Eco Institution Releases New “Green Consultant” Online Training Course

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Eco Institution Releases New “Green Consultant” Online Training Course

Enhanced program aimed at fulfilling mandate for a national energy-efficiency workforce cited by a recent White House Task Force
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Thursday, November 5, 2009 - 10:00am

CONTENT: Press Release

(3BLMedia/theCSRfeed) San Diego, CA - November 5, 2009 - The Eco Institution, a San Diego-based environmental education and training firm, today announced the release of a new and enhanced “Green Consultant” certification and training course. The new online course is intended to make it easier than ever before for home-service professionals and other interested individuals to become Certified Green Consultants, and thereafter to deliver “Green Consulting” services to homeowners, businesses, and organizations in their neighborhoods and communities.

The new course builds on and replaces the Eco Institution’s initial Eco Consultant Certification course, which has been offered since early summer. The new course presents more detailed and advanced training content than was included in the original course, and focuses exclusively on strategies for reducing energy use, water use, and utility costs in homes and workplaces. The release of the enhanced course could not be timed more appropriately, as it responds directly to a recent call by the White House “Recovery Through Retrofit” Middle Class Task Force for greatly accelerated training of environmental professionals. The October 2009 report noted that “there are currently not enough skilled workers and green entrepreneurs to expand weatherization and efficiency retrofit programs on a national scale.”

“In recent months, our nation’s mission has become clear,” Kevin R. Hopkins, the course’s co-author, declared upon announcing the new training program. “Energy- and water-conservation efforts will succeed only if they are implemented and driven at the local level. But to achieve that goal, we literally need an ‘army of Green Consultants’ to visit the millions of homes and workplaces in America, and to help their occupants to save energy and water in the most effective and lasting ways possible.

“As a nation, we certainly have the ideas and initiative that this vital objective demands,” emphasized Mr. Hopkins, a Business Week contributing editor who also served as an economic, energy, and environmental advisor in the Reagan White House. “But now we need one thing more: we need the talent. We need people in every neighborhood and in every community in America who possess the knowledge and skills to bring this goal about. And that is exactly what the Eco Institution’s new Certified Green Consultant Course will provide.”

Responding to the White House Mandate

The new Certified Green Consultant Course has been designed and written to fully comply with the training parameters set forth in the White House’s “Recovery Through Retrofit” overview document. The Presidential report noted that “making American homes and buildings more energy-efficient presents an unprecedented opportunity for communities throughout the country… Home retrofits can potentially help people earn money, as home retrofit workers, while also helping them save money, by lowering their utility bills. By encouraging nationwide weatherization of homes, workers of all skill levels will be trained, engaged, and will participate in ramping up a national home retrofit market.”

The report went on to describe in detail the dimensions of the challenge—and the corresponding opportunity—that is facing the nation. “There are almost 130 million homes in this country,” the report observed. “Combined, they generate more than 20% of our nation's carbon dioxide emissions, making them a significant contributor to global climate change. Existing techniques and technologies in energy efficiency retrofitting can reduce home energy use by up to 40% per home and lower associated greenhouse gas emissions by up to 160 million metric tons annually by the year 2020. Furthermore, home energy-efficiency retrofits have the potential to reduce home energy bills by $21 billion annually, paying for themselves over time.”

The “Recovery Through Retrofit” initiative, which the White House will make more specific in coming months, also will include new national energy-efficiency standards for existing homes along with a program to expand the availability of so-called “green mortgages.” But the training-standards component remains a key centerpiece. “By implementing Recovery Through Retrofit’s recommendations,” the report concluded, “the Federal Government will lay the groundwork for a self-sustaining home energy-efficiency retrofit industry. This report provides a roadmap of how the Federal Government can use existing authorities and funds to unlock private capital and mobilize our communities.”

Saving Green by Living Green

Mr. Hopkins applauded the government’s efforts, noting that it was the key “missing piece” in the nation’s commitment to environmental protection and wiser energy use. “Homeowners and businesses in the United States and elsewhere have long been supportive of environmental initiatives, but have been frustrated by a lack of both knowledge and opportunities for living and operating in a more environmentally responsible fashion,” he said. “But thanks to the emerging Green Consultant profession, local residents and business owners can begin to really make a difference—right in their own neighborhoods and communities.”

That difference they can make means more than just doing a “good deed” for the planet. It also can translate into saving money. Indeed, the Eco Institution emphasizes that, in the difficult economy that has battered the United States and others developed countries in recent years, consumers and small businesses are more interested than ever before in saving money wherever they can—and that planetary consciousness needs to follow suit.

“It’s easy for someone who is passionate about protecting the environment to say that cost doesn’t matter,” says Mr. Hopkins. “And in the larger sense, maybe it doesn’t. But environmental protection and planetary preservation depend on people’s actually taking action. And like it or not, most people today—no matter how committed to the environment they might be—simply don’t have the thousands of extra dollars required to purchase a new hybrid car or to line their rooftops with pricey solar panels.”

