close window

BPI News


BPI CEO Larry Zarker Announces Planned Retirement This Fall

posted at 2024-06-13 13:10:00

Saratoga Springs, NY: The Building Performance Institute announced today that its Chief Executive Officer Larry Zarker plans to retire in the fall of this year.  With over 40 years of experience in the residential buildings sector, Larry has managed the national expansion of BPI’s standards, credentialing and quality assurance programs since 2006.  Under his leadership BPI’s network of independent training organizations (BPI Test Centers) has expanded nationwide from four to 110 organizations, while BPI’s active certifications have increased from 1,000 to more than 16,700 today. 

Larry oversaw the creation of BPI’s Home Energy Professional certifications, including Energy Auditor and Quality Control Inspector, in support of the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program quality assurance goals.  Larry has also been a key driver of industry efforts to combine the principles of healthy housing with energy performance: in 2015 he led the development of the Healthy Home Evaluator (HHE) certification and in 2018 the Healthy Housing Principles (HHP) certificate of knowledge, to address the impacts housing has on the health of occupants.  

“Larry Zarker will have a lasting impact on BPI’s legacy,” said BPI Board Chair Amanda Hatherly. “Throughout his tenure, Larry has been a tireless advocate for the house-as-a-system approach, ensuring that the workforce has the knowledge and skills to deliver high quality energy analysis and retrofit services, and that practical standards are in place to deliver the credentials that verify these workers’ knowledge and skills.”

"BPI standards and certifications have historically focused on combustion safety in homes," said Kevin Kennedy, a nationally recognized healthy housing expert. "With the development of the Healthy Home Evaluator certification, Larry significantly expanded BPI's focus to include the healthy homes strategies and to add the Keep It principles of clean, dry, pest-free, contaminant-free, safe, ventilated, comfortable, and maintained as part of new certifications. That change was critically important and will make a big difference in improving health outcomes for families."

BPI’s Chief Operating Officer, Lynn Franz, said, “Thank you, Larry, for your unwavering commitment and guidance, as it has been a cornerstone of BPI’s success.   As you retire, we honor your 20+ years of exemplary leadership and service.  Here’s to a retirement filled with happiness, health, and new adventures.”

BPI sat down with Larry to get his point of view on where the industry is heading, his proudest achievements with BPI, and his own next steps.
Q&A with Larry Zarker

BPI: What do you see as the top priorities for the industry in the coming years?

Larry Zarker: First, the home performance industry has made some progress on diversifying its workforce – attracting women and people of color. Now, with the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) poised to expand demand for home performance services like never before, we need to do everything possible to attract people from disadvantaged communities to careers in home performance. The current workforce needs to grow exponentially to meet demand for electrification as we decarbonize our homes. We must find ways to attract and retain men and women who have traditionally not been included in emerging industries like renewable energy, and ensure they have the training and credentials needed to succeed.  We have developed a Recruitment Toolkit with funding from DOE/PNNL for training organizations to use in recruiting this diversified new workforce into the existing home retrofit market. 

There is also a huge need for the nation to address the adverse health impacts of the homes we live in. For example, childhood asthma is a national epidemic exacerbated by poor indoor air quality.  We need a workforce able to diagnose and resolve the housing conditions that trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory problems.

BPI: What are the most pressing skills or credentials gaps in the industry that needs to be addressed?

Larry Zarker: Multifamily housing has always faced steep challenges to implementing whole building energy upgrades. We know that low-income families in multifamily buildings carry disproportionately large energy burdens compared to single family households, in part due to the lack of a workforce adequately trained in multifamily energy upgrades. BPI is working to update its Multifamily Building Analyst (MFBA) credential to support a qualified workforce. I hope as we move forward, BPI will work with a wide variety of workforce development groups to break out this training and credential from its niche position to a mainstream credential in the home performance industry.

BPI: Looking back, what are you most proud of during your tenure at BPI?

Larry Zarker: Eleven years ago we delivered a winning proposal to DOE/NREL to create Home Energy Professional certifications for DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).  We continue that work today, providing the certifications through a national network of BPI Test Centers accredited by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC).  I am so proud of our work to support the credentialing of contractors who provide energy upgrade support to low-income families who need it most.

A few years later, I was approached to create a reference guide and certificate of knowledge for the home inspector community.  I agreed on the spot -- the Building Science Principles (BSP) Reference Guide and Certificate of Knowledge grew out of that initiative.   The BSP Reference Guide is by far our most popular publication and the BSP Certificate of Knowledge our best selling certificate of knowledge exam.

Then I was approached by industry legends like Kevin Kennedy, Joe Medosch, and Rick Hall to create a credential for healthy housing.  I agreed and we moved forward with a process to create the Healthy Home Evaluator Certification. Subject matter experts from throughout the industry came together to develop the scope and knowledge, skills, and abilities for the credential.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development pitched in for us to have a curriculum developed that could be shared with BPI Test Centers across the country.   We followed that by creating a Healthy Housing Principles reference guide and certificate of knowledge for community health workers, in-home nurses and others who work with families to address home health hazards.

BPI: What are your plans during retirement?

Larry Zarker: I’m passionate about ensuring that buildings support our best health rather than undermine it, so I will continue to consult with clients on healthy housing issues and the improvement of the credentialing process for healthy housing work.    I also look forward to gardening and enjoying travel with my wife Leslie.

Larry’s background

Prior to his tenure at BPI Larry served as Vice President of Marketing at NAHB Research Center, beginning there in 1983. At NAHB he built seven national research homes in the NAHB National Research Home Park focused on the development of new technologies for housing.  He also oversaw the development of 10 “New American Homes”, an initiative to feature the latest innovations at NAHB’s annual International Builders’ Show over a ten year period.   Larry holds a Master’s degree in Science, Technology and Public Policy from George Washington University and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Dartmouth College.

BPI Executive Search

BPI has selected executive search firm Non-Profit Resources to lead the search for Larry’s successor. Larry and BPI’s Board of Directors will work closely with the search committee to find the next CEO and ensure a seamless leadership transition. 

About BPI
Building Performance Institute, Inc (BPI) is the nation's premier standards development and credentialing organization for residential energy auditing and upgrade work. BPI’s mission is to provide the benefits of home performance to the nation’s homeowners through best practice standards, credentials and quality assurance services for the home performance and weatherization industry.
BPI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1993. It is accredited by the American National Standards Institute, Inc. (ANSI) as a developer of American National Standards and by the ANSI National Accreditation Board under ISO/IEC 17024 as a certifying body for the Energy Auditor professional certification.