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One Part Perspiration, Five Parts Inspiration

Posted by Jim Gunshinan on April 21, 2008
One Part Perspiration, Five Parts Inspiration
ACI trains home performance professionals through national and regional conferences and through the Web. Last week I participated in my eighth ACI national conference. The annual conference is where I go to network; learn about all aspects of home performance; recruit authors for Home Energy Magazine; and best of all, be inspired. Here are a few of the people that I ran into last week who inspire me:

Don Fugler does research through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. He developed the Garbage Bag Air Flow Test. He rides his bike to work year round in Ottawa, and wears suspenders. He has a dry sense of humor and has toppled any lingering stereotype I had about Canadians. He told a crowded room at the ACI meetings in Pittsburgh that the way we live in our houses, the way we use our cars, and the way we travel in the air contribute about equally to our carbon footprints. The way we eat contributes a lot also. A pound of beef is responsible for a heck of a lot of greenhouse gases released. I don’t know if Don is a vegetarian, but I think he probably is.

Jim LaRue is a sort-of-retired home performance contractor from Cleveland, Ohio. He designed a really efficient and healthy house for a group of nuns in Ohio and wrote about it for Home Energy. He has also written for the Cleveland Green Building Coalition and for the magazine a Greening Your Home series of articles. I don’t know anyone who has worked harder to create healthy, efficient, and affordable housing in Cleveland. He's retired but so far no one has noticed.

Linda Wigington has been with ACI since its beginning and is now the manager of program design and development. At the ACI Summit on global climate change held at the Pacific Energy Center in San Francisco last summer, which she was instrumental in bringing about, she talked about how she lived one whole winter in her home outside of Pittsburgh while never raising her thermostat above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. She is passionate about finding ways (mostly not involving such personal discomfort) to drastically reduce the energy use in existing homes to reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Kate and Paul Raymer, founders of Hayoka Solutions, a green building and green building advocacy organization, announced the Starting from Home Challenge at the ACI meetings, an annual contest for post secondary school students around the country to create energy savings in existing homes with real people living in them. Hayoka is a Lakota Indian word describing someone who causes others to see things in a completely new way. Paul is an expert in healthy home ventilation. Don’t get him started on attached garages. “Why would anyone park their car in their house?” Paul often wonders.

I could go on, and on, and on. These are just a few of the people who inspire me. I hope they inspire you as well.

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