The Home Performance Coalition’s National Conference last week in Nashville was the biggest ever. Maybe the best ever, too.
The best thing? The people. I love you people. Your passion, enthusiasm, and intelligence inspire me. You are hardworking and full of energy. And yes, you are fun, too! (Some of y’all can dance!) Thank you! Thank you for who you are. Thank you for what you do. Thank you for what you’ve taught me.
Yes, the conference was in Nashville, with outstanding music and food. Certainly the conference itself was a star, with great content, driven by Nate Natale and Bethany Dittmar, as it usually is. It seems Kevin Kennedy was everywhere, with great information about the healthy home connection that I expect will drive the industry forward. I missed Gannate Khowailed talking about new ways to think about incentives, but I got to hear her talking in the hallway, and she always has something worth saying. We got to hear more about the great work that’s moving us closing to really being able to value energy-efficiency in the real estate market from the likes of Pamela Brookstein and Sandy Adomatis. I was delighted to hear Dan Wildenhaus talk about the importance of behavioral science and moving building science into the market. Many contractors shared some of what’s working—and what hasn’t worked—for them to help lift others. And so much more…the sessions were great. The energy on the trade show floor with the best of any efficiency conference I’d seen in a long, long time.
But my next biggest takeaway, and the best thing about the conference after time with people I love? Hope for the future!
And this expressed itself in many ways.
At lunch on Monday, I had the great honor of being inducted into the Building Performance Institute’s Hall of Fame. It was a bit overwhelming standing there being recognized by people I care about so much. And knowing that I was standing there because of so many people who’ve lifted me with their knowledge, wisdom, and support over the years. People like John Tooley, Dick Kornbluth, Brett Knox, David Lee, and youngsters like Courtney Moriarta. And many more (and often the connection first made at what was then called the Affordable Comfort or ACI conference). I’m so thankful for the chance I’ve had to learn from these legends.
And I’m just as thankful, and even more excited by, the chance to work with the relative newcomers. That’s the hope for the future part. Their presence was keenly noted, and it drives us forward.
Contractors like Keith O’Hara of Eco Performance Builders are showing that you can pay attention to performance metrics in both delivered HVAC efficiency and business results. Amanda Godward of Ecotelligent Homes is showing how the logic of automotive engineering can be brought to bear on a contracting business. Heather Nelson of Seal is showing how a woman-owned contracting business can blow contracting business growth expectations out of the water. Ali Adler of Sealed is bringing fresh ideas not just in financing but to the industry as a whole. (And even Mike, who knows Seal and Sealed, has to think really hard not to confuse these two business names!) These are people out that in the market place making it happen!
I was also glad to see Efficiency First take the first steps toward catalyzing peer groups—and to see that at least a couple dozen contractors see how important these groups can be to sustain their success. (Reach out to EF’s Executive Director Tom Carter if you want to learn more—this might be the most important thing you can do for your business this year.)
For several years, Amy Beley has been keeping us honest and pushing us all to remember how absolutely critical bringing the perspective, intelligence, and insight across gender and color lines to the future of not just our companies and our industry, but to our planet. The Women in Building Performance initiative that she kicked off a few years ago is helping not just women in the industry, it’s helping us all. If you want to have you mind blown, listen to Mark Tajima of Energia who is expanding the boundaries of not just recruiting a workforce, but literally savings lives and communities. Lena Burkett is showing how how to bring a roll-up-your-sleeves mentality to DOE.
I urge the old-timers to seek these folks and others new to the industry out, and share what you know, so they can add to it and take us much farther than we’ve be able to come in that past 30 years. We’ll past the crawling stage. We’re walking slowly. We need to help these people run in any way that we can. That might be coaching. Or it might be throwing a good block to clear their path. Lift them where you can. And get the heck out of their way when you need to!
HPC, nice job this year. Thank you! But it’s only the beginning. There is so much more we can do to strengthen this event and this industry. Forward! Together!