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Look out, trainers- Carrier has a new certification program called Energy Experts. Still finding out what they're teaching, but it looks like a faction apart from BPI and RESNET.

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Comments

  • Glen, you have a good point about keeping things simple, but keeping things simple is one thing, allowing someone to advertise Home Performance and cost effective energy efficient upgrades without accountability is another thing entirely. Again, very good point on the keep it simple stuff.
  • Daniel, you didn't say exactly this, but a casual read might lead one to gather that home performance means "cost-effective". But home performance does NOT necessarily mean "cost-effective energy efficient upgrades". To not stray further from the topic of this thread, I stated a new discussion where I explain this further:
    http://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view= ... mp_1110797
  • Great analogy, Glen.
  • I don't think the main differing point of views here has been about what is the definition of anything. My main point of view is that a contractor should not be able to sell cost effective energy efficiency without accountability. I've never said a homeowner can't choose to make decisions that are not cost effective, nor did I say a contractor should not be able to comply with those decisions. Going back to BPI's original tenant of what an energy auditor is supposed to do is to provide the homeowner with a list of cost effective energy upgrades.
  • If you don't say or imply your work will save energy, then accountability is to provide the service or product you promised.

    If you do imply or say your solutions will save energy, you are saying the product is discounted by that savings. Tracking your results and ranking your ability to deliver against others who make the same claims should not make you uncomfortable. You should have some skin in the game or nothing prevents people over promising. In fact, without accountability the biggest liars are the biggest winners, and the whole industry is seen as a liars industry.

    A registry should make you all very happy. The list differentiates you from those not on the list, and allows you to directly benefit from ability to deliver excellence. This newfound accountability and transparency mechanism takes your industry from one with a terrible reputation to new, never before experienced levels of professionalism and honor.

    At least that's how I feel. Thats the industry I want to be involved in.
  • Glen, that's hilarious. Thank you for adding it- I may repeat that in my upcoming class tomorrow.
  • The following slideshow containing my musing on why an HVAC contractor would be interested in home performance--with a few of the reasons why a well-run HVAC company, with the right approach, can thrive. (Think active customer base! A customer-for-life approach trumps eat-what-you-kill.)

    http://www.slideshare.net/mikerogers334 ... iness-case

    As mentioned earlier, I can't speak for Carrier. But they have seen leading HVAC contractors pull further away from the HVAC pack by broadening their pallet of solutions.
  • I have to share this. Check out this savings illustration given to a client by a "reputable" HVAC dealer who is proposing an equipment change-out (AC + furnace): http://bit.ly/PXwlWJ (there's no identifying information on the illustration)

    If dealer had bothered to check historical utility bills, he would have seen that the electric rate is under 11 cents and gas rate under 50 cents (illustration assumes 15.5 and 107 respectively). Also, the illustration assumes ~1,200 therms/yr for heating. But historical gas usage indicates actual is closer to 360 therms/year after accounting for dhw. So heating actually costs around $180/year. The illustration estimates $1,284!

    What this client needs is a new duct system, not a high-end oversized multi-stage AC and condensing multi-stage furnace. Savings for sealed combustion vs. 80% works out to about $30/yr (furnace is in vented attic).
  • First, this is not necessarily a reflection of the Energy Experts program, and we shouldn't confuse laziness with a step in the right direction.

    That said, this guy is a goof ball--I'd like to seem him guarantee savings. (BTW--as mentioned earlier, you do not need at accurate model to guarantee savings--just conservative assumptions. Ted, in your case with a consistent floor at 90% realization, for example, you could set your guarantee at 90% of whatever the model spits out, for example. And you don't need to wait for a program to do this! Start selling against the blusterers who won't back up their numbers. I repeat--you don't need a program to do this. You can do it today. Back up your claims with money, and make it simple to understand and simple to hold you accountable.)
  • David and Mike,

    I agree with your points.

    Figures don’t Lie, Liars Figure.

    You are both right, you do not need a computer to lie, but unconsciously people believe the computer, so the computer is the perfect tool to legitimize lies, you just start with the answer you want and work you assumptions backward. Most HP programs demand that we lie, even tell us what lies they want from us to get their money, and since everyone in the system has incentives to lie it all works out perfectly. Except the nice lady only saves 38% of what we told her. Oh well, it will be a year from now till she thinks about it, and hey, we made the sale.

    Lets look at David’s Document.
    For old houses,
    all contractors (yes, every single one) back into the loads they want (conformation bias) and because the procedure is simple, silly, and no one can ever know the correct answer, every answer is right. Over large numbers “operating loads” run about 70% of "design loads". Without “truing up your model”, and as David correctly noted, the overstated loads are the first lie. SEER and HSPF are total lies; my team built all the AHRI “validations” so I will burn in hell for this too. In David's example both systems are 16 SEER, so how is there any savings at all? The FSEC has done a good job of unwinding our lies. If you care to know just how bad SEER/HSPF is lying it is a function of how big the SEER and how Hot your area design temperature is.SEER essentially tells you the efficiency of an AC unit at 82 outside with 0% RH and highlights the fact that AC units are extremely efficient when they are off. Fuel rate escalation rate assumptions allow the liar to inflate savings and make anything look good, but in truth electric and gas rates have been going down. The liar in David’s example used 6% kicker to artificially goose his numbers.


