The Energy Out West conference is held every other year and began in 1996 when a group of people doing weatherization work in the Northwest thought they could help each other do it better. The current president of Energy Out West (EOW) is Mimi Burbage, who should be familiar to readers of Home Energy and anyone in weatherization. Mimi brings that independent, Alaska, straight talk style to whatever she does, from heading the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation to her work for EOW. This year the conference is in Boise, Idaho, which some people call the Northern Austin and I can see their point. It’s not just about potatoes around here. Good food, good music, and great public art are in abundance.

The core conference began this morning, after coffee and scones, with some introductions and welcome by Carol Gates, from DOE’s Golden Field Office. Carol recounted some of the successes of the last few years and WAP’s part in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. Here are some brag facts:
  • More than 700,000 homes weatherized that will save $6.6 billion over the life of the measures; or $350 million each year.
  • WAP ARRA efforts created the third highest job numbers, at 13,230 as of the 4th quarter of 2011.
  • 377 MBtu of energy saved over the life of the measures; or 19 million MBtu per year.
The keynote speaker was Chris Gardner, the real life version of the man the actor Will Smith played in the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness.” He is funny, wise, original, and very memorable. He does a much better job of being himself than Will Smith did. He somehow integrates a very healthy positive self regard, honesty, compassion, and deep humility. Unique and inspirational.
It was a full day and I didn’t come close to taking in everything that was offered. Sue White of American Indian Professional Services, Inc., as she has done for years, talked about the financial side of running a weatherization agency. (She recieved the EOW President's award—see photo.) Thomas Brunet of California American Water put the fear-of-drought in all his listeners. He highlighted Monterey, California for using half as much water as they used only several years ago, through the outreach he did to encourage conservation, and by the city implementing a tiered payment system. The city uses about 2.5 kWh to move a unit of water from the source to the user. Compare that to LA, which uses almost 7 kWh to move the same unit of water. Then Bob Scott of the National Association of State Community Services Providers (NASCSP) depressed us, but not too much, by recounting how poorly the WAP program is being treated by the current dysfunctional Congress. He announced free beer at the reception after his talk, provided by Saturn Resources Management, and promised more hope for tomorrow.
- Jim Gunshinan
This blog originally appeared on
Photo caption: (from left to right) DOE's Carol Gates; Sue White, EOW President's Award winner; and EOW President Mimi Burbage. Photo by Dene Breakfield.

Views: 169


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

Join Home Energy Pros

Comment by Todd Hoener on May 3, 2012 at 8:46am

EOW is a working and training conference combined with opportunities to meet and connect to some of the earliest weatherization gurus and advocates as well as discover the next generation of building scientists. It's also a lot of fun. Glad to see Jim there again.


  • Add Videos
  • View All


Latest Activity

Benny hani replied to Benny hani's discussion Manual J online
"Thanks Bob"
6 hours ago
Benny hani replied to Benny hani's discussion Manual J online
"Thank you Isaac"
6 hours ago
Bob Blanchette commented on Amber Vignieri's blog post Even with Polar Vortex, Hourly Pricing Participants Saved
"Looks like the days of paying a fixed amount per KWh are rapidly coming to an end. Many utilities…"
7 hours ago
Bob Blanchette replied to Benny hani's discussion Manual J online
"Be sure the size that you ACCURATELY calculate actually gets installed. Often…"
8 hours ago
Bob Blanchette replied to Sean Lintow Sr's discussion Water Saver or Gimmick? in the group Best Practices (Residential)
"The problem is these devices NEVER pay for themselves. Water is cheap, about $3 per 1,000 gallons…"
8 hours ago
Bud Poll replied to Rob Madden's discussion Blower Door Testing on Energy Star v3 home
"Where was the blower set up, front door, other?  Was if located in an unobstructed area, not a…"
20 hours ago
David N. Armington liked John Poole's discussion Two Part Epoxy and Repair of Structural Wood
David N. Armington joined John Poole's group

Historic Home

Historic and vintage homes are significant to our cultural heritage, yet often lack energy…See More

© 2016   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service