With that fact in mind, the Eco Institution focuses its training efforts on helping future Green Consultants to demonstrate to their clients how “living green” and “saving green” go together. By undertaking simple, relatively inexpensive steps—from wiser usage of lighting, heating, cooling, and water to improved insulation and replacement of old appliances—some families can save up to $2,000 or more each year through the adoption of green-living practices, and many businesses can save much more. In addition, U.S. Federal tax credits for energy-efficient structural additions can save taxpayers up to an additional $1,500 in the coming tax year.

A Powerful New Approach to Energy- and Water-Efficiency

The Eco Institution’s Certified Green Consultant Training Course is aimed at both existing home-service professionals—ranging from real estate agents and home inspectors to interior designers, electricians, and plumbers—seeking to add a new line of business to their current professional practices, as well as other individuals (including career-changes, underemployed professionals, and local entrepreneurs) looking to generate extra income and to establish a foothold in a solid and promising next-generation career.

The Certified Green Consultant Course, which was co-authored by veteran energy executive Michelle L. Hopkins, is designed to be a no-nonsense “nuts and bolts” training guide for cost-efficiently saving energy and water at home and work. At the same time, the course (and the Eco Institution’s approach to “Green Consulting” in general) goes far beyond the more formulaic “energy audits” traditionally offered by utility companies and earlier-generation environmental training programs. “The Eco Institution’s new course will help Certified Green Consultants to become ‘trusted counselors’ to their residential and commercial clients, and to help guide them through the maze of technical and legal complexities that surround the practice of energy-efficiency and retrofitting,” Ms. Hopkins explained.

Ms. Hopkins previously served for 17 years in various senior executive capacities with Pacific Enterprises/Southern California Gas Company (now Sempra Energy), one of the nation’s largest energy utilities. Working closely with the company’s award-winning energy-auditing program, she witnessed first-hand how much more effective “trusted energy counselors” were in the field than were the more traditional checklist-driven energy auditors. “Whenever clients needed help in dealing with energy-efficiency or retrofitting issues, our people were always the ‘first call.’ We hope to create the same, powerful dynamic with this new generation of Eco Institution-trained Green Consultants.”

A Rich Course Curriculum

The Eco Institution’s Certified Green Consultant Training Course covers the full range of topics necessary for future Green Consultants to become locally recognized experts in residential and commercial energy- and water-efficiency. Among the topics covered by the 17-unit online course are:

•    Green Consulting as a profession
•    The residential ecosystem
•    Residential heating and cooling systems
•    Insulation and thermostats
•    Windows and doors
•    Household appliances and electronics
•    Water use and water heating
•    Energy-efficient lighting solutions
•    Alternative-energy options, including solar and wind
•    Green home design principles
•    Energy and water use in the workplace
•    Workplace-based recycling practices
•    Conducting Green Home and Green Workplace surveys
•    Marketing and selling Green Consulting services
•    Publishing and promoting Green Consulting services
•    Promoting Green Consulting services online

The Eco Institution’s Green Consultant certification process has been designed for maximum flexibility and adaptability to the needs of individual Green Consultant trainees. Taking advantage of the latest in web-based training technologies, the Certified Green Consultant Training Course is available online, and can be studied at the student’s own pace and on his or her own schedule. Each of the introductory course’s 17 units includes a detailed, easy-to-read text-based lesson, and is accompanied by email-based access to a professional Green Consulting Coach who will guide students through both the substantive and practical aspects of setting up and building their Green Consulting practice.

The Certified Green Consultant Training Course also includes a professionally designed business “Start Up Kit” intended to help Green Consultants to rapidly build their professional practices. Among the Kit’s more than two dozen components are a suite of home consulting, workplace consulting, and marketing and promotion tools that will enable Green Consultants to focus more time on the vital matters of client service and follow-up and less on the rote mechanics of running a business. The centerpiece of the Start Up Kit are comprehensive Green Home Survey and Green Workplace Surveys and Reports, that will enable Green Consultants to review homes and workplaces and to deliver their findings in a cost-efficient and consistent manner.

The Eco Institution operates its Green Consultant credentialing program as an educational and training network and not as a franchise. Specifically, the Eco Institution sets no fee structures that its trained and certified Green Consultants are required to charge and makes no guarantees of any specific income stream (although many Green Consultants and Eco Consultants currently earn from $100 to $400 per home or business survey, and several hundred dollars or more from follow-on work with the same client). Additionally, Green Consultants choose their company’s own name and location, set their own hours, and determine which specific services they will offer and how much they will charge. There are also no sales territories or sales quotas.  Eco Institution-trained Green Consultants keep 100% of whatever they earn from clients, and do not have to pay a “sales commission” or licensing fee to the Eco Institution for ongoing use of Eco Institution materials.

Signing Up for the Eco Consultant Certification Course

Signing up for the Eco Institution’s Certified Green Consultant Training Course is a simple and straightforward matter. Interested individuals should visit the Eco Institution’s Green Consultant web site at Alternatively, students may telephone the Eco Institution directly at (877) 235-3170

For more information regarding this release, please contact Kevin Hopkins at


Keywords: Eco Institution | Environmental Education | Green Consultant | Kevin Hopkins | Recovery Through Retrofit | green jobs

CONTENT: Press Release