    Reality, what a concept.
    We have very sophisticated models, we can predict post retrofit behavioral changes, true up savings estimates to actual usage, deliver far better modeling accuracy in real time without ever going to the home than any HP guy can deliver from the customer’s kitchen, and yes, we will bet on it. The problem with truth and accuracy, as David’s example illustrates, is that ROI is a house of cards, an argument that falls apart when the “reality” is exposed, is much, much less than advertised, and no one benefits from the truth.

    So, we all burn in hell, what r u gonna, do..
  • Well do as I use to.... when selling windows, HVAC and or insulation - do the obvious corrections of sealing the attic lid and making simple duct improvements. Let them think the energy savings are coming from those new windows, or HVAC system - and by doing a little more in the attic - the feel good energy savings predictions - just might now make homeowner feel good! And toss in some cfls just for gigges - homeonwners really do not care where the savings come from - yet seeing some savings is still important - but if they feel comfortable - missing any savings predictions is not an issue.

    I'll recognize you in hell pj, you'll be the beacon burning white hot!
  • Chandler, I hope we all subscribe to the, "under promise and over deliver" philosophy that you're describing. Unfortunately, that does very little to set a window or HVAC contractor apart from their competition unless the homeowner is aware of those hidden freebies that you included. With that said, how does that help in advancing the "Recovery through Retrofit initiative that we've all been trying to advance in our own unique style. I am referring to the 1st of 3 barriers to scaling the industry that the report laid out for us, consumer information.
  • Well - I did not "give" these simple improvements away, got to charge something for all services, either build into price of major delivery or separately. With a $10+ large system change out there was enough there to do a couple hours of lid sealing and obvious duct enhancements - and certainly these improvements were promoted in my proposals.... which clearly separated me from the other "bubbas". Consumers listen and rely on contractor heavily - that is where the mastic meets the sheet metal on consumer information... sadly not RTR
  • We need more efficiency trained HVAC trades... education is welcome.
  • http://www.tdlr.state.tx.us/meetings.htm I would appreciate you taking a look at the November 14, 2012 meeting on Real player at this address and give me your feedback. It may not be up quite yet, but when it does come up, just click on it and you can watch the meeting on RealPlayer. You can click on the written agenda before watching to see where I'm going. I highly recommend it to anyone in the Rater/Auditor industry. It's an eye opener as to what can happen if you let it. Let's not let this happen.
  • Larry, I recall you mentioned this meeting earlier in the thread. Without dragging us too far off topic, would you provide a brief summary of what happened at the meeting? I'm not inclined to listen to a recording of an entire meeting to glean the gems (also, I now and forever refuse to install RealPlayer on my computer).
  • David,
    Here is the jist of it.
    2. The Board passed the following recommendations-

    a. home energy auditors should be required to be licensed as air conditioning and refrigeration contractors if they design systems or include air conditioning and refrigeration equipment in their audit recommendations and reports; and

    b. the rules under 16 Texas Administrative Code Section 75.100 should be amended to include home energy auditors and to address the need for these auditors to be licensed as air conditioning and refrigeration contractors
  • Does Texas require architects to be licensed as home builders? What a great way to stifle change and perpetuate bad design.

    Guess hvac design engineers who AREN'T contractors should stay away from energy auditing.

    Only the fox is allowed to guard the henhouse? Hvac contractors, particularly in Texas (according to HP friends I have there) are generally the LEAST qualified to do design.
  • People with the money get the laws written & passed. That is just how it is.
  • Larry, you mentioned ACCA in your previous message. Were they involved in this? Also, you referred to these changes as recommendations. Does the state legislature have to take action on this?

    I can understand where this is coming from, and can't say that I disagree. I've seen some pretty stupid recommendations coming from energy auditors and raters. Most are not qualified to do mechanical design.

    I noticed that Section 75.100 already includes a section on testing and balancing -- those who test do not need to be licensed, but those who balance, do. I agree with that as well. As I stated in another thread yesterday, folks who make it their business to alter HVAC airflow performance (through duct sealing, or in this case, balancing) should fully understand the implications and consequences on refrigeration performance.

    Presumably the Energy Star HVAC Rater Checklist wouldn't be a problem under these new rules since the HVAC contractor has to "buy in" to ESv3, and the rater is simply verifying that program requirements are being met. I see 3rd party load calcs as a gray area since the output of the load calc process is a characterization of the home, not the mechanical system. The buildling loads are simply an input into the design process. Manuals D, S & T on the other hand are clearly mechanical design activities.

    BTW, Ted, your analogy about architects doesn't hold water since architects have their own education and licensing requirements. Texas doesn't license energy auditors, and in any case, their certifications don't qualify them to do hvac design.
  • David, when an HVAC contractor replaces a 100,000 btu furnace and 4 ton A/C with the exact same thing in a 1400 sf home, would you call that design?

    Not sure why you would require auditors be hvac contractors rather than having their own standards, just as architects do.

