If members of the HVACR industry had the chance to select Mitt Romney’s running mate, who would they choose?

The potential vice president must be conscious of energy consumption, a small business backer, and must be devoted to working with the industry’s major players.

Based on names most often being considered, the top choice may be Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

Portman is experienced, having worked in politics since 1989, and has been an enthusiastic energy-efficiency aficionado for years. Portman is a proponent of numerous pieces of energy-backing legislation including S.1000, Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, which he introduced in May this year.

S.1000 would establish revolving loan programs assisting manufacturers to invest in more efficient processes and equipment; would create an industry-led “Industrial Partnership Program” designed to reduce energy intensity; and would offer grants to industry members and small businesses deploying and commercializing innovative energy-efficient technologies and processes.

According to Portman, the bill would, “make our economy more productive and create jobs by incentivizing the use of energy efficiency technologies in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors of our economy. We believe this legislation will increase both our economic competitiveness and our energy security, while stimulating the economy and encouraging private sector job creation.”

Next on the wish list may be former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty served as chair of the National Governors Association in 2007-2008 and selected “securing a Clean Energy Future” as the main goal of his tenure.

He said other states would learn from Minnesota’s example of establishing, “A requirement that 25 percent of our energy will come from renewable sources by 2025. This includes legislation signed into law to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050. It also includes reducing our fossil fuel consumption 15 percent by 2015, which is coming up fast.”

Pawlenty also encouraged establishing or extending tax incentives for energy-efficiency research and development while in office.

A third option would perhaps be Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. Rubio believes a cleaner, safer, healthier Florida can be established through the creation of an energy-efficient buildings reward program, the implementation of a voluntary statewide energy-efficiency incentive program, tax incentives for the purchase of energy-efficient equipment and appliances, and more.

“Florida should create an Energy Efficiency fund to offer loans to public schools, public hospitals, cities, counties, special districts, and public care institutions. Eligible projects are those with proven energy savings, such as lighting and HVACR efficiency improvements,” said Rubio, on his website.

There are surely other distinguished candidates out there. If you are a gambler — and I know some of you are — you may want to place a wager on the field. Romney could pull a John McCain and pluck a bright dandelion out of left field. Hey, I wonder what Sarah Palin is up to now days? Has anyone mentioned her name? She could be a real, “game changer.”