CPUC’s Carmen Best Talks HVAC

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  JULY 2016

WHPA Sits Down with CPUC’s Best

Carmen Best, CPUC
With the recent flurry of regulatory, policy and legislative activity, Shea Dibble, WHPA Director of Regulatory Affairs and Policy, sat down with Carmen Best, Supervisor of Energy Efficiency Commercial Programs & Evaluation with the CPUC, to briefly discuss the evolution of energy efficiency programs, the importance of modeling and field analysis, and the WHPA’s role in the industry.

How did you get to where you are today, having such an important role within the CPUC?

My interest in energy efficiency goes back to the late ‘90s when I was enrolled in a new graduate school program on energy efficiency at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I had just returned from volunteering with the Peace Corps in Niger and was interested in the nexus of rural development and energy policy. In Niger, I was made very aware of the realities of energy usage and in a subsistence lifestyle. That experience got me thinking about the wide range of strategies to make life better through energy decisions.

My graduate work was focused on energy program impacts and policy analysis. That introduced me to how evaluation can be used to define, understand, and track progress of specific energy policies which in turn led me to the CPUC as they were launching their evaluation activities. I was particularly interested in understanding how analysis, evaluation would intersect with decision-making within a regulatory institution. That was 2009, and I continue to have interesting challenges and opportunities related to the support of policy making through field analysis. I’ve been very lucky to work in a space where I get exposure to research and analysis in addition to energy policy activity, which I really enjoy.

On the topic of field analysis, California has mechanisms that utilize field analysis and modeling to describe energy savings attributions. Are both required? Is one better than the other?

Modeling and field analysis are inextricably linked and equally important. Modeling is... >> READ MORE


WHPA Members Participate in DOE Workshop on Residential A/C Installation

Thirteen WHPA members made the trek to Washington DC in May to attend the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) workshop on residential air conditioning, facilitated by Navigant Consulting. They joined forces with other stakeholders to brainstorm initiatives that would reduce energy losses due to improper installation practices.

The workshop began with an overview by the DOE, followed by five stakeholder presentations. Three of the presentations were from active WHPA participants Chandler Von Schrader (EPA Energy Star), Glenn Hourahan (ACCA), and Buck Taylor (Roltay Inc.). A theme among the speakers was the important role that installation quality plays in national energy policy.

After the presentations, the group rolled up its sleeves and started brainstorming initiatives that would help mitigate poor residential installations. The breakout sessions yielded 66 ideas for technology, deployment, and policy initiatives for the DOE’s consideration, which were then prioritized.


Excerpt from Installation Workshop Summary released by DOE/Navigant



Buck Taylor of Roltay Inc., said, “It is encouraging to see the DOE take interest in the potential value of installation practices and its impact in national energy use. I am hopeful that the DOE can take inventory of activities already occurring in the marketplace and perhaps add significant value with timely and meaningful research that can simplify or add clarity to installations, design methods, and models.”

View the Installation Workshop Summary for the complete list of initiatives and attendees (located in Appendix at end of doc). For more information, please contact Jim Young with Navigant.

Join a Working Group and Make an Impact

WHPA Committees often create Working Groups to achieve a specific task. Temporary by design, Working Groups are where a small set of members roll up their sleeves, engage in healthy deliberation, and produce something that is often the first of its kind.

Let your voice be heard! The groups below are searching for a few good men and women to participate in short-term working groups.

  • NEW! Online Permitting – seeking a variety of HVAC stakeholders
  • Whole Building Career Lattice – seeking college-level educators
  • WE&T Comparable Training – seeking those with expertise in training, certification, or accreditation
  • CQM Standard 180 User Guide – seeking end users, building owners, and facility managers

Please contact us if you would like more information or to join one of these groups.

WHPA Goals and Milestones for 2016

Earlier this year, the Executive Committee prioritized 32 goals for the Committees and Working Groups of the WHPA. Representative examples of these SMART Goal Topics are to “provide input into Compliance Components of SB350” and “identify FDD technology opportunities for new IOU program energy savings and incentives.”

The Executive Committee has now also approved Implementation Plans that list the milestones for bringing each goal to fruition. Click the links below to view each group’s goals and implementation plans.

Redefining HVAC Efficiency

Rob Falke

Contracting Business recently published an article about the WHPA Commercial Quality Installation Committee's (CQI) efforts to define an "efficient installation."

The article was authored by Rob Falke, President of the National Comfort Institute and CQI Chair, who argues that, “Highly rated efficient equipment, installed safely and to code, does not ensure an efficient installation. In fact, a typical HVAC system only delivers about 60% of its rated capacity.”

To develop a new performance-based measurement of efficient installation, the CQI Committee commissioned the Field Testing Data Specification Working Group, chaired by Pete Jacobs, President of BuildingMetrics and consultant to the CPUC.

The anticipated outcome of this ongoing collaboration is a test and calculation method of the actual efficiency and capacity delivered into a building rather than equipment ratings. This new efficiency measurement should be able to be used on new, retrofitted, and existing HVAC systems.


The Western HVAC Performance Alliance was established in 2009. About 231 organizations in 26 stakeholder categories are working together to help transform from the residential and small commercial HVAC industry to ensure that technology, equipment, installation and maintenance are of the highest quality to promote energy efficiency and peak load reduction. In this role the WHPA provides input to California Investor-Owned Utilities. For more information, contact info@performancealliance.org.


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