Efficiency First Chair Brian Bovio Testifies in Congress

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Coby Rudolph: 415-449-0553
Kara Saul Rinaldi: 202.276.1773

EFFICIENCY FIRST CHAIR TESTIFIES BEFORE HOUSE COMMITTEE
Efficiency First National Chair, Brian Bovio calls for support of the HOMES Act during House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing

Brian Bovio testifying in Congress in support of the HOMES Act

Brian Bovio testifying in Congress on 6-4-13 in support of the HOMES Act

June 4, 2013, Washington, DC – Efficiency First National Chair Brian Bovio, Vice President of Bovio Heating Plumbing Cooling Insulation in New Jersey, testified today at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.

“Efficiency First contractors work every day, sitting at kitchen tables across America, helping homeowners understand why their energy bills are so high, their daughter’s bedroom is so cold, or their son’s asthma acts up when the furnace is on,” Bovio said.

“Energy efficiency is unique in that it creates its own cash flow – less money spent on energy means more money to purchase groceries and save for college.” Bovio said that while many of the market players needed for an economically sustainable home performance industry exist today, they are not yet to scale. Legislation like the HOMES Act (HR 2128) can help enable transformation in the residential energy efficiency market.

The HOMES Act, bipartisan legislation authored by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) and Peter Welch (D-VT), would create a home performance-based rebate program that would provide incentives to homeowners (or contractors if they transfer the rebate) of $2,000-$8,000 based on predicted energy savings of 20%-50%. The bill emphasizes a technology-neutral approach based on performance with a quality assurance requirement.

“This country needs the energy savings the HOMES Act provides,” said Bovio. “Saving energy is a public good.”

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Efficiency First is the national association for the home performance industry, uniting home performance companies, building product manufacturers and related businesses and organizations. Efficiency First represents its members in public policy and regulatory discussions at the local, state and national levels to promote the benefits of energy efficiency retrofitting, and to create market and industry demand for member products and services.

View Brian Bovio’s  video testimony (YouTube) and written testimony, submitted for the record.

More information about the HOMES Act: www.efficiencyfirst.org.homes

www.efficiencyfirst.org

HOMES Act Re-introduced in the U.S. House

HOMES ACT WILL SAVE HOMEOWNERS ENERGY, MONEY
Efficiency First Applauds Reps McKinley and Welch for their Home Performance Leadership

May 23, 2013, Washington, DC – Representatives David McKinley (R-WV) and Peter Welch (D-VT) re-introduced the Home Owners Managing Energy Savings (HOMES) Act, H.R. 2128, today marking a step forward in bi-partisan leadership on energy policy.

“Efficiency First applauds Representatives McKinley and Welch for their bi-partisan support of the home performance industry,” said Brian Bovio, Chair of Efficiency First and Vice President of Bovio Advance Comfort & Energy Solutions in New Jersey.  “As a home performance contractor I see Americans struggle everyday with their inefficient homes.  The HOMES Act will not only save homeowners money on their utility bills and make them more comfortable but it will provide an incentive where it is earned – from the energy savings.”

“The HOMES Act is a win-win-win, putting contractors back to work doing high-quality retrofits for American homeowners and saving energy and money, while reducing environmental impact.  I appreciate the leadership of Efficiency First in crafting this bill which will establish high standards for home performance retrofits and will yield measurable energy savings for home owners across the country,” said Congressman Peter Welch (VT-AL)

The bill would create a home performance-based rebate program that would provide an incentive to homeowners (or contractors if they transfer the rebate) based on predicted energy savings up to $8000 for a 50% energy performance improvement. The bill emphasizes a technology-neutral approach based on performance with a quality assurance requirement.  The HOMES Act was first introduced in the 112th Congress.

