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New & Notable

July 01, 2009
July/August 2009
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2009 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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Rebuilding America’s Communities

Every 80 minutes, another low-income family moves into a better place to live with the help of the Enterprise Foundation, a nonprofit group rebuilding homes, neighborhoods, and lives across the country. In an era of housing foreclosures and vanishing jobs, Enterprise is rescuing communities and introducing neighborhood solutions through public-private partnerships with financial institutions, government offices, and community organizations.  

The most recent addition to those partnerships is the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting public safety and energy efficiency in the building environment nationwide. IBTS has worked with low-income and affordable housing initiatives for more than 30 years, acting as the manufactured- and modular-housing monitoring agent for HUD.

IBTS’s Energy Manager Kevin Powell is a certified LEED AP rater, Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) home energy rater, and Energy Star rater. IBTS has experts in everything from disaster management services to training, helping new building officials to obtain their certifications.

IBTS will be serving Enterprise as a technical advisor to affordable and green developers working on Green Communities projects. Enterprise’s goal is to match specific green technical expertise to the most urgent development needs in order to increase overall building performance and maximize energy, water, and health savings for low-income residents. In addition to creating a national registry, they will offer green technical assistance grants to qualified green affordable housing developers. This grant fund will encourage participating developers to contract with IBTS in order to support on-site energy assessments, design review, construction monitoring, performance evaluation, and resident operations training in underserved communities.

--Jaki Demarest
Jaki Demarest is a freelance writer.

For more information:
To learn more about the Enterprise Foundation, go to www.enterprisecommunity.org/.
About IBTS, go to
www.ibts.org.




Home Performance with Energy Star Praises Century Club Contractors

The following companies are the first recipients of the Century Club Award. The Home Performance with Energy Star program congratulates these market leaders in addressing the energy efficiency needs in the existing home marketplace:

Sponsor–New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)

  • GreenHomes America
  • Hughesco of Buffalo
  • Comfort Home Improvement of Syracuse
  • Comfort Home Improvement of Rochester
  • Zerodraft of Central New York, Incorporated
  • Standard Insulating Company, Inc.
  • Superior Heat Company, LLC
  • John Betlem Heating and Cooling, Inc.
  • Hughesco of Rochester
  • Crossfield Heating and Air Conditioning
  • Wonder Home Improvement
  • All Star Energy/Home Comfort Heating and Cooling
  • Zero Draft of the Capital District
  • Zenner & Ritter, Incorporated
  • Town Insulation
  • Sponsor–Austin Energy
  • Strand Brothers
  • ARS
  • Cen-Tex Thermal

Sponsor–-Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation
  • Duerst Insulation Technicians
  • North Star Energy Consulting, LLC

Sponsor–-Energy Trust of Oregon
  • Home Visions West

Sponsor–-California Building Performance Contractors Association (CBPCA)
  • Sustainable Spaces, Incorporated
The Century Club award recognizes an organization as one of the select few that have improved the energy efficiency of more than 100 homes in the past year through the Home Performance with Energy Star (HPwES) program.  This program, which is sponsored locally, offers homeowners a comprehensive, whole-house approach to improving energy efficiency and comfort, while saving money on utility bills and helping to protect the environment.

“2008 is the first year HPwES has recognized contractors in our program that have performed over 100 energy-efficient installations,” Chandler von Schrader, operations manager for HPwES, explains. “These Century Club contractors are committed to using building science to maximize energy savings, comfort, and building durability. By making our existing housing stock more energy efficient, these Century Club contractors are at the forefront of our nation’s efforts to address climate change and lessen our dependence on foreign sources of energy.”

Participating contractors receive specialized training and are equipped with diagnostic tools to inspect homes inside and out to determine where improvements are needed. Rather than focusing on a single problem, like an old heating or cooling system, insufficient insulation in the attic, or leaky windows, they look at how improvements throughout a home can work together to give homeowners the best results. Depending on the improvements these homeowners choose, they can often save 20% or more on their annual utility bills.

For more information:
To learn more about Home Performance with Energy Star, go to www.energystar.gov.
 


Yavapai College’s Residential Building Technology Program

Yavapai College’s Residential Building Technology (RBT) program teaches students to design, build, or manage residential construction that results in crafted, healthy, safe, durable, comfortable, affordable, energy- and resource-efficient, and environmentally responsive houses.

Instructors Tony Grahame and David Solomon teach students to incorporate climate-specific building materials, systems, and technologies, and to make design and material selections based on current applied building science principles and sustainable-design/green building practices.

