2010 ACI Conference Roundup

The Performance Systems Development team was out in force at the 2010 Affordable Comfort, Inc., (ACI) Home Performance Conference in Austin, Texas. Through educational presentations, special sessions and displays, conference attendees previewed the innovative products and services that place PSD at the forefront of the building performance industry. Here are a few highlights from the conference:

Presentations

Greg Thomas, Kathy Greely, Conrad Metcalfe and Jerone Gagliano presented in several sessions throughout the conference. Topics included:

Utility Bill Analysis

The goal of residential energy audits and large-scale efficiency programs is to decrease overall energy use. Whether applied to a single home or on a citywide scale, the analysis of utility bills can offer tremendous opportunities to identify cost-effective energy efficient measures (EEMs). As a complement to energy audits, utility bill analysis empowers the auditor to distinguish base-load from weather dependent energy use and “tune” predictive savings calculations. On large scales, utility bill analysis can systematically target inefficient buildings enabling the analyst to maximize the effectiveness of efficiency programs without walking through a single home.  Download PowerPoint slides

Engaging Occupants Through Energy Budgets & Tracking

If you deal with clients and energy efficiency measures, then you probably already know just how challenging motivating and engaging an occupant can be. You need not only quality customer service by a reporting method that can be understood easily.

Rating Panels II: The What, Where, & How (Panel)

Terms like “building rating,” “building labeling” and “building performance” are all the rage as the momentum, thought, and dollars behind retrofitting existing residential buildings grows. But what is really on the table here as we “peel away at the onion”? Some of the basics and some of the bigger issues include: model accuracy, auditor infrastructure, costs, single-family versus multi-family, and implementation through Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®, Home Star, and others.

Utility & Weatherization Tracking Systems

Today there are cost effective technologies that can simplify and automate the entire weatherization and utility program process to help you to track, monitor and manage the process flow instantly and online. This makes the job easier, simplifies tasks and shortens the flow from client identification to completed job and reporting. These new technologies are low cost and can result in a significant improvement in resource allocation and efficiency in any size business while meeting government requirements. Electronic reporting can streamline your weekly reporting efforts and provide helpful tools for efficient program compliance.

Making Affordable Housing Green: Real Costs, Real Savings, & Lessons Learned

Overcoming the myth that affordable housing cannot “afford” to be built to green standards is the key to green housing. Incremental costs including energy and water savings were tracked for thirty affordable housing developments built to the Green Communities® criteria. The report of these findings was recently released, Incremental Costs, Measurable Savings. It outlines the long-term benefits of green building methods, includes data from more than three years of learning, and outlines a path to a greener affordable housing future. Download PDF of Presentation 

Smart Evaluation: Improve Your HP Program

Smart, effective and timely program evaluations need to guide program evolution. Done right and adopted, program evaluations are key to growing HPwES and all efficiency programs. What are the hot buttons for utilities as they review performances and make plans for future funding? Come gain insights on how these important evaluations can help to manage expectations and support successful programs. Download PowerPoint slides

Using Billing Data as a Sales Tool

Billing data is a major source of information to support the retrofit process that is barely utilized. Billing data can support consumer education and motivation, benchmarking against peers, model calibration, quality assurance and tracking of actual savings. This session will explore methods of integrating billing data with retrofit process.

Software

Software, a vital tool for businesses in the energy efficiency industry, allowing users to thoroughly analyze data, make accurate predictions, develop solutions and generate user-friendly reports, was highlighted in a special session at the conference. At the Software Showcase, Greg Thomas and John McCartney conducted live demonstrations of three standouts in PSD’s group of products. Building Performance Compass, PSD’s energy benchmarking tool for multifamily and commercial buildings, allows owners, contractors, engineers, and program administrators to work together in one centralized space. Building Performance Compass offers:

  • Building Comparison view provides overview of disaggregated energy use of all buildings in a portfolio
  • Energy savings report with fast feedback of actual energy savings compared to modeled savings
  • Program-level administrative reporting
  • Multifamily spaces and meter sampling
  • EPA Portfolio Manager score compatibility
  • Model upload for energy savings report
  • Model calibration/validation

Green Energy Compass, an energy benchmarking tool for single-family and residential buildings, is available for contractors as well as HPwES programs. Green Energy Compass:

  • Offers program-level administrative reporting on contractor performance
  • Reports on energy use and peer comparison for use with customers to help close the deal during the audit
  • Tracking
  • Model calibration/validation

TREAT (Targeted Retrofit Energy Analysis Tool) offers high accuracy energy modeling and fast, efficient follow-up in a single tool, and is used by professionals in 22 states. PSD offers free downloadable demos, so you can see how TREAT works for your business today! TREAT features include:

Training

    • New 3.2 release has enhanced reporting for better communication with customers and clearer presentation
    • Improvement package comparison
    • DOE approved for weatherization – ALL buildings
    • BESTEST approved, will be BESTEST EX approved and ready for HOME STAR

At the conference’s “Train the Trainer” event, Conrad Metcalfe shared information on how Performance Systems Academy is helping home performance businesses and new training providers succeed by providing expert guidance, tools, and technical support. The single largest hurdle to transforming the marketplace and the economy for green jobs is the lack of experienced trainers. With regular support sessions, we can address the challenges new trainers face, whether they are in the classroom or in the field.

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