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Efficiency First is the national association for the home performance industry, uniting home performance companies, building product manufacturers and related businesses and organizations. Efficiency First represents its members in public policy and regulatory discussions at the local, state and national levels to promote the benefits of energy efficiency retrofitting, and to create market and industry demand for member products and services.

www.efficiencyfirst.org

Efficiency First Applauds President Obama’s Focus on Energy Efficiency

Today, Jay Murdoch, Executive Director of Efficiency First, made the following statement about President Obama’s comments on energy efficiency in the State of the Union address:

“Efficiency First member companies work every day to retrofit homes and achieve energy savings across America. We were glad to hear President Obama’s focus on energy efficiency and deep energy savings as a vital part of a strategy to secure America’s energy future. Efficiency First looks forward to working with the President and members of Congress as well as state and local officials nationwide to push forward on common sense solutions that are consumer and market friendly and can help meet energy efficiency and job creation goals.

“Home performance retrofit policy has been a bipartisan endeavor in Congress. In the 112th Congress, Democrats and Republicans worked together to co-author performance-based energy efficiency rebate legislation in the House (the HOMES Act, HR4230) and a home performance tax credit bill in the Senate (the Cut Energy Bills at Home Act, S1914). Passing these important bills would jumpstart an effort to achieve the ambitious goals the President laid out in the State of the Union.

“In his speech, the President called for federal support for successful state energy efficiency programs. States can be an important driver of energy efficiency demand, and best practices gleaned from recent state programs will be key to achieving high increases in energy productivity. Efficiency First member companies, and the home performance industry at-large, stand ready to partner with federal, state and local decision-makers on energy efficiency programs that are effective, lean and can deliver at the scale we need.

“Home performance professionals go to work every day, focused on delivering value for their customers and building more successful companies, but their work has a ripple effect far beyond a customer’s home. As the President stated, making homes more energy efficient will help us achieve our climate goals.  Also, nearly every energy efficiency improvement made in homes and buildings has a high return on investment and generally falls on the low end of the cost curve for greenhouse gas reduction.

“Energy efficiency and home performance retrofits deliver benefits across the board. Customers get a more comfortable and better performing home that often costs less to maintain; more energy savings means lower energy costs for homeowners and reduced greenhouse gas emissions; and home performance retrofits create jobs in communities throughout the country, and across the manufacturing and distribution supply chain.

Jay Murdoch
Executive Director
Efficiency First

About Efficiency First
As the national association for the building performance industry, Efficiency First supports building performance companies by providing them with a powerful voice in Washington, access to new educational and networking opportunities, and discounts on products and services. With state and local chapters across the country, we work with companies to retrofit America’s homes and bring them—and our economy—into the future. Together, we advocate for policies that accelerate the growth of the industry, creating huge opportunities for companies and delivering deep energy savings to homeowners. Learn more at www.efficiencyfirst.org

 

Guest Post — Forward Motion: Taking your Career to the Next Level with New Home Energy Professional Certifications

Guest Post by Larry Zarker, CEO of the Building Performance Institute

The green building community is pretty much sold on the value of certifications – whether for an architect designing a new LEED® high-rise, or for technicians at a contracting company carrying out home performance improvements. Professional credentials demonstrate a degree of knowledge and skill. They show the individual cares enough about their profession to invest in some training and verification of their abilities. They help employers screen applicants and help energy efficiency program administrators set criteria. They give consumers added confidence when selecting someone for a project. The list goes on.

And yet, throughout the blogosphere and at industry events such as ACI, you hear that tell tale muttering, “I’m certified. Now what?”

Turns out that certification itself is not the end game, but really the first step. It’s an entry point on the journey toward a successful career. And it is precisely that career path model that is behind the development of the new Home Energy Professional certifications offered by the Building Performance Institute Inc. (BPI) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Designed to meet the international benchmark for personnel certifications across all industries, ISO 17024, the four new certifications focus on the most common jobs in the home energy upgrade industry: Energy Auditor, Retrofit Installer, Crew Leader and Quality Control Inspector.

Energy Auditor is specifically tailored to verify the diagnostic and analytical skills required to perform an energy audit, including software modeling skills and work scope development.

Retrofit Installer is geared toward experienced technicians with a broad range of installation skills and experience, including windows, heating systems, air sealing and insulation.

