Home Performance Insider
Jul. 1, 2015

Residential Energy Efficiency Programs Are Vital To America's Energy Future
Home Performance Coalition
The Home Performance Coalition questioned recent criticisms of residential low-income programs after a report was issued last week, causing an industry-wide conversation about the Weatherization Assistance Program.

“The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is critical to providing healthy, energy-efficient housing for low-income families across the country,” said Brian Castelli, President and CEO of the Home Performance Coalition. “Recent criticisms of this program in the E2e Project report fail to recognize the full value of energy efficiency programs. By weighing only the costs and few of the many benefits of energy efficiency, these criticisms of the WAP fall into a trap of drawing conclusions based on unbalanced analysis.”

The WAP program is designed to improve the quality of life for low-income residents so that they can live through bad weather and remain in their homes. The program fixes homes that have deferred maintenance and often major comfort and health problems by closing the leaks around doors and windows and making other sensible and cost-effective upgrades. Without WAP, states and utilities must tap limited dollars to help poor families meet their energy needs.

The NRDC points out in its staff blog: “If you read the study details, the authors are clear that these research finding are not widely applicable to energy efficiency, or even necessarily to other weatherization programs. However, the news release was not so careful and as a result, many news stories are reaching the wrong conclusion. In fact, low-income programs serve a much broader purpose than just maximizing energy savings per dollar spent or with the primary goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They are focused on improving the health and well-being of low income residents, especially those most vulnerable, such as children and the elderly.”

Martin Kushler, senior fellow at ACEEE, had spot on analysis on this issue: “ACEEE's most recent review of energy efficiency program costs similarly found that average cost per saved kWh from residential and low-income programs combined across 9 states was 3.7 cents/kWh. This is less than half the cost of electricity from a new power plant, and obviously very cost effective. And without including any monetized value for CO2 reductions, the CO2 reductions are essentially a ‘free" extra benefit.’”

HPC has worked on recommendations to improve the weatherization program as well as the analysis of energy programs across the country to advance best practices and more engagement with the private sector to leverage public monies and create jobs. HPC has also worked to develop recommendations to advance the Resource Value Framework as a guide to valuing energy efficiency programs. (See more at http://www.homeperformance.org.) HPC’s research, policy, and conference agenda have aimed to help members of the industry thrive and we are disappointed that a study making such broad claims would rely on a limited number of perspectives.More

New Feature: EE Insights
Home Performance Coalition
The Home Performance Coalition is dedicated to strengthening the residential energy efficiency industry and one way we can accomplish this is by fostering conversations that inspire growth across all professions in the field. We want to hear from you – what are your challenges and goals? What is your vision for the future of the industry? Let's talk about those topics and more as we work together to build a strong collective future. Nate Adams of Energy Smart Home Performance in Ohio is the first professional featured in this new column.

When did you get into the energy efficiency industry and why?

It was an accident. In 2005, I joined an insulation distributor in inside sales. I was promoted to outside sales a year later and sold to new home insulation contractors increasing my territory's sales from $400 thousand to $2.75 million in under two years. My job unfortunately evaporated in the housing crisis, so I started Energy Smart to insulate existing homes. I soon learned about home performance. From there, I met Ted Kidd and he taught me the power of the Sandler Consultative approach. Together, we've honed most of the rough edges off the process, and now it's like clockwork.

What has the biggest challenge been for your business?

Getting paid to do high quality work. I stopped contracting largely because I wanted to do better work than I could get clients to pay for with a traditional sales model. Consumers are not interested in paying substantially more for quality work unless you can prove it's better.

How did you overcome it?

We slow the sales process down substantially. There are typically three visits to the home before we even finalize the project. We get paid for all of them - they are not a marketing cost. Multiple visits give us time to find out precisely what the homeowner is trying to solve, and what is worth to solve it. We can educate them over time about building science and how it offers the solution, giving them a chance to absorb and internalize it, and increasing the value of solving the problem in their minds.

By slowing down, we change the framework from "Us vs. Them" to a collaborative effort to solve the problem. I've always tried to get here in previous jobs and find it to be very satisfying for everyone involved. Working together as partners, we solve our client's problems. Clients spend more on the projects and are more satisfied with results. It's just a better way. Our new projects are routinely in the $15-30 thousand range up from $2,500 when insulation contracting.More

Sign Up Today: Online Educational Program Offered on ASHRAE 62.2
Home Performance Coalition
Rick Karg of Residential Energy Dynamics (RED) is instructing a unique online education program being spearheaded by a partnership between his company, the Home Performance Coalition, Home Energy Magazine, and HeatSpring. The six-week online-only course is a comprehensive, hands-on training opportunity for professionals. Karg has been a member of the ASHRAE 62.2 ventilation committee since 2007 and heads the existing dwellings group. He served as the lead editor of ASHRAE’s Guideline 24-2015, a document that supplements the ASHRAE 62.2 standard. This course will take place Oct. 19-Nov. 27.

Karg will focus on helping participants learn best practices for calculating ventilation requirements, optimizing equipment selection, and understanding where the standards are headed. The course includes many calculators and design tools for winning and completing jobs faster and with greater confidence.More

Join Upcoming TEC Webinars
Home Performance Coalition
The Energy Conservatory (TEC) is hosting the following upcoming webinars:
Wednesday, July 22
1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Central time
Exhaust Fan Flow Meter Webinar

Nothing beats the value, simplicity and accuracy of using the Exhaust Fan Flow meter to measure the amount of air flow going through an exhaust fan. This webinar will step you through the test procedure for using this device. We will also talk about options for measuring flow through kitchen range hoods. Participants will be eligible to receive 1 BPI CEU. Click here to register. More

HP Works Opportunities
Home Performance Coalition
BPI is hiring! Job seekers: check out the companies that are currently recruiting for a range of positions on HP Works, the home performance and weatherization industry's jobs board! View these opportunities now.More

Bailey Family Earns Bragging Rights
Home Energy Magazine
Our attempt to improve the energy efficiency of our home began in 2008, after the electrical portion of our utility bill soared over $400. We had long been resigned to a steep energy bill, in part because we have a 40-foot solar-heated swimming pool, which has to be filtered at least four or five hours per day even in winter. But this is still a lot of money! It was particularly galling that because of our high level of consumption, we were paying 39 per kilowatt-hour. But what could we do? Where was all the electricity going? There was no way to tell. More

High Court Deals Blow To Clean Energy
USA Today
The Supreme Court handed down a major blow for clean energy companies by striking down a controversial clean air act. Shares of the iShares Global Clean Energy exchange traded fund fell 32 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $11.02 following the decision. The Cleantech Everywhere portfolio of stocks created by Motif Investing is also down 2.8 percent. More

The Common Goals of the Pope and Clean Energy
The Energy Collective
Pope Francis turned a keen eye toward the environment and the problem of climate change with his encyclical, "Laudato Si" ("Praised Be"). As a clean energy advocate, I'm heartened that Pope Francis recognizes the need to transform our energy system. He writes not as a scientist or politician, but as a pastor and spiritual leader.More