ACI National Home Performance Conference: Setting the Pace for Change

This year ACI held its largest ever national home performance conference in Baltimore, Md.  It was the largest in the number of workshop sessions: over 195 sessions, in 25 thematic tracks; with the largest number of exhibitors (115) and sponsors (48).  

The three themes stood out: a) keep it simple (from the homeowners perspective); b) there is no silver bullet; and c) HVAC is jumping into home performance, maybe not head first, but at least with both feet in a measured way. 

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Time and time again I heard repeated the finding that most middle-class homeowners aren't motivated to make energy efficiency upgrades because they care about reducing carbon emissions or saving some money on their electrical bill.  They care most about the comfort, health and safety of their home and their family.  If we can solve these problems and save money, that's icing on the cake, but that's not what closes the deal.  And speaking of closing the deal, that's the other side of simplifying the kitchen table equation: how to make it easier for contractors to sell and perform energy efficiency upgrades.  If there are too many bureaucratic hurdles or conflicting messages, contractors won't be able to do their job.

NO SILVER BULLETS

This is flip side of KISS:  like the iPhone and other high tech/high touch successes, it may look easy to use, but you know it takes many hours of planning, coordination and implementation to get an iPhone app or iTunes song to upload and play correctly.  Selling and installing residential energy efficiency measures isn't as simple as putting PV on the roof, or installing a new piece of equipment.  Like people, every home is unique, and while you may be able to characterize homes in a certain neighborhood or vintage, there is no easy one-size-fits-all solution. 

At the Home Energy Leadership Summit, U.S. House Representative Pete Welch reminded us that efficiency has to be at the heart of solving our energy problems. "It's a place for common ground...at a time when congressional members are looking for something useful to do--this has got to be it!", said Rep. Welch, while also admitting that energy "leadership is coming up from communities who are deciding to act and do everything they can do now."

HVAC TO HOME PERFORMANCE: A GAME CHANGER

More so than in past ACI Nationals, there was a strong presence of HVAC contractors, and a growing realization that it doesn't make sense to continue installing high efficiency, zone controlled HVAC systems in houses with leaky building envelopes.  As Mike Rogers, with ABM Energy, stated at the Summit, HVAC contractors visit 60,000-90,000 homes per day.  HVAC contractors can build on familiarity, trust, and the costs already incurred in the home.  Mike says that GreenHomesAmerica "teaches our techs to look for opportunities during their routine HVAC service visits."

Carrier announced their MyHomeEnergyExperts.com program for their factory authorized dealers, and ACI offered a day-long pre-conference workshop on HVAC Contractor Opportunities in Home Performance, sponsored by Carrier.  Jesse Unruh, with ABC Cooling in Fresno, Calif., spoke about the culture shift and profitability of bringing a whole house systems approach under one roof.

Ely Jacobsohn with DOE spoke about the evolving HVAC and envelope pathways to building health and safety improvements as part of Home Performance with Energy Star version 2.0.  Which comes first--envelope improvements or HVAC improvements?  Hopefully homeowners will do both!  Read more about the proposed changes for v.2 and post your comments online on the Building America Document Review tool

WEATHERIZATION STANDARD BEARERS

Many speakers acknowledged the amazing achievements of the weatherization workers around the US who stepped up to the ARRA challenge and retrofitted so many more American homes.  The Weatherization Assistance Program set the bar for measurable home performance practice.

Thanks to the ACI staff for another great National Home Performance conference.  As ACI CEO Amy Fazio said in the opening plenary, "It’s now our choice to align our efforts, interests and direction to get real results real quick."  What part will you play? Give ACI your feedback at acinational.org/summit-survey. See you next year in Denver!

Views: 204

Tags: ACI, home, performance

Comment

You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros

Home Energy Pros

Home Energy Pros was founded by the developers of Home Energy Saver Pro (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy,) and brought to you in partnership with Home Energy magazine.  Home Energy Pros is sponsored by the Better Buildings Residential Network.

Latest Activity

David Baerg replied to Bachi Brunato's discussion Modeling a Gas Fireplace in Wrightsoft
"I would not include it.  Given that it is likely much less efficient than the gas furnace, you…"
35 minutes ago
Ryan Miller posted a discussion

First NC and now GA - Building Performance Associations taking shape

Hi All - Just a quick "this is what we're up to" for the community.The NC Building Performance…See More
43 minutes ago
Bachi Brunato posted a discussion

Modeling a Gas Fireplace in Wrightsoft

Any advice on how to factor a gas fireplace into a Wrightsoft Manual J model? Seems like it would…See More
44 minutes ago
Ryan Miller added a discussion to the group Job Board
Thumbnail

Wouldn't it make more sense to post jobs on a single board nationally?

Home Performance Coalition has one. Other organizations have one.  We have one for North Carolina. …See More
46 minutes ago
Profile IconRyan Miller and David M Cohen joined Diane Chojnowski's group
Thumbnail

Job Board

This group is for posting jobs related to all aspects of the home performance industry including…See More
48 minutes ago
robert jones posted a status
"Does anybody have audit tools for sale in the Albany NY area? Give me a call at 518-209-5912"
1 hour ago
Bachi Brunato joined Kyle Brown's group
Thumbnail

Wrightsoft - Manual J / Manual D

If you use Wrightsoft to calculate loads or design ducts, you likely have questions.  Get answers…See More
8 hours ago
Colin Genge commented on Greg Labbe's blog post Technical Tape Desecration
"i don't have a picture of it, but my Honda Accord's windshield was replaced and it leaked…"
12 hours ago

© 2015   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service