Crew Leader is intended for experienced professionals who supervise the implementation of retrofitting activities specified in the scope of work, as well as work site health and safety.

Quality Control Inspector is designed for individuals who validate and verify that work was done correctly, whether as part of a contracting company’s internal QC process or as a true third-party QC inspection conducted on behalf of a government or utility energy efficiency incentive program.

Since the announcement of the new certifications, there have been a lot of questions about how they fit in with the current designations offered by BPI and held by tens of thousands of professionals across the country. “Will the new energy auditor credential make my building analyst certification obsolete? What’s the difference between my air leakage control installer certification and the new retrofit installer? Will crew leader replace building envelope? What role will the quality control inspector play?”

The Home Energy Professional certifications will not replace existing BPI certifications; rather, they will build on and complement the current credentials. It’s important to understand that the current BPI certifications are not going away (although over time they will be refreshed to meet ISO 17024 criteria).

It should also be noted that the four new certifications are not designed for rookies to the home performance game. All four contain significant experience prerequisites. Each certification requires the individual to prove he or she has spent time in the field doing related work. All four certifications require education (GED/high school diploma or equivalent), and a combination of industry-specific experience, building experience, relevant building science coursework/training and/or industry certifications (BPI, RESNET, NATE, EPA).

That’s an important point of differentiation. Not only for the individual who gains the certification, but also for the employers, program administrators and consumers who get to choose who goes into the home to conduct the audit and do the work. Experience speaks volumes when it comes to reducing risk and building trust. Having the DOE’s support and the rigor of ISO 17024 behind them adds even more value to the new Home Energy Professional certifications.

Differentiating from competitors has different advantages to different members of the industry. For state program administrators, the verification of skills and experience means meeting more benchmark goals and reducing liability for the program. For employers, differentiation means a higher-quality workforce doing higher-quality work for happier customers, leading to reduced call backs, improved satisfaction, fewer emergency replacements and more referrals. Not to mention a marketing edge when speaking with homeowners. For the individual technician, it means increased job opportunities and job security.

And for the home performance community, the Home Energy Professional certifications, and all the experience they entail, are the next step toward creating a recognized, self-sustaining, thriving and credible industry.

For more information on the Home Energy Professional certifications, go to www.bpi.org/pilot.

Larry Zarker is BPI’s Chief Executive Officer

Proposed changes for Home Performance with ENERGY STAR?

Fasten your seat belt. Last month at the ACI National Conference in Baltimore, the Department of Energy (DOE) outlined a proposed “version 2.0″ for it’s national Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (HPwES) program and brand (see the presentation here). Their goal is one we all share — a scaled home performance industry to retrofit more homes, achieve greater energy savings, and help more American’s live in better buildings. Our industry was born from these principles and is united behind those goals in principal but there has been concern expressed by many on some of the specific program elements proposed, and the process that DOE is undertaking.

Deja Vu all over again? We’ve seen this before at the state and local levels and we know how these processes have worked in the past: program changes are proposed, concerns and complaints come in from various corners, and often few meaningful and substantive changes are made before the new program roles out.

In the same way that you voiced your concern to DOE and EPA about losing the HPwES brand and were heard, we again need to speak up and make our positions known. As an industry, let’s take our own look at how the Department of Energy can help scale home performance in America.

Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be educating the industry (stay tuned for a webinar in the next couple of weeks), and looking for your feedback. Meanwhile, here are some themes we’ve been hearing since last month in Baltimore:

  1. Contractors Prominently at the Table: We need direct involvement from industry stakeholders, but specifically from those interests that are directly and materially affected by DOE’s actions.  Along with program sponsors, no party is more impacted than the contractor and energy auditor who will have to live with these new rules and deploy them – in homes and buildings.
  2. Define What “Scale” Looks Like and Work Toward That: We need to look at the core goals of scaling the industry and identify ways to achieve them, and not simply offer feedback on specific parts of the proposed changes.
  3. Set a Baseline to Build From: Rather than dictate all the details, DOE’s standards should set a baseline so that program implementers and markets can innovate and design programs that work for their customers, climate zones, business, and regulatory systems.
  4. Align and Synchronize: The program should sync up with work that we’ve done with Congress and at other levels to drive building performance industry growth.
  5. Simplicity Leads to Uptake: Simplicity in program design and congruence with contractor’s ability to move in the market are key.  We are the soldiers in the trenches that sell the homeowner on the value of this work, who design the solutions and make the physical improvements, and who are called on to stand by that work.

