Is Home Star in HVAC Contractors' Best Interest?

This letter is in support of ACCA’s position on the Home Star Program [“The Trouble With Home Star,” by Paul Stalknecht, Aug. 23.] It looks like the forces that aligned to push this through in its current form wanted to move fast and avoid scrutiny. Behind the green, eco facade lies powerful business interests. The question is, are they the HVAC contractors’ interests?

Why didn’t Matt Golden [in his guest opinion column “Home Star Is a Workable Solution” Aug. 23] disclose that he is on the board of directors for BPI [Building Performance Institute Inc.]?

Is it practical to make small contractors carry the cost of consumer rebates? Will the cost of accreditation in terms of time, money, and equipment be too costly for small contractors? Shouldn’t contractors with other accreditations from organizations such as NATE, RSES, ACCA, etc., qualify?

How can any company audit its own work?  Is the “whole house energy audit” nothing but a sales pitch used by weatherization companies to sell homeowners on energy upgrades? Will these companies subcontract HVAC work to HVAC contractors?

Are the energy simulations that demonstrate consumer savings flawed?

What happens when consumers who have adjusted their lifestyles based on their new comfort levels do not realize promised savings?

I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I think we, as an industry, had better ask them before it’s too late.

Andy Fracica, President
Fracica Enterprises, Inc.
Fort Wayne, Ind.

The Home Star Bill Is Worth Supporting

[Editor’s note: This letter is in response to various articles on the Home Star bill before the U.S. Congress.]

We [at this organization] are convinced that removing accreditation will kill the bill. Also we believe that the direct-to-consumer rebate isn’t politically or administratively feasible, cost-effective, or necessary to the success of the program. 

BPI Accreditation - or any other comparable program approved by the Secretary of Energy - is required under the smaller Gold Star program. Certification is about consumer protection. The unfortunate reality with billions of taxpayer dollars on the line “We’re contractors, just trust us” isn’t good enough. In states with programs and incentives, incentives lower than those anticipated under Home Star, contractors have shown that they are willing and able to get accredited.

The current administration and Senate examined the direct to consumer rebate model and determined it wasn’t practical or cost-effective to create yet another federal infrastructure to support millions of rebate claims.

We anticipate that the rebate will account for approximately 20 percent of the cost of the typical qualifying HVAC project.  Covering this relatively small amount for the 30 days detailed in the legislation should fit well within the means of fiscally responsible contractors.

All told, of the $6 billion contained in the bill, we expect between $3 billion and $4 billion of incentives to flow to the HVAC industry. We as an industry need to support this bill.

Tracy K. Price CEO & President, TLG Corporate
The Linc Group
Irvine, Calif.

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Publication date:09/20/2010