Green Summit: Inspections Important

December 13, 2010
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A keynote speaker during the ACCA Contracting Week program, Randy Pennington signs one of his books after his presentation.

FORT WORTH, Texas - The Green Contracting Summit, held during the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s (ACCA) Contracting Week™ events, brought some of the brightest contractors and green experts into the Sheraton Fort Worth hotel.

Larry Taylor, president of AirRite, a local contracting business, played host for the attendees, and opened the meeting with entertaining stories of the culture and historical origins of Fort Worth. Taylor emceed several other sessions and participated in a panel discussion entitled HVACR is Not Enough: Contractors Break Free of the Box.

During that same session Steve Saunders of Tempo Mechanical, Irving, Texas, said about his company’s green marketing strategy, “We don’t market it anymore. We simply exude it in everything we do in our company. We felt it was necessary to become completely green in our business approach in order to effectively be green in the eyes of our customers. As an example, a new employee doesn’t stay very long if they don’t get our green philosophy pretty quick.”

David Lee of the Department of Energy (DOE) said during his keynote session, The Future of Home Retrofits, “The primary message of this administration [President Obama White House] is that energy efficiency is a resource.”

That sentiment has been echoed by many proponents in energy efficiency circles, notably those in the California market, where energy efficiency has long been realized to be the primary conservation measure available to those tasked with saving energy.

Lee stated an obvious fact that many contractors have long been aware of when he said, “Field-adjusted SEER is a concern of DOE. For example, a 13 SEER unit only gives 8.5 SEER when poorly installed.”

Several attendees commented afterward that it was good to know that the DOE is aware of the difference between designed SEER and installed SEER. Lee also discussed the trend toward more third-party inspections to ensure compliance of installed equipment.

Throughout the series of green education sessions, some repetitive themes developed. Ellis Guilles, of Tag Mechanical, told fellow contractors during his appearance on the HVACR is Not Enough panel discussion that they should get used to having their work looked at by third party inspectors. Since the results of the ever-more popular energy upgrades by HVAC contractors are difficult to prove, third-party certifications are going to be a future fact of life in the industry according to both Guilles and Lee.

During Lee’s keynote he also covered the always controversial topics of ozone depletion and global warming. Lee said, “We know that the scientists may in fact be wrong; but the problem is that we don’t know for sure which way they are wrong.”

GREEN REQUIREMENTS

Stan Johnson, Stan’s Heating and Air of Austin, Texas, told audience members during a panel discussion that in his ultra-green city the requirements for contractors have been steadily ramped up. “We had been drug down to the level of our competition over the years, but now are being raised up by government regulations.”

Austin has long been recognized as a model city for the green movement, and Johnson reiterated the city’s leadership with regard to building codes. “Essentially, a Manual J and Manual D are critical in order to meet the city requirements, and the requirements are being verified by third-party companies.”

Leadership in Energy Efficiency Design (LEED) has become a standard requirement on government jobs, and was a subject of discussion during a session on the commercial green movement. Eric Knaak of Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning, Rochester, N.Y., asked the audience during his part of a session with fellow contractor Matt Todd of Entek, Portland, Ore., “How soon before all commercial jobs require LEED certification and accreditation of contractors?”

Todd said, “All the people wanting to get into energy work don’t have what we have - service people who have a high level of technical knowledge which is a requirement to perform that type of work. We can more easily diversify our businesses than a lot of other companies that want to become energy professionals.”

“The Green Contracting Summit is one of the best summits I’ve ever attended,” said Bill Blaze, president of Advanced Air & Refrigeration in Ft. Myers, Fla. “We covered a large area efficiently and there were a lot of thought provoking moments.”

For more information on the Green Summit, visit www.contractingweek.com.

Publication date: 12/13/2010

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