With Eye on HVAC, CEC Commissioner Shares California’s Ambitious Goals


Commissioner McAllister stated that the greatest reduction in carbon footprints to date in California have been with the mass adoption of LED lights, where people screw in their LED lights and don't have to worry about it again. With lighting well on the way to being addressed, he stated that the CEC is turning more attention to HVAC, which is not likely to have such a simple “product” fix.

HVAC in existing buildings will be key to helping CA meet its “Under2” goals, with particular emphasis on quality HVAC installations, retro-commissioning, and deep retrofits.

WHPA Cited as Model of EE Communication at ACCA White House Meeting

Don Langston, incoming Chairman of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) association and active member of the WHPA since its founding in 2009, took the WHPA with him to a White House Roundtable on the HVAC Industry.

The ACCA board met on October 6, 2016 with senior staff from the Department of Labor, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the White House Director for Environmental Studies.

Suggestion for WHPA involvement

Don cited the WHPA as a possible forum to bring multiple industry stakeholders together in future meetings on HVAC and energy efficiency.

“There are a lot of gears that are not meshing between the various agencies, and also between the agencies and the HVAC industry,” Don told government officials. “They need to do more listening and the WHPA can help do that.”

One of Don’s goals as incoming ACCA Chairman is to facilitate better communication with the federal government so they can understand the value that the HVAC industry brings to the country and also develop more effective policies, regulations, and programs.

Don Langston (ACCA) at a White House Roundtable on HVAC

ACCA educates federal agencies

At the meeting, ACCA helped the three agencies better understand:

  • How ACCA speaks for many small contractors and is an important voice for the HVAC industry;
  • How the HVAC industry can align with workforce development to create better paying jobs;
  • How the HVAC industry can positively impact the environment;
  • How the HVAC industry and its contractors can impact residential and commercial buildings for indoor air quality.

The ACCA board also brought up concerns relevant to the agencies, including the overlap and contradictions in regulation between DOE and EPA. Don explained that improving energy efficiency does not have to all be done with regulation – there is a carrot and a stick for marketplace transformation.

ACCA suggests contractors should be part of the solution

Another issue raised by ACCA at the roundtable is that the DOE puts requirements on the manufacturers to provide equipment that delivers improved energy efficiency. “The intentions are good, but the execution is not getting the desired results,” said Don. “They are forcing manufacturers to make higher efficiency products, which cost more, because the DOE thinks that selling a box will yield EE savings and achieve their energy goals. That is not reality.”

“You can get closer to those achievable goals by having trained contractors with trained technicians install equipment properly, to put in a total system. There needs to be a paradigm shift of total system efficiency,” said Don.

Possible pilot with high performance contractors

Don provided a suggestion to the DOE, which controls a lot of block grants for states. “Why don’t you fund a pilot project with a utility company, using what we are doing in CA as a pilot project? We, as high performance contractors training our technicians, can get you [the US government] the results you need and more.” He then cited examples from programs he has done with San Diego Gas & Electric and with Southern California Edison.”

Don concluded, “My key theme was to highlight the WHPA as an example of cooperation; of various stakeholders in HVAC and energy efficiency coming together to understand various points of view. And that it takes years to start understanding one another.”

New California EE Legislation and “Strike Team” input from WHPA Are Big Topics at Annual WHPA Leadership Meeting

The annual In-Person WHPA Leadership Meeting provides two intense days to learn about and debate “big” topics. The 2016 meeting (its seventh annual) on November 17 and 18 in Pasadena was no exception.

The 60 plus attendees included the entire WHPA Executive Committee and also Committee Chairs, members of the Council of Advisors, California policy officials, utility representatives, and other industry stakeholders.

2016 has seen the fruition of much far-reaching California energy efficiency legislation that will impact HVAC. Speakers from the California Energy Commission (CEC) including Commissioner Andrew McAllister and the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) made presentations to educate the WHPA attendees.

Another major topic was the new Business Plan and Implementation Plan process that is in place for the IOUs; it required HVAC industry feedback within a few weeks to a few months to meet IOU schedules.

Executive Committee Co-Chair Jeanne Duvall of PG&E explained the concept of what she informally calls “strike teams” to quickly provide very focused input to the IOUs to help them develop effective HVAC programs for energy efficiency.

After the meeting, Jeanne opined that “The work done this week will shape the framework for how the WHPA evolves to meet the changing landscape (of legislation and of the required processes to be followed by the IOUs).“

Carmen Best of the CPUC was a presenter and active participant. She said, “The two days were a frank exchange and vetting of ideas. I always appreciate hearing from people who work in the field. No one is bashful in speaking up. I have observed an evolution of the WHPA during the past several years; people are informed about the CPUC processes.”

Notes from the meeting will be posted on the WHPA website once approved by the Executive Committee.

The agendas, presentations, and photos from the Leadership Meeting are here.

Legislative information here.

Breakout session information here.

WHPA to Hit the Ground Running in 2017

WHPA committees and working groups kick off each year by defining their goals for that calendar year. This process often lasts for a few months, reducing the amount of time the groups have to work on their projects.

That process is streamlining in 2017. The Executive Committee (EC) has approved moving to a two-year cycle for the committee and working group goal-setting process. The current 2016 plans will roll into 2017 so the work can continue without interruption.

Ron Jarnigan of ASHRAE, Co-Chair of the Executive Committee, made the motion at the September 14 EC meeting and it was unanimously approved. Jarnigan recounted that in 2015 as a Committee Chair he felt that his committee was driven by the one-year cycle to deliver a big output in a short period of time. Sometimes there was a tradeoff of getting more quality input, adding, “I think this is a much better approach.”

Certain requirements were established with the change in timing:
  • All committees will have two-year SMART Goals and Implementation Plans.
  • All working groups will have Implementation Plans up to two years.
  • All committees and working groups must have work product goals with quarterly measurable milestones and annual work products.

The California Public Utility Commission depends on the input of WHPA Committees and Working groups to advise their work. WHPA Executive Committee member Carmen Best of the CPUC voiced her support of the now approved plan, stating that “the two-year cycle seems more realistic; WHPA input is very important to us.”

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