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Highlights from the 2018 HPC National Home Performance Conference in Philadelphia

Posted by Jim Gunshinan on May 01, 2018
Highlights from the 2018 HPC National Home Performance Conference in Philadelphia
Solar panels on the roof of one of Tim McDonalds buildings in Philly. The cells are somewhat transparent, and generate energy from the sun and from lighted reflected off the roof.

This year’s HPC National Home Performance Conference was a rich ground for learning, meeting old friends and new, and gathering good blog material!

The sessions I attended on Health and Housing were fantastic. It’s good to see the home performance community becoming more and more identified with Healthy Homes. Kudos to Kevin Kennedy, Director of Environmental Health at Children’s Mercy Hospital and Clinics in Kansas City, Missouri, and Joe Medosch, Executive Director at Healthy Home Environmental Association in Cummings, Georgia, for teaming up on a great session about combining energy efficiency work with healthy homes work. They also teamed up in a hilarious “TED Talk”, but more on that later.

Tom White, my old boss at Home Energyand now Sustainability & Asset Manager for Eden Housing in Hayward, California, set up a tour with architect Timothy McDonald of multifamily buildings that Tim designed and built for the urban landscape of Philadelphia. From the green roofs to the 1,000-foot geothermal wells, and interesting facades, it was a great tour. Philadelphia is undergoing a building boom and people like Tim are doing it right.

There was a session called “What Were They Thinking? Stories from the Field and Their Remedies” where weatherization folks talked with great humor about the Raccoons, ghosts, illegal drugs, weapons, and devil-worshipping residents and other interesting things they’ve encountered on the job. Moderator Amanda Hatherly, Director for the Energy Smart Academy in Santa Fe, and panelists Anthony Cox, Building Science Manager at Community Housing Partners,  and J West, Training Manager at CEDA in Chicago, kept it moving and also made sure of audience participation. You just never know what’s inside the next house you visit.

Debra Little, a consultant for Home Performance and Valuation and a California Certified Appraiser, organized a series of “Ted Talks” for Wednesday evening of the conference. There were 14 presenters and their talks ranged from 2 minutes to twenty or so, and they were all well done. Suzanne Harmelink, Senior Manager at the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation (WECC) talked about and showed some nice photos of people she calls “Weatherization Heroes”. As I mentioned above, Kevin Kennedy and Joe Medosch teamed up for one talk. Kevin dressed in a box and became “A Source” of information on healthy homes. Kind of like a consultant in a box. David Keefe, Energy Consultant for the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, gave a poignant and forceful presentation on the “war” we are fighting for the health of the planet. In his home state of Vermont, they have ticks for the first time. David himself has been treated for Lyme Disease-related illnesses twice. David’s weapon of choice in this war? A caulking gun.

Finally, it was great to see Mike Rogers, of OmStout Consulting up and around after going through a tough battle with cancer. Mike has been a good friend to Home Energy and to many more people and organizations in the home performance community.

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