Certified Energy Analyst (CEA) Program

March 23, 2016

The Certified Energy Analyst (CEA) program helps drive overall compliance with California’s Energy Code. CEA certification signifies that a consultant has the knowledge necessary to accurately apply the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards, and the commitment to providing quality service to their clients. With these points of emphasis, the CEA program has served as both an educational pathway and an incentive for energy analysts to improve their skills and knowledge of California’s energy code.

The backbone of this program is a set of technically challenging certification exams, which are created and maintained by a large team of subject matter experts. As project managers, we at the Benningfield Group lead this team’s efforts, overseeing the process from design and implementation to maintenance.

To create defensible exams, we first consulted with educational designers, psychometricians, subject matter experts and the trade association for California’s Energy Consultants, CABEC. After developing the exam process, we built a pool of multiple choice and first of its kind modeling exam questions that we extensively tested for performance and technical accuracy. After development and testing, the team then worked through a rigorous process to arrive at a reasonable pass/fail cut score.

We also coordinate test administration, which includes everything from selecting test sites to analyzing exam results as well as monitoring overall exam and individual item performance, maintaining and updating items as necessary. These efforts have also been supported by our software team, who built an online exam portal and repository where candidates can upload files for grading and review and an online item repository that is used to track the history and ownership of each exam question.

The results of this program have a far reach. By improving the skills, knowledge and competency of participating energy analysts, their building models and compliance documentation will likely become more consistent, clear and accurate. As a result, the design community will be more likely to understand code requirements, empowering them to design buildings that meet and exceed code. With fewer mistakes to correct, code enforcers will be able to focus on key inspection components, bringing the entire region closer to full overall compliance.