    Sometimes people have difficulty seeing what holds water if they only look from inside the pool.
  • Ted, just because some hvac contractors don't follow good design practice doesn't mean a state should allow someone with no hvac credentials to do design work.

    you wrote:
    > Not sure why you would require auditors be hvac contractors rather than having their own standards, just as architects do.

    Hmm... first, states would have to create licensing rules and requirements for energy professionals (not a bad idea), and second, in order to cover hvac design, those requirements would have to stipulate a lot of requisite knowledge and experience. That's not where the market is now, nor is it on the horizon. Methinks you're the one who needs to get out of the pool ;-)
  • David,

    LOL, I seem to be both in the pool AND unable to hold water.

    That's OK. I'm as human and likely more fallible than you, and have no illusions or problems with that.



    But my designs kick the snot out of not only the typical HVAC contractors, but all HVAC contractors (excluding those who work with Richard Rue).

    Please prove me wrong. It won't be done without proof that homeowners are as or more comfortable than when they arrived, and the energy savings are significant, and within a reasonable margin of error. I hope eventually I will be proven wrong. I want desperately for a world where I am wrong about this.

    But right now good luck with that, I can't find anybody else that either polls customers following the work , or gets energy results (again, excluding Richard Rue/Energy Wise), much less both.

    When the marketplace learns to create incentive for energy savings, those receiving the incentive will be delivering the best design. You want the people with skin in the result doing design. (No results tracking, no skin.)

    If that person is an auditor, Texas will continue to lead as one of the most energy backwards states in the nation (I have pictures of the duct designs that are still acceptable in Texas).

    So my pool may not hold water, but this pool is empty:

    "...home energy auditors should be required to be licensed as air conditioning and refrigeration contractors if they design systems or include air conditioning and refrigeration equipment in their audit recommendations and report"
  • Ted, I was just rebutting the points you made in your previous comment. I have no doubt your designs/recommendations would trump most of what I see from licensed contractors. But the fact remains that not very many energy auditors/raters are qualified to do hvac design. I would agree that Texas homeowners would be much better served if the regulators tidied up their own house rather than picking on auditors.
  • !!!Saw the Carrier Energy 360 marketing presentation, and they're still insisting it's HVAC first, air distribution and filtration second, and envelope third.

    http://www.myhomeenergyexperts.com/about.php

    We need to do what we can to make sure that Carrier's marketing doesn't cause a major disagreement with the building performance community that ends up hurting the individual Carrier-certified companies.

    If you know any of these companies, please reach out and ask them to tell Carrier that their marketing is off-base on this point. If they still insist on trying to sell this misinformation, I say we can move ahead with battle at that point. But I'd rather have the program succeed and work in harmony with all of us. What do you say, team?
  • I'm not sure how much that program is going to get off the ground. Local dealers are balking at the notion of forking out 30K for an (in their eyes) unproven concept. I find it hard to imagine that this could be a bad thing, even if they say HVAC first, which is understandable coming from an HVAC company. I can't imagine they are going to go in with a blower door and infrared imaging and still continue doing business as usual. They will pretty much have to make envelope improvements. I mean it is one thing to ignore a problem that every other HVAC company has been ignoring over the years, but it is an entirely a different matter to actually be trained in finding the problem, and spend time with expensive equipment in locating the problem, and THEN ignoring the problem.
  • That's an EXCELLENT point, Dan, and I do agree- I just don't want the messaging to be wildly different for our clients. If we say HVAC last and they say HVAC first, people are going to think we're all just selling our opinions, when in fact we are correct and they are not.
  • LOL, I love it when I'm not the naive one!

    Danny, these guys grew UP forcing square pegs into round holes. Not sure they're ready for ROUND pegs! (MORE LOL)

    They view homeowner budgets as limited, and they want first pass at the buffet. Your post is elegantly simple, brilliantly clear, and painfully obvious, but is that what will happen?

    I'd like to be optimistic, but will that again make me the most naive guy at the table? I don't know...
  • This just
    moves the HVAC guys into the realm of the window salesmen. Sad.
  • When I specify a 100,000 btu furnace and they ignore the specification, coming back with recommendation of 140,000 btu mod/con to an air handler, with "strategically" placed TOE KICK HEATERS!

    When they say one furnace won't carry that house because currently it has two. (We turned one twin off, and the house is being carried by 64,000 btu until single digits extend for days. 97,000 out will be PLENTY. 78,000 out might even do it.)

    When I see Mod-Con after Mod-Con set at 160-180f.

    YES, I think they are no different than window salesmen. They know their product, maybe, but they don't necessarily know what it DOES.

    Then they claim energy savings they never intend to track, and therefore have no past experience to base the claims upon.

    HMMM, Maybe they are worse than window sales!

    The only furnace guys I know that have an understanding of how a furnace is part of a complex system are the guys who have been through BPI and experienced the pain for trying to shoe-horn the old slap dash approach into Home Performance.

    But WAIT! Those guys are no longer furnace guys, they are now Building Scientists. So maybe all furnace guys suck? Or maybe those not actively making the transition?

    It's a long hard learning process, made longer for some by resistance to change.