy-efficient lighting field now, and about two years ago, I started thinking about how retrofitters could use professional certification to build their knowledge, enhance their credibility, and distinguish themselves in the eyes of customers. That thinking led to the SnapCount Certification Program (which I’ll describe farther down in this post).
Retrofit Certification Options
The SnapCount Certification is one of the newest certification options available in the retrofit industry, but it’s not the only one. Depending on their experience, interests, and goals, lighting professionals might pursue certification such as:
- Certified Lighting Efficient Professional (CLEP), from the Association of Energy Engineers.
- Certified Lighting Management Consultant (CLMC), from the International Association of Lighting Management Companies.
- Lighting Certified (LC), from the National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professions.
- Certified Energy Manager (CEM), Certified Energy Auditor (CEA), Energy Efficiency Practitioner (EEP), or Certified Business Energy Professional (BEP), all from the Association of Energy Engineers.
The requirements for each certification program vary. All require passing an exam of some type. Some programs include mandatory training. Most have fees. Follow the links above to learn more.
Why Do Retrofit Certifications Matter?
In my opinion, no worthwhile certification should be easy to get. The idea, after all, is to set the top-tier professionals apart from the rest.
I also find that many clients (some of whom hold certifications themselves) recognize the rigor that goes into becoming certified. A retrofit certification shows that you went above and beyond your daily work routine to better yourself as a professional and to serve your clients and employers with a higher level of quality.
Besides establishing your credibility and helping build a rapport with customers, a retrofit certification may help connect you to more opportunities. One of the reasons we developed the SnapCount Certification Program is because nearly every week, one of our users will contact us asking to be connected to a good auditor proficient in SnapCount. The certification program gives us a ready pool of qualified auditors we know our customers can count on.
As we’ve written before on this blog, the general labor shortage in the construction industry is hitting the retrofitting business particularly hard. Retrofitters are looking for good people now, and certification shows you’re several steps ahead on the learning curve.
From a human resources standpoint, certification holders are people who value education and professional growth. Certification programs are opportunities to engage employees in a learning path that fulfills your organization’s mission and values.
I want to talk about the SnapCount Certification Program specifically, now. If you’re reading this article, chances are that’s the retrofit certification you’re most interested in.
There’s a lot you can do with SnapCount: manage a lighting project, source materials, build quotes and proposals, and so on. But when we introduced our certification program about a year ago, we decided to start with one of the most critical elements of the retrofitting workflow, the audit.
The SnapCount Network Accredited Professional – Auditor, or SNAP-A, certification covers general lighting concepts, general auditing practices, and the web and mobile versions of the SnapCount auditing module. We plan to build off the base of SNAP-A certification and add certification for other modules in the near future.
To qualify for SNAP-A certification, you must:
- Have been a SnapCount Audit module user for at least one year.
- Have submitted an application.
- Have a nomination form completed on your behalf.
- Study preparation materials that include a training outline, videos, and handbooks.
- Understand application-based audit scenarios, answering 10 questions based on the prompt.
- Sit for and pass an online exam.
If you pass the exam, you earn the right to call yourself SNAP-A certified – for the next three years, at least (after which you must renew your certification). During those three years, you must participate in various continuing education activities designed to keep you up to date on changes in the software and the lighting industry.
A SNAP-A Retrofit Certification Success Story
The SnapCount Certification Program is still in its early days, and interest, participation and steadily building along the number of proud graduates. One is Steve LoJacono, national lighting business developing manager at Graybar.
I spoke with Steve recently, and he told me he feels SNAP-A certification – along with a host of other retrofit certifications – helps give him “street cred” when he shows up to do an audit.
“Once the customers see you have an alphabet of initials after your last name, they have a sense that perhaps this isn't your first day,” Steve said.
Steve also told me he plans to encourage other members of his “lighting gurus group” at Graybar to pursue professional certification. “In my mind, certification makes you qualified to proceed to the next level,” he said. “It’s an ongoing process that helps you improve your skills and stay on top of technology such as SnapCount.”
If you’re interested in proceeding to the next level, click here to contact a member of the SnapCount certification team.