Those are big concepts so we will be working to flesh out what they mean over the coming days and weeks (stay tuned for a webinar in the next few weeks. While we have had informal discussions on this concept with DOE over the last few months, now it’s in the sunshine and we have work to do. Help us out:

Send us your feedback on how DOE and the national HPwES program can be better built to scale the industry.

And if you’d like to register your comment to DOE now, here’s where you can do that:buildingamerica.pnl.gov/forum.php.

Jay Murdoch
Efficiency First

p.s. One last thought: Be very clear that the end product of all this work will someday trickle down into your backyard – in the form of a utility energy efficiency program, a financing program or something else. It may not be until 2013 or 2014, but you will see this staring you in the face during a presentation of the “new and improved” energy efficiency program, and it will have a very real impact on your business. Invest some sweat equity now so that the new program you see in the future is not an anchor on your growth and profitability and thus a non-starter for your customer – the rate payer and tax payer. It’s time to get engaged – your business depends on it.

 

Job Opening: Membership Coordinator / Project Associate

ABOUT EFFICIENCY FIRST

Efficiency First is the trade association for America’s home performance (energy efficiency) industry – uniting home performance companies, building product manufacturers and related businesses and organizations. Efficiency First represents its members in public policy and regulatory discussions at the local, state and national levels to promote the benefits of energy efficiency retrofitting, and to create market and industry demand for member products and services.

Efficiency First is at the forefront growing a new sustainable industry. We are a relatively young nonprofit and are looking for to hire someone who is motivated and seeks a new opportunity in a fast-paced working environment that has the potential for long-term growth. Topic area expertise not required.

JOB DESCRIPTION: Membership Coordinator / Project Associate
Based in San Francisco Office
Reports to the Executive Director

RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDE:

Membership

  • Manage membership renewal process
  • Assist in new member recruitment
  • Manage and develop high value benefits/discounts for Efficiency First member companies
  • Respond to member inquiries
  • Assist in member communications (email marketing)

Board Coordination

  • Prepare materials for Board meetings
  • Manage Board and committee calendars
  • Assist with Board and committee activities as needed

Office

  • Answer phones and main email account inquiries
  • Office management: Communicate with landlord, order office supplies

Member Education

  • Coordinate online member educational webinar series for Efficiency First members
  • Assist in presenter recruitment
  • Work with topic experts to coordinate content development
  • Publicity / participant recruitment
  • Manage webinar technology

Accounting:

  • Manage payroll and expense report for (small) staff
  • Manage bank account, accounts payable, and other financial items
  • Day-to-day bookkeeping (working with our bookkeeping firm)

Additional Responsibilities

  • Manage administrative files and paperwork (electronic and hardcopy)
  • Event planning as needed
  • Assist in database management
  • Assist in web editing
  • Assist the Executive Director as needed

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS

  • College degree
  • 2 years office experience
  • Highly organized individual
  • Flexible in a working environment where things change quickly
  • Interest in clean energy/energy efficiency

PLUSES:

  • Accounting experience
  • Trade association experience
  • Experience in development/fundraising or sales
  • Public policy knowledge
  • Experience in the energy efficiency / building performance industry

COMPENSATION/HOURS

  • Full time position
  • Salary depends on skills and experience
  • Benefits: Includes health care plan & vacation/sick days

TO APPLY

To apply, please email jobs@efficiencyfirst.org, and include your resume and a cover letter which addresses the following questions:

  1. Tell us why you think you are an ideal candidate for this position
  2. Tell us why you are drawn to working in the energy efficiency industry

Applications are being accepted now — we are looking to fill the position very quickly.

