Excellent question. The Energy Analysis field has matured enough that there are now Analysts with different skill sets and backgrounds that are finding work in the field.
Up until recently, I'd say that a background in construction would be a necessity to properly understand and translate what is found in the field into a successful software model of a building. And I believe building experience is definitely beneficial.
But I'm starting to see a few coming into Energy Analysis from an information background such as yours.
- One guy I know is creating a business model where he offers to do all the data entry and modeling for Home Performance Contractors who don't want the steep learning curve of doing their own modeling, on a 'per job' basis.
- Another took a position with a big contracting company that's breaking into the Building Performance field.
I strongly suggest you take the full BPI (Building Performance Institute) training as a foundation, then move onto the HERS II training which is where you will learn to model a building.
Currently, EnergyPro is the only software package approved by California State for their Rebate program and is also commonly used for Title 24 energy modeling.
- PG&E regularly offers classes in EnergyPro.
- There may be other software options soon.
Take the classes, follow an Analyst around for a few Audits as an intern, and network, network.
Since you're in California, if you want more advice on options, write me at david (at) advanced-hp.com.