Update on ICAST’s Heat Pump Training Program

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Update on ICAST’s Heat Pump Training Program

Audrey Knox | Workforce Training Manager

Ms. Knox manages the implementation of ICAST’s workforce training initiatives in collaboration with ICAST’s partners across the country.

Stakeholders across the country recognize that heat pumps are the future of HVAC and domestic hot water. Thankfully, we see growing awareness and adoption of these technologies—note, for example, that heat pumps have outsold gas furnaces for two years in a row. ICAST’s focus for these systems is scaling them in multifamily properties, where adoption lags behind single-family homes. Additionally, we are continuing our efforts to train contractors to design, install, and service heat pump HVAC solutions. The Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law have catalyzed an intense demand for workers; one recent report estimates a worker shortage of 1.1 million people across 20 occupations crucial to the Biden administration’s clean energy agenda.

ICAST is currently in the third year of its U.S. Dept. of Energy-funded program to develop and disseminate a curriculum on cold-climate air source heat pumps (ccASHPs). We and our partners have long understood that supporting the evolution of the HVAC industry and meeting the needs of the beneficial electrification movement necessitates good training opportunities for workers at all experience levels. Designing and maintaining heat pump systems that meet the unique needs of each home or property is vital to the technology’s success, and contractors must be equipped with the right tools and resources to ensure they can deliver quality installations.

Buoyed with our ccASHP curriculum, program participants are set up in beginner or upskilling training pathways, including free access to industry certifications such as EPA 608 and BPI credentials. Further, trainees can take advantage of valuable resources through our partners in this effort. For example, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP)—a regional nonprofit that works to accelerate energy efficiency, electrification, and grid flexibility in the building sector—recently released new and improved heat pump sizing tools that contractors can access for their projects. NEEP is a champion for electrification in multifamily properties and has lent its expertise to developing ICAST’s curriculum.

ICAST’s training is free for participants. The coursework in English and Spanish is available via app and web browser through a mobile-optimized platform. To sign up for free training and/or learn more, contact Audrey Knox: audreyk@icastusa.org. Readers can also access some of our other heat pump resources—created for MF owners and managers, policymakers, regulators, utilities, energy efficiency program designers, and implementers—here.

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