Building Performance AssociationóLive from Chicago, Thursday Edition

Posted by Jim Gunshinan on April 03, 2019
Building Performance AssociationóLive from Chicago, Thursday Edition
Jeff Coulter of ECA.

Wednesday was another rich day of inspiration and connection. My brain is nearly full. When you read this, I will likely be on the plane flying from Chicago back to Oakland; where I will have some time to digest it all. There are more sessions this morning though if you are staying on at the conference. And still lots to see and do in Chicago if you are sticking around for the afternoon. The Chicago River walks, the sight of Lake Michigan, the great food and music, and the incredible architecture here in Chicago is leaving a lasting impression.

A few notes from the day: 

  • Keith Aldridge, Building Performance Association CEO, made some room in the schedule Wednesday to allow anyone interested to come and discuss their hopes and dreams for the new Association. There are plenty of ways that you can shape it. We are all building from the ground up and the more hands the better. A few people at the session talked about their hopes that the Association bring new value and a new respect to the building performance industry. We sometimes see ourselves as the “pour cousins” in the construction field. We decided that high on our to do list as a new organization is to create a “Labor Rate” book that gives a monetary value to what we do. It works for auto repair! In general, the people at the session are pleased to be part of the new Association that makes us feel like we have support from all sides of the industry, from manufacturers, home performance companies, weatherization pros, DOE, and trainers, to our own policy wonks and publications! Someone asked the question that has been on many of our minds. Where does RESNET fit in?
  • In a session titled, “Grid Optimization, Load Flexibility, and AI, Oh My” we began discussing the promising, challenging, ever shifting, and in some ways mystifying relationship between technology and people. One of the presenters, Beth Karlin, founder and CEO of See Change Institute in Venice, California, gave us a sociological perspective. Sociologists ask “Why?”, then “How?”, and then “What?” Us building science and engineering types tend to focus on “What?” It can be very productive and interesting to first find out why people value energy. Then we can begin the discussion of what we can do to help them use energy in a way that better serves them and all of us.
  • The session on “The Value of Apprenticeships for Energy Efficiency Careers” brings up the dilemma, and the hope, of developing the green collar jobs that can provide a green workforce and a renewed economy for everyone. Jeff Coulter (see photo of Jeff in action) and Ryan Rex led the discussion and asked the question, How can we interest high school students, or even those who didn’t make it through high school or a GED, find work that is fulfilling, well paid, and that offers a future to people like “Returning Citizens”, a euphemism for “Those Previously Incarcerated”. They are answering that question at the Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA) of Philadelphia, where Jeff and Ryan work every day to train and give on-the-job experience to anyone who has a willingness to learn and the enthusiasm to get them through the hours of instruction and training.

I’m writing this on Wednesday afternoon and you are likely reading this on Thursday. I want to go to “Pecha Kucha Night” tonight. But I can predict that it was be a wonderful experience. How could it not be, with the likes of Luis Hernandez, Joe Medosch, Bill Spohn, and Larry Zarker giving seven-minute presentations on topics of their choosing while a slide show speeds along behind them? It hasn’t happened yet but it was great! I laughed my Air Sealing Specialist off.

Thank you for attending the 2019 National Home Performance Conference & Trade Show, or participating from afar! All of us on the staff of the new Building Performance Association hope you had a wonderful time learning, growing, and networking.

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