21 Recommendations for ACI 2013

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OK, here are three lists: sessions I don’t want to miss, people that you should meet, and some other things you should attend or take advantage of at ACI in Denver.

7 Sessions I Don’t Want to Miss at ACI

We’ve all got our lists. And there are many good sessions (alas, sometimes happening at the same time!). Here are some that are grabbing my interest–and my attendance–this year.

  1. Assessing Savings Claims Using Simple Physics & Reasoning; Presenter:
    Michael Blasnik. Michael is a master at cutting through the B.S. of goofy claims.
  2. Comprehensive vs. Clipboard Audits; Presenters: Greg Thomas, Chandler von Schrader, Paul Krieser, Michael Blasnik, Troy Tanner, Ben Gromicko.  I’ll go in with an open mind—but ready to challenge any myths or conjecture offered as truth!
  3. QA/QC- What’s the Freakin’ Difference?;  Presenters: John Tooley and Dan Lutz. Not sure about the title, but I always learn something when John talks quality!
  4. Home Performance Profits for Your HVAC Business; Presenters: Brad Bartholomew, Eric Kjelshus, Jeremy Wallrich, +TBD. Okay, I’ll be there in part because I just volunteered to moderate the discussion! But mostly because I think this is one of the most exciting opportunities in home performance!
  5. Women in Home Performance Panel; Presenters: Ann Edminster, Danielle Byrnette, Amanda Evans, and Courtney Moriarta. If our industry, or our businesses, don’t do a better job pulling in talent from half our population, we’re doomed. It was a good discussion last year, and promises to be this year. I’ll add a note of disappointment, though: no woman contractors or technicians on the panel—and if you talk about anything in home performance without contractors, you’re missing the critical piece of the puzzle!
  6. Energy Modeling vs. Reality; Presenters: Ben Polly and Michael Blasnik. Geez, it seems like I’m stalking Blasnik this year. But it’s only because he’s got a raft of great topics and he uses data to cut to the heart of matters so well.
  7. This one I’m leaving blank:  you tell me!

7 People You Might Not Know Yet
But Should Track Down and Meet at ACI

Sure, our industry has its share of rock stars, and if you can have a conversation with Tooley, Nelson, Proctor, Lstiburek, Manclark, Mac (and others!) grab the chance. But there are a lot of people doing great things every day, some who will be the rock stars of tomorrow. You may not know that folks below, but you’d be better off if you did. And whether it’s the people on this list or others, make sure you talk with people you don’t know yet!

  1. Corbett Lunsford.  Corbett is a relative newcomer to the industry, but wow, want an entrance. He’s doing great stuff in Chicagoland as a consultant and trainer, and his Home Performance Diagnostics book is a welcome addition to the library. (I’ll give that a full review later.
  2. Amy Beley. It’s good to see the next generation of leaders emerging, and Amy definitely fits that description. Working at the program level, both in support of HPwES nationally and a variety of local programs, she demonstrates that smart management and a real interest in making programs work for contractors are key components of success.
  3. Brad Bartholomew. Smart HVAC contractors are going to have a huge impact on home performance in coming years. Brad brings common sense and the great ethic of a long-time family-owned HVAC business to home performance. He’s generous in talking about what works, and he’s got keen insights into what doesn’t work at the program level.
  4. Russ Eisenberg. Russ is with Indow Windows. They’ve got a great solution, and good data, to address those big problem areas that a lot of contractors and energy geeks don’t touch. I’m here to tell you that having a bunch of crappy windows in an otherwise well-insulated home can create some real comfort and satisfaction problems. Ask Russ about the Indows solution.
  5. Steve Pelton. Warning, Steve talks so fast, you might need a time machine to keep up. Steve runs a successful contracting business in Connecticut. He can talk about how solar sells efficiency and a variety of contracting stuff. Importantly, he’s a relative newcomber to the Efficiency First board, and the current Policy Chair. He’d love to hear what’s working for you—and want isn’t. And he’s also working on a variety of preferred buying programs and discounts for EF members.
  6. Peter Troast. You should know Peter. He’s brings a lot of outside experience to help understand how to market home performance—and he’s already helping hundreds of contractors figure that out. Contractors and program folks alike would benefit from talking with Peter and the Energy Circle gang.
  7. David Butler. David is the moderator of the RESNET-BPI group, and a smart, level-headed guy. And he’s the one guyu on this list that I haven’t even met in person myself!

7 Other Things of Interest at ACI

Somebody ought to tell you about these things, so I will!

  1. “Data session(s)”. There are sessions with exciting (and I’m not kidding, this stuff is exciting with big potential implications for the industry) conversations about data scheduled in the nooks and crannies around the main event. Check with Robin LeBaron of NHPC or the folks at Energy Savvy to find out what, when, and where.
  2. #ACIAfterDark. The formal sessions are one thing. But the good conversation almost never stops at the national conference. From 6am breakfast meetings to people still talking shop at midnight (albeit with a cocktail in hand). Keep your ears open, or keep tabs of #ACIAfterDark on Twitter
  3. Efficiency First Reception. Contractors are the heart of residential retrofit. And as the BRIM report, and many others have said, if you want energy-efficiency to succeed, you’ve got to engage them. Efficiency First is the way to do that. The reception is for EF members—if you’re not a member, join, and attend!
  4. Making Good HVAC Design a Reality Presenters: Skye Dunning, Duncan Prahl, and Bruce Manclark. I listen to what they have to say because they call it like the see it, defying conventional dogma when needed.
  5. Integrating Resilience & Energy Efficiency in Existing Homes Presenters: Rose Grant, Bill Rose, Joe Lstiburek, and Linda Wigington. This is going to be a big deal for the industry—you should start exploring is now.
  6. Mac on Mold; Presenters: Mac Pearce. Quite simply, if you haven’t seen Mac talk about mold, you have to.
  7. The hallway. Half the benefit of the conference comes from the informal discussions in the hallway. Stop someone—ask a question. Share a story.

These are three lists from me. What do you recommend to your colleagues and peers?

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About the Author:

Mike Rogers is the President of OmStout Consulting. A nationally recognized expert in residential energy-efficiency, he works with contractors and programs to scale sustainable market approaches to improving homes. More on Google+


  1. Jamie Clark  April 24, 2013

    Mike , how about I just follow you around all week? It seems like you have it figured out. I am looking forward to meeting you after the webinar we co-hosted back in January. See you next week.

    • Mike Rogers  April 25, 2013

      Awesome, Jamie, I’ll be on the lookout!

  2. Ben Gromicko  April 19, 2013

    Great suggestions! I’m going to attend one of the “Valuing Energy Efficiency” presentations of the ACI national event in Denver. We have home inspectors performing Home Energy Scores in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in partnership with the Colorado Energy Office. The idea is to see if a good Home Energy Score (above 6) make a home seller faster because the home buyer values energy efficiency over other home features. See you there, Mike.

    • Mike Rogers  April 25, 2013

      Thanks, Ben, I’m penciling that in, too. See you soon.


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