The most recent curriculum in the RBT program is even more focused on green building and sustainability. In 2008, this revised curriculum received the Excellence in Green Building Curriculum award from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The RBT program is recognized as being one of the nation’s elite energy-efficient home builders. In fact, the last three houses built by students have won five national awards. 

One of the program’s  strengths is that it responds to the real needs of the students by working around their schedules. Most  of the RBT courses are taught in the evening at the Chino Valley Agribusiness and  Science Technology Center.  The typical student is a recent local high school graduate seeking training for an entry level construction job; a college graduate with eco-ideals seeking knowledge and training in green and sustainable construction; or an established contractor or retired person with experience in the field  seeking further knowledge in building technology or construction management from a credible program.

For more information:
To learn more about the RBT program, go to www2.yc.edu/content/academics/areasofstudy/departments/RBT/default.htm.




Ohio, More Than 32,000 New Jobs & More

A study released in March by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), an independent, Washington, D.C., nonprofit research group, says Ohio could save over $19 billion by using energy efficiency strategies that are available right now. Ohio could also create more than 32,000 net new jobs by 2025, including well-paying trade and professional jobs needed to design, install, and operate energy efficiency measures. In total, the direct and indirect jobs created would be equivalent to nearly 250 new manufacturing plants relocating to Ohio, but without the demand for infrastructure and other energy needs, the study says. Investments in energy efficiency policies and programs have the added benefit of creating new, high-quality green-collar jobs in Ohio and increasing both wages and gross state product (GSP).

The study, Shaping Ohio’s Energy Future: Energy Efficiency Works, was conducted by ACEEE researchers with support from a team of national experts in energy use. The 183-page report outlines policies to reduce electricity demand through improved energy efficiency, combined heat and power, and demand response recommendations that reduce peak demand. The energy efficiency policies would reduce peak demand by 18% by 2025, while the demand response  policies would reduce conventionally generated electricity by an additional 11%, for a total reduction of 29%.

ACEEE suggests a suite of ten innovative programs and policies in addition to approaches that are already beginning to be implemented by the state's utilities. Here are some of ACEEE’s suggestions:
  • Advance residential buildings initiatives by expanding current Ohio programs, such as the state’s Electric Partnership program and its Home Weatherization Assistance program, and provide incentives to improve efficiency for homes that are not qualified to participate in current programs.
  • Expand combined heat and power (CHP) by promoting continued regulatory reform, and by finding solutions that make CHP more attractive to customers.
  • Continue to develop the workforce by establishing an interagency  stakeholder group to coordinate workforce development activities.
  • Develop state level appliance and equipment efficiency standards that expand upon the federal appliance standards.
  • Implement building energy codes that align with federal recommendations and help to build higher-quality energy-efficient homes.

The report includes a summary of participants’ past experience with energy efficiency programs in Ohio's electricity sector, a discussion of the key issues that must be addressed in shaping a new set of electricity policies on energy efficiency, and detailed recommendations. The report is based on ACEEE's nearly 30 years of experience working with many other states on similar issues, and reflects the organization's experience with evaluating program best practices from around the country.

For more information:
About on ACEEE, go to www.aceee.org.


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Affordable Comfort Event Builds Skills & Connection

Plans to weatherize every home in the 150-block area that has been designated Kansas City’s Green Impact Zone are part of an initiative coordinated by Congressman Emanuel Cleaver's Kansas City office and the Mid-America Regional Council, and were passed as a resolution by the Kansas City Council. The community collaboration among the Ivanhoe, Manheim, and Blue Hills Neighborhood Associations and Brush Creek Community Partners will call for an army of people trained to get green work done. The Kansas City U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC-KC) and the Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) of Kansas City have teamed up to bring the national Affordable Comfort Institute (ACI) Home Performance conference to Kansas City to kick off efforts to help create a green job workforce that can systematically upgrade its older housing stock by training contractors who will be needed to provide millions of dollars of green and weatherization services in the Impact Zone.

ACI has trained home performance and weatherization professionals since 1986, mainly through educational events such as the national ACI Home Performance conference, which took place in Kansas City from April 27 through May 1, at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center. The conference has traditionally focused on training builders, contractors, home energy raters, remodelers, and other home professionals in the latest techniques to make homes more energy efficient, durable, affordable, comfortable, healthy, and safe.

For more information:
To learn more about ACI, go to www.affordablecomfort.org.

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