The HOMES Act Is Introduced

For Immediate Release: 3/21/12

Media Contact:
Jay Murdoch — Executive Director, Efficiency First
202-680-8915

Energy Retrofit Legislation Introduced to Create Jobs and Help Homeowners Reduce Energy Costs

Washington, DC — Earlier today, Efficiency First joined members of Congress and other industry leaders to announce the Home Owner Managing Energy Savings (HOMES) Act – bipartisan legislation to provide incentives for homeowners who perform energy retrofits.

Efficiency First Executive Director Jay Murdoch said: “By helping homeowners increase the energy efficiency of their homes, the HOMES Act will create jobs, something desperately needed in the home remodeling and building product industries.”

Residential construction has been among the hardest hit industries in recent years, with construction unemployment double the rate of overall unemployment in many regions of the U.S. Home energy retrofits offer the triple benefit of making homes more comfortable and less costly to heat and cool for owners, helping to achieve energy independence, and creating well-paying jobs for hard-working Americans.

An Efficiency First representative is available for comment.

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Efficiency First is the trade association for America’s home performance industry – uniting home performance companies, building product manufacturers and related businesses and organizations.

Efficiency First represents its members in public policy and regulatory discussions at the local, state and national levels to promote the benefits of energy efficiency retrofitting, and to create market and industry demand for member products and services.

For more information: www.efficiencyfirst.org

Introducing the HOMES ACT

Believe it or not, there are some positive things happening in Washington DC these days that you need to be aware of.

Taking a cue from you – our members, with your bull doggedness and incessant “can do” passion for creating demand and knocking down barriers to profitable growth, Efficiency First has been quietly and effectively leading on two important pieces of legislation (proposed and pending) in your nation’s capitol, with your elected officials. So now it’s time to be a little less humble and quiet, and share some of the fruits of this work.

Last month in the President’s FY2013 budget request , the President called on Congress “to pass the Home Star bill, or other mandatory funding legislation aimed at creating jobs by encouraging Americans to invest in energy saving home improvements.”
The President’s reference was a nod to two pieces of legislation that Efficiency First has been instrumental in developing:
  1. The “25e” Tax Credit (proposed in the Senate)
  2. The HOMES Act (pending introduction in the House)

Here’s more on each:

“The Cut Energy Bills at Homes Act” (S. 1914), aka the “25e” tax credit (Sens. Snowe, Bingaman, Feinstein). Sometimes referred to as “25e,” for the new section of the Internal Revenue Code that would be established, this is bi-partisan tax legislation that would reward homeowners for reduced energy consumption as a result of a qualified whole-home energy efficiency retrofit.   The legislation proposes providing up to a $5000 tax credit for a 50% reduction in home energy use.  Along with our efforts to get the “25c” tax credit for individual measure improvements (air sealing, insulation, HVAC equipment, windows, etc) reinstated, the 25e tax credit would give homeowners an additional choice to pursue comprehensive whole-home improvements to their home. Learn more here.

Home Owner Managing Energy Savings (HOMES) Act (Reps. McKinley and Welch) – expected to be proposed in the coming weeks. This is bi-partisan rebate legislation that would reward homeowners for reduced energy consumption as a result of a qualified home energy efficiency retrofit.  The legislation will propose offering homeowners up to $8000 rebate for a 50% reduction in home energy use. Learn more here.

A Reality Check Around Achievability –

Now for the gut check around what’s achievable during this election year. The current political gridlock in DC can make it tough to get anything substantive done, including energy efficiency legislation. So it may be that these policies do not get passed this year, and it could take a while before we cross the finish line. But in DC, you never know what can happen very quickly. While an election year doesn’t provide for the congenial compromise that’s needed to pass significant legislation, it does give us an opportunity for debate and discourse and to start building support – which is key to pushing these policies forward.

