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This article was originally published in the July/August 1998 issue of Home Energy Magazine. Some formatting inconsistencies may be evident in older archive content.

 

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Home Energy Magazine Online July/August 1998


TRENDS

More Training, Less Talk in Northwest

Cal Steiner of North Dakota shows Energy Northwest attendees how to insulate the walls of mobile homes.
Energy Northwest '98, the best-known energy conference in the Pacific Northwest, drew more than 350 people to Eugene, Oregon on April 13-17 to attend tutorials, listen to speakers, browse vendor booths, and take part in workshops.

The biennial event is a collaborative effort among Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Washington, and the U.S. Department of Energy. It is geared to weatherization efforts in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and many speakers and presenters were from local agencies. They addressed common problems ranging from indoor ventilation for moisture control, to mobile home insulation and air sealing methods, to weatherizing during rehab.

Prior to the conference, the weatherization agencies in the four states were surveyed and a curriculum was built around their needs. Of primary importance to the agencies was improving the technical competence of their weatherization crews. As a result, tutorials were held almost every day, and these tutorials were so popular that often people had to be turned away. Some topics the tutorials covered were pressure diagnostics, gas heating systems,combustion safety, and mobile home roof caps.

At the conference, John Krigger, a well-known consultant and author in the weatherization field, unveiled a computer-based training program for weatherization technicians. It is called Comprehensive Home Energy Curriculum (CHEC). After crew members study the computerized curriculum, they will be able to take a test and be certified as a Housing Tech I or II, depending on skill level. Krigger says the program is cheaper than having a trainer come to an agency or sending a crew to a training site.

CHEC consists of five sections, with several modules in each section, covering Home Energy Basics, Weatherization Basics, Pressure Diagnostics, Duct Air Leakage, and Heating Systems. The sections and modules are listed in the menu and can be called up easily, he said. The program can run on Mac, a 486 or a Pentium computer.

There were talks on nontechnical topics too, including one half-day session on the expected effects of deregulation and restructuring in the utility industry.

For more information about CHEC, low-income weatherization programs should contact their state weatherization office. Utilities, state weatherization programs and private for-profit contractors should contact Krigger at Saturn Resource Management, 3245 Fuller Ave., N-13, Helena, MT 59601. Phone: (800)735-0577; E-mail: saturn@initco.net.

For further information about the conference, contact Janet Abbett, Washington State Department of Community, Trade, and Economic Development. Tel: (360) 664-8154; E-mail: janeta@cted.wa.gov.

--Chris Weinreich

Chris Weinreich is a technical specialist with the Washington Housing Improvements program of the Department of Community Trade and Economic Development.
 

 


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