One thing that’s clear is we can’t be complacent. As business people, you know that opportunity and customers rarely fall into your lap.  You have to go out and make that happen, by creating your opportunities and continually adapting and refining your strategy and plan along the way.  Taking a cue from you as leaders, that’s precisely what Efficiency First is all about — pursuing the industry’s interests in Washington DC and elsewhere.

In proposing the HOMES Act and the 25e Tax Credit, Senate and House sponsors are exhibiting the type of leadership EF Members demonstrate every day in businesses by choosing to create a new reality.

Efficiency First has been leading the way for the industry, working closely with the congressional sponsors during the evolution of these bills. Though there has been compromise, we’ve worked hard to ensure that these bills would work successfully for home performance companies.  And that process will be ongoing. As you learn more about these bills, please share you thoughts directly with us so that we can better understand how these bills might work for you in your market, and whether there are opportunities to make enhancements to them as they are debated in Congress.

For now, take a look at some initial resources on 25e and the HOMES Act and stay tuned for opportunities to learn more, both via webinar and at conferences like ACI National coming up later this month in Baltimore.

Upcoming Webinar: Close Quarters: Retrofitting America’s Multifamily Dwellings

Please join Efficiency First for the upcoming Webinar on Wednesday, February 22, 2012:

Close Quarters: Retrofitting America’s Multifamily Dwellings
Wednesday, February 22  @ 12:30 PM EST/9:30 AM PST
FREE for Efficiency First Members: Click Here to Sign Into Your Account & Register!

Non-members are invited to view this webinar for a $50 fee.

Qualifies for up to 1.5 BPI CEUs.

Description:
Based on an upcoming suite of case studies and a white paper from the Home Performance Resource Center (HPRC), this webinar will provide a basic road map for programs and building performance companies looking to expand their services into the multifamily homes sector. These resources will provide industry guidance on multifamily retrofit programs.

On the webinar, panelists will discuss:

  • How building performance companies can successfully leverage multifamily homes projects
  • Sales and marketing strategies for increasing work within the multifamily sector
  • Guidelines for implementing successful multifamily programs
  • Lessons learned from industry veterans from both the programmatic and building performance professional perspectives
  • Information about multifamily-sector specific certifications in building performance

Panelists:

Courtney Moriarta: Principal, Sangfroid Associates

Jerone Gagliano: Director of Energy Engineering, PSD Consulting

Ryan Merkin: Director of Multifamily Energy Services, Steven Winter Associates

Upcoming Webinar on 02/17: Weatherization to Home Performance — Tools & Tips for Developing For-profit Services

Please join Efficiency First, the Home Performance Resource Center and the National Community Action Foundation for the upcoming Webinar on Friday, February 17, 2012:

Weatherization to Home Performance — Tools & Tips for Developing For-profit Services
FRIDAY, February 17  @ 12:30 PM EST/9:30 AM PST

FREE for Efficiency First Members: Click Here to Sign Into Your Account & Register!

Non-members are invited to view this webinar for a $50 fee.

NCAF Weatherization Agencies click here to register at a discounted rate.

Qualifies for up to 1.5 BPI CEUs.

Description:
Are you a local low-income weatherization agency or contractor considering whether to offer home performance work to your services?

Please join Efficiency First, the Home Performance Resource Center and the National Community Action Foundation for this upcoming webinar. While many of the technical skills needed to perform retrofits are similar, running a for-profit home performance company requires a new skill set in marketing, sales, customer service, and other areas. This webinar will be for those who have already mastered the fundaments of business planning and maintaining financial systems. It will be focused on providing energy service-specific business modeling tools and best practices from the market, which your company can use to enter and find leads within the for-profit home performance industry.

Panelists:

Meg Power: President, Economic Opportunity Studies; Senior Advisor, National Community Action Foundation

Matt Golden: Principal, Efficiency.org

Sam Flannery: President, Building Science Energy Services

If you are having trouble accessing your account or the webinar please send an email to info@efficiencyfirst.org.

Registration:
Efficiency First Members click here to log-in to your account and register.

Non-members click here to register for a $50 fee.

NCAF Weatherization Agencies click here to